The Visible Maker

The Visible Maker is a live craft performance that incorporates interactive technology.

The Visible Maker is a new live craft performance. I premiered the work in March 2015. The performance work is a culmination of my recent exploration of interactive technology and how this sits within my practice which is based predominantly around textile processes, personal story, found sound and everyday observations.

The Visible Maker

The Visible Maker is a new live craft performance. I premiered the work in March 2015. The performance work is a culmination of my recent exploration of interactive technology and how this sits within my practice which is based predominantly around textile processes, personal story, found sound and everyday...

Memphis Sphinx Treadle

Delighted to announce that I have been successful with my applications for funding for the development of my Memphis Sphinx Treadle Sewing Machine project that I began to explore earlier in the year. Huge thanks to Arts Council England and Coventry City Council for their support and to the individual officers who listened and encouraged me to apply. The project’s timeline is from late October through to March 2015 and I am currently engaging various creative partners who will assist me in the projects development and will announce these fantastic people soon. I will be posting on here my discoveries about linking up the treadle sewing machine with interactive technology and creating a new live craft performance piece but in the meantime I would be very grateful if readers to this blog could share the following information with as many people as possible: *** I am working with a 1919 Singer Treadle Sewing Machine – called a Memphis Sphinx due to the decal designs on the machine of a Sphinx. I am looking for stories remembered from people’s families/childhood/work etc of using a treadle machine – and as I have already found with my own family, the machines were used for a lot of things as well as domestic sewing eg: my uncle would use the treadle area beneath as goal mouth practice! I’m interested in hearing the description of noise it made, the rhythm and feel too – in fact anything connected with the treadle machine. I can be contacted mail@juliaoconnell.co.uk – thank you for your time. *** Finally I would like to thank Dom and Ash from...

Treadling

Today I’ve focused on trying to get the treadle on my machine working properly…I was worried about any broken parts after the machine has been left for some time but as I inspected each area I soon realised just how amazingly robust these are. I suppose with the action of physical motion being the only way to create a line of sewing the machine had to be pretty durable. I have used a ton of WD40 on anything that looked like it needed it and I carefully waxed polished the wooden table area as the wood has been badly damaged by sun and water…its not perfect but its like I’ve fed it to nurture it back to health a little. I dug around and under the machine I located the bobbin case and there was still a bobbin of white/rusty cotton inside the bobbin holder. Its poignant to know that I am handling something that my Nannar had previously set up…I think she would be amazed to see me marvel in something that was a practical and much need necessity for her and her large family. I found a couple of You Tube Vids of other people making a treadle run and that was a great insight for me as I was originally trying to get the machine wheel to turn clockwise but actually you set it off anti-clockwise and then treadle…I have no instruction booklet so I love that there are people the same as me thinking it would be good to record their experience in case another person needs to know. I started to stitch without cotton...

Lovely Isadora & Arduino

I’ve had another coding session as part of my residency with Ludic Rooms. There is a symposium about the work and the collaboration with artists on March 7th at Warwick Arts Centre. I need to work on realising in some form some of the bits and pieces I have been playing with to demonstrate at the symposium. So today I looked at the arduino board and literally got to grips with where the wires go and their functions. Its basic electronics but for a stitcher just realising you need battery, earth and then another wire (with/for the info) is HUGE!!! I’ve also been connecting my arduino to some software called Isadora via my MacBook, this basically helps you create code for an action to be performed ie: if I hold an FSR (force sensitive resistor – a round pad with wires) and squeeze it with a certain pressure – if I squeeze hard enough til 10, then at 10 I can make a word pop up on a monitor/projector etc… for my practice I use a lot of text and this is such an exciting step forward. Ashley from Ludic Rooms was incredibly patient as he could see I was running away with lots of ideas and wanting to get to the bit at the end where I could literally see my found text in lights! Couple of things I have learnt so far….I am now NOT afraid of wires and where they go…coding takes time and there’s a lot to remember…small steps/small stitches and I will get...

Memphis Sphinx – looking in the drawer for the first time

As part of my Random String residency with Ludic Rooms, I’m using my grandmother’s treadle sewing machine and I filmed on my phone the first time I opened and looked through the machine’s drawer – it was kind of like an ‘unveiling’ when you get a new bit of tech kit but with lots more surprises. See the phone film here Treadle Machine Drawer Tickets for the symposium can be booked via Ludic Rooms link...