Fringes hang beneath. They create the boundary between finished object and the outer world. They give movement to otherwise static textiles, unmasking the potential for action. This swatch employs a pulling mechanic to turn fringe into a switch. Ribbons, fabric scraps, and other textile leftovers are placed between two conductive patches drawn together by magnets. When pulled out, the patches make contact and trigger an LED. Each switch is part of a series of voltage dividers acting as a resistor ladder that allows multiple switches to exist on one ATtiny analog pin.

Fringes is also a term used to describe people living on the outer edges of society, people who don’t fit into confined social and societal categories. Some of us choose to live at the fringes in countercultural movements or the like, while some of us have no choice given our gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic background within a given cultural context. Exchanging stories of fringe experiences creates opportunities for empowering dialogue and shared understanding. This swatch is a first prototype of a story collecting and telling project inspired by a series of workshops at the intersection of eTextiles and activism. Pulling a piece of fringe will activate a fabric speaker patch within a larger quilt to reveal a personal experience of living in a fringe space.


eTextile Swatchbook Exchange: At the Fringe (final) from Liza Stark on Vimeo.


2017 Swatch Exchange
For documentation on the process, please see this post.


Swatches are a critical tool and methodology in eTextiles. They are the physical embodiment of a skill, technique, or concept to share with other practitioners. Our nascent discipline depends on shared knowledge: there is no centralized, historical precedent for crafting electronics out of fabric. The swatch is our pedagogical manifesto. This collaborative project attempts to fold our practice into a contextual framework for teaching others in the manner we learnt it.