Combining DIY fabric speaker techniques with narrative quilting traditions, Sonic Quilt explores new ways of embedding personal stories into fabric. Each square is a speaker activated by pulling the fringe attached to it. Take the fringe with you as a reminder, but be sure to leave another piece in its place.

Each speaker square is made by embroidering conductive thread into a coil and placing a neodymium magnet behind it. The speaker is connected to an Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board. By pulling the fringe, it connects the leads and triggers the story.

For this iteration, I asked close friends to send me a recording of their reaction to the word “FRINGE” and in return, I would construct a swatch for them. I developed the design inspired by their story interpretation of the word. This is the second iteration of a larger project. More squares are on their way.


Story 1
In 1983, my parents wanted to emigrate to the US, but back then in order to get a green card you needed to have a blood relative who was already a US citizen.

Lucky for us my aunt was already living in the US but hadn’t gotten her citizenship yet and hearing that we wanted to come decided that she would finally get her US citizenship so that we could come over to America.

And today was my aunts funeral and my cousin told me that she actually had a very difficult time with this decision sort of deciding between being an american and an indian, and what that meant and that change of identity and redefining what a foreigner was to her.

And I can’t help but be immensely grateful that she decided to do this and live in sort of this gray area for the rest of her life just so we could have a chance.

Story 2
Thinking about fringe, my baby’s clothes come to mind, her sweet little onesies with fun decorations embellished flowers and even the fuzz on her toys. Thinking about fringe, I think about the leaves on the trees. I think about delicate flowers and even people on the edges. I think about things that are delicate and soft and things that need protecting. And it makes me realize that these delicate things are why we resist. We have to protect them because they’re what needs protecting the most.

Karl Grimm conductive thread, copper taffeta fabric, neodymium magnets, Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board, calico, fabric and trim scraps

At the Fringes Swatch