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Sensory Swatch by Emilie

Title: Sensory Swatch

Credits: Emilie Giles

Year of Invention: 2014


This swatch is based on those created by participants over a one year research project led by Dr Janet van der Linden and Emilie Giles, working with blind and visually impaired people to create small woven pieces that contain both conductive and non conductive yarns, threads and fibres.

Over the project we have led workshops with blind, visually impaired and deafblind participants through charities including Sense and the Royal National Institute of Blind People – introducing people to eTextiles and discussing with them their potential uses. Due to their tangible nature, our participants have been exploring the haptic qualities of eTextiles, combing conductive yarn, thread and felting wool with different textured yarns and fibres. Participants have been invited throughout this process to choose what they incorporate in their weave using touch, smell and sight. These choices are very diverse and might be related to memories from childhood or previous making experiences, from before they lost, or partially lost their sight.

To interact with their swatches, the participants were encouraged to touch them in different ways to trigger sounds in SuperCollider, with data being taken into the software via an Arduino board with a capacitive sensing sketch on it. The sounds play louder, softer, slower or faster depending on the type of touch and how much conductive fabric, yarn or thread is in the swatch.

The sensor swatches within the swatch book provide an insight into the choices made by the participants when making their work.

 Conductive yarn, conductive fibre, conductive thread, milk protein fibre, linen yarn, jute fibre, merino tops, unwashed sheep wool and more.


Dimensions (in cm):
 18 x 8cm (some might vary)


Photo (of sample swatch):

IMG_7225_e IMG_4438 IMG_0358 IMG_4511

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