ACAD | Fibre

Area of Study Blog

switchable film


I figured I should make a post about the switchable film i’m using in my grad piece since it’s confusing to explain in words alone. This project by Studio Roosegaarde was the first time I had ever seen this technology being used. I stumbled on this project two years ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Sensors on the models skin detects her heartbeat; the faster her heart races, the more translucent the dress becomes. When I was researching this project years ago, they described the film as some sort of special spacecraft textile technology but have recently changed the description to read as e-foils. That made it really hard for me to figure out what the material was until it became a bit more main stream a year ago.

What switchable film (or smart-film, e-film, etc) is marketed for is usually a standard application on windows to block out sun, create privacy, or turn glass into a projectable surface. This piece is so far the only example of this technology being used in the art world that I can find. I’d be interested to know if any of you know more artists working with this!


textile speakers

This is a fun project i’ve been researching into that i’d like to try this summer. A speaker can be made by passing a current through any (conductive) coil. When the current passes through the coil material, it is momentarily turned into an electromagnet. This attracts and repels the magnet on the opposite side, creating vibrations through which sound is formed. The cone in the diagram below is unnecessary but acts to amplify the sound created.


Here’s a fun example of a fabric speaker in action! As you can see, the sound quality isn’t the greatest but it’s still a really cool way of incorporating sound into a textile project. Especially when using conductive threads and tech designed to be used in washable/wearable garments like the Arduino Lilypad and it’s components (

(more info and experiments here:


Here copper wire and raphia are coiled in a basket weaving technique to create a speaker:

(more info here -including info on embroidering cloth antennas!


You can also knit speakers!


(more info here:


In this example, the fabric itself isn’t the speaker but acts as a resistor. By generating resistance in the stainless steel & polyester yarn by stretching it, the sound is changed:



The Never Ending Process

Weaving, dyeing, weaving, dyeing, weaving, weaving, weaving, dyeing…is all my my past semester seemed to consist of (not that I’m complaining… I loved it!).

I have been working on different types of weaving with different fibres and different dyeing processes. Here are some results you may have already seen:






One thing I had never tried was dyeing my own skein of yarn, which led me to my next project…

I had a skein of plain white wool which I dyed using 4 different colours of fibre reactive dyes in squirt bottles. I laid out the skein, applied my dye, and let it sit overnight wrapped up in plastic. When I went to wash out the dye the next morning, all of the colours seemed to have bled into each other, creating a VERY subtle colour. Although it wasn’t what I was expecting the colour to turn out like, I was quite happy with the end product. Here are some progress shots of the wool once it was dyed and then turned into a woven scarf:

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Trying out this new process was really fun for me and I think I will definitely use it again and try it with a different material.



Folk Elements in Fashion


Clockwise from left: Akif Mahmood, Valentino, Kenzo, Dries Van Noten, Matilda Temperley


After researching traditional folk costume, I keep recognizing many similar designs on fashion runways. Meticulous, time-consuming traditional processes lend chronomanual value to high-end, luxury fabrics. Embellishment in the form of embroidery and appliqué, and intricate construction techniques such as lace making and tapestry, give rich exotic texture and a sense of history.


Clockwise from left: Naeem Khan, Erdem, Tadashi Shoji, Etro

The irony is that many of these valuable traditions have been preserved and passed on by the underprivileged and marginalized in society. The designers are given the glory while the makers receive little or no recognition for their work. Are these trends trickling up or down? Is it posh or peasant? Homage or appropriation?



Sydney Sogol

I came across a wonderful artist on Instagram named Sydney Sogol (@sydsthread). She primarily works with weaving and dyeing her own yarns – no wonder I found myself interested in her!


Sydney completed her Bachelor of Arts in Weaving and minor in Biology at Earlham College and then completed her MFA in Textile Design from East Carolina University. Her work is very inspirational to me because of the beautiful colours and patterns she creates in her weaving. You can see how unique each piece is because she hand-paints most of her warps and dyes her other yarns.

I’ve gotten a lot of inpiration and tips and tricks from seeing her work and her process. In one of my classes this semester I have been focusing on hand-dyeing my own weaving which I had never done before and was partially inspired by seeing Sydney’s work.

Not only does she make beautiful functional pieces, she also makes work she calls ‘woven paintings’. This body of work is another reason why she is an inspiration to me because they show how weaving, which is traditionally all about functional use, can be brought into a completely different atmosphere and can be looked at as fine art as compared to craft. My work tends to focus on the functional side of weaving, so being able to see this series of work is important for me in order to remind myself that I can branch out and try something different with my woven work.

wovenpaintingSo go check out her instagram page to follow her process and to keep up to date with her most current work! Also give her website a look to see her woven paintings series and a lot more professional work!



Naoko Serino, The Fibre Artist

Naoko Serino is a Japanese sculpture artist who works with jute.

She was born in 1984, and graduated fromKyushu Sangyo Universit,Faculty of Arts.

I like the simpleness of her works. Also, how delicate and complex they look at the same time.









↑This one is my favorite piece.


Her website in English :



Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell is a sculptor who work with papers.

She does book sculptures and installations.

I like how delicate her works are. It is detailed and the simple paper color looks so amazing.

Her website:











Up Next

With my degree coming to a close, I have been thinking a lot about what direction my practice will take. I have some time to relax before pursuing a career in architecture and I want to ensure I continue making. There are many intersections between art and architecture and I intend to explore them. As a reaction I have created a list of large-scale projects that will keep my mind busy and ambitions high, with the goal that somewhere in the next ten years I’ll make it there.

With that said, here is a piece on my list of inspirations: Triangular Water Pavilion by Jeppe Hein.

This piece is created using two walls of two-way mirrors and a wall of water, creating a triangle. The piece is elevated above a basin of water. Hein describes the effect of the work on his website, where it states, “approaching visitors prompt the descent of the water wall through the activation of a sensor, gaining access to the enclosed space. Upon entry, visitors find themselves surrounded by water and reflective glass, cut off from the exterior by the resurgence of the water jets.”

Now, why didn’t I think of that?



Check out Jeppe’s website (also my image source) here:

The Mysterious Weaver: Helena Vento

While working on my transparent cotton weavings, I began to research artists who work in a similar way. This search was too specific in nature, and I had a difficult time uncovering artists working with the same concepts and processes as me. However, I did find Helena Vento. When searched, her name brought results of only her Pinterest page, where little information was given as to her work as an artist or how these pieces evolved.

The images included a caption simply stating that they are a transparent weave of linen. Despite the lack of further information, I was inspired by the subtle design of the weavings, the finishing of the edges, and the documentation in everyday spaces. These are the decisions that are most critical in making a weaving successful, and I feel that her weavings are presented very successfully.


This work gave me something to think about as I continue to document my own weavings and strive to present them as successfully as possible.


Image Source/Helena’s Pinterest page:

Global Folk Costume

L–R: Croatia, Russia, Belarus

L–R: Croatia, Russia, Belarus

In an attempt to expand on my research that began with traditional Hungarian textiles, I have been looking at folk costumes from around the globe. Beginning with surrounding European cultures and then branching out to all parts of the world, I was amazed by both the variation and the similarities.

L–R: Armenian, Scandinavian, French

L–R: Armenia, Scandinavia, France

I feel like I have just barely scratched the surface. Why are red, white and blue such popular colours in folk costume? How are similar techniques simultaneously and independently developed in vastly disparate cultures? How are traditional techniques recorded and passed down through generations? How do they adapt and transform over time and/or with the catalyst of outside influence?

L–R: Cameroon, Spain, Bali

L–R: Cameroon, Spain, Bali

In our increasingly globalized world, these questions are relevant not only to textile enthusiasts, anthropologists, and historians, but also to anyone who cares about cultural exchange in any discipline. We are all unique. We are all connected. We are all human.


Congratulations Jane Kidd!

Congratulations to Jane Kidd, this year’s recipient of the Saidye Bronfman award!


The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts were created in 1999 by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Governor General of Canada. Over the past 16 years, the awards have celebrated Canada’s vibrant arts community and recognized remarkable careers in the visual and media arts.

In 2007, the Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in the fine crafts (originally created in 1977) joined this prestigious family of awards. This ensures that Canada’s outstanding craft artists receive national recognition each year alongside their peers in the visual and media arts. The Canada Council has been administering the Saidye Bronfman Award since 1997.

Through the act of weaving, Jane Kidd, engages in a sensual process and employs a physical language to establish links with the viewer. Kidd appreciates that she is a participant in the continuum of its makers, the counterpoint it provides to modern life, and the hands-on materiality it embodies. She creates contemporary objects that convey a deep engagement with the natural world and draw our attention to our constantly renegotiated relationship with it.

Jane taught at the Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary, Alberta from 1979 until 2010.

Call for entries: Art of the Book

Call for Entries   May 16
June 17 – July 24
Sebastopol Center for the Arts


Smocking is a technique where fabric is pleated and then adorned with embroidery stitches. Smocking was a popular technique used before elastic was invented to create stretch within the fabric. Normally smocking is applied to necklines, cuffs and bodices of a garment.

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I am planning on using this technique in my next piece. I have been using different techniques to manipulate garments and I like the way smocking creates texture within the material. It reminds me of the way skin stretches and wrinkles.

Here are a few images I’ve found in my research…

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I’ve never tried smocking before but I’ve found a bunch of tutorials online…

Wish me luck :)


Natural Dye Workshop

Hey everyone! I will be teaching a two day natural dye workshop at ACAD. The workshop takes place during the last week of April. Check it out on pg 12!  on the Extended Studies course calendar.



Laura Vickerson Interview – The Between – Exhibition at the Nickle Arts March 2016

The Between is a new site-specific installation by Vickerson, combining her latest textile work with the collections of Nickle Galleries. A SERIES exhibition organized by Nickle Galleries, curated by Michele Hardy.

Laura Vickerson’s practice has long been drawn from the stuff of life – discarded objects and materials that were at one time a part of everyday experiences. Through changing trends, a general desire to consume, or the vagaries of fashion, things come to outlive their usefulness and quite often become obsolete or discarded. Yet these things also become artifacts of our time, re-presented by Vickerson to create underlying narratives that push the viewer to reconsider what was once familiar. Her materials serve as signifiers of the relationships and connections we have with the world around us and with one another – relationships that ultimately lie at the centre of her explorations.

Laura Vickerson is a multi-media installation artist and educator who lives and works in Calgary. She presently teaches at the Alberta College of Art & Design. She has exhibited extensively in Canada as well as in the U.S., Britain, Turkey, Poland and China. She has produced site-specific installations for various international exhibitions and venues including the Istanbul Biennial, le Manifestation Internationale d’Art de Quebec, as well as a project through Locus + titled “Fairytales and Factories” creating a work for an old Textiles mill in the Yorkshire Dales (Britain). She has participated in artist residencies at The Banff Centre for the Arts (Banff, Alberta) and the “Sympo-Fibres International” in Ste-Hyacinth, Quebec. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts, Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Arts Council of England.

Mireille Perron has been a practicing visual artist, writer, scholar, and educator for more than 30 years. Perron was born in Montréal, Québec. Since 1982, her installations have appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada, Europe and the United States. She is the founder of the Laboratory of Feminist Pataphysics. LFP promotes social experiments that masquerade as artworks/events. Perron has published over eighty essays related to visual arts and craft practice in Canada and abroad. She has participated in several artist residencies, academic conferences as a guest speaker and as chair and co-chair (art and craft history/discourse, cultural studies) and lectured many times about her own artwork (Canada, U.S.A. and Europe.) Perron has also occasionally worked as a guest curator. Perron has been a member of ACAD Faculty since 1990.


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