Embroidery Improvisation

Processed with VSCO with n3 preset

Project Description:

This project is my exploration of interactive embroidery using conductive threads. It is an abstract composition, which might remind drawn sketch on paper.  My idea was to create a source of inspiration and relaxation. Every day we are overwhelmed with information, numbers, words and images, and in some moments all we need is to look at abstract compositions and distract from routine. Interactive embroidery can be a part of your bag, jacket or t-shirt. There are 3 sensor parts on abstract composition and interacting with them triggers certain light patterns and colours on the Circuit Playground located in the centre. Different colors and abstract images allow user to create fantasies and get new ideas. 


  • Intended user may be any person, who loves abstractions, interactive experience and fantasies.
  • What is the intended application? Note that this can be either a practical, solution-oriented application (design?) or something more exploratory (art?).
  • Lights on the circuit playground is the response mechanism
  • If you are sending data to another software what is it and what communication protocol will you use?
  • Where does the interface physically live on the body? How does that affect how the user interacts with it? Interface can be a part of clothes, as well as bags. I personally prefer locating interface on the bag, as I prefer contacting with, rather than my body. Tote-bag is always with the user, and it comfortable to interact with it in many positions (sitting, standing)
  • If interface is located on the bad ( preferred), users can interact with it and invite friends who stand/sit next to them. It can be a sort of game.
  • My material palette is colorfrul threads for creating bright abstract image, conductive thread for creating sensors, pom poms for decoration and fabric.
  • I think, perfect size would be A4 format, because it provides space for an image, circuit playground and some space for user’s fantasy 🙂
  • As this interface is an embroidery interface, interaction should be delicate, as, unfortunately, the connection is not very reliable
  • I used analog sensors, which react on pressure.
  • There are 3 modes of interaction – 3 sensors that trigger lights on the circuit board, all 3 interactions require pressure.
  • I have all the necessary materials. However, next time I will be more attentive to details such as stretching of fabric for embroidery, it should be thick and non-stretching. Also, for embroidery, it is better to have flexible conductive thread, which I am planning to pursue online and I will ask Kate, on which website exactly.


I started with fast emotional sketches in order to understand main directions of composition.

img_7741 img_9723 img_3714

I was aware, that embroidery with conductive threads is very delicate and fragile process, thus I recorded video of every sensor in process.


Final video with interaction:



Project Context

For this project, I was inspired by embroidery artists and abstract art and design. Circuit Playground is a round shape which seems to me a perfect element for abstract composition (circle is always the centre).


Embroideries by Ruth Hughes

The balanced minimal style is totally unique, I love the way she creates simple but eye catchy compositions. Her embroideries look like painting, very bright and its had volume. For my project, I looked at stitches she uses and combines in her works. Ruth Hughes uses threads of different thickness and textures, which remind me of buttons. In my next projects, I would like to include felt pieces which can be sensors, as well. 


Style of Memphis design collective

At the time, objects were usually designed to be functional, not decorative. Memphis changed this with a more creative approach to design, where they poked fun at every day objects by designing them in a way that was unusual.

Memphis Design Collective has a big impact on all my designs and sense of aesthetics. I keen on their positive and abstract images, which have become very crucial part of industrial and graphic design. Simple shapes and bright colours, certain composition – all these are components of my embroidery.  



MaricorMaricar Studio

Sydney based design duo Maricor/Maricar are sisters Maricor and Maricar Manalo. They describe themselves as ‘makers of things’ combining typography, illustration and intricate hand embroidery to create their playful work.

Australian studio of embroidery and illustration has its own expressive style which is very close to my aesthetics. I found their bright projects very inspiring and for this assignment, I looked at their techniques of stitching and choice of colors. I was fascinated, how they apply embroidery work with animation, creating interactive embroidery too just in a different medium. I though of animation as part of my project, too. However, animation happens in the head of the users, when they interact with the piece and see lights and abstract images become alive.

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Wassily Kandinsky

Russian painter and art theorist. Kandinsky is generally credited as the pioneer of abstract art.

Kandinsky’s creation of abstract work followed a long period of development and maturation of intense thought based on his artistic experiences. He called this devotion to inner beauty, fervor

of spirit, and spiritual desire inner necessity it was a central aspect of his art. He was the first  who likened painting to composing music in the manner for which he would become noted, writing, “Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul”. 

His works influenced me in many ways. His synesthetic approach is reflected in my previous projects. I also believe that visual and sonic worlds are interconnected. Although, I did not use sound in this project, I think lights and graphics create affect of cross-sensing.


Composition No 8 by Wassily Kandinsky


Kandinsky in Context. (2017, December 29). Retrieved January 31, 2020, from https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/kandinsky-in-context
Maricor/Maricar. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2020, from http://maricormaricar.com/
Memphis Group: awful or awesome? (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2020, from
Ruth Hughes (@wildfloss) • Instagram photos and videos. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2020, from https://www.instagram.com/wildfloss/?hl=en


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