Textile Messages: Dispatches From the World of e-Textiles and Education

Peter Lang 


Textile Messages focuses on the emerging field of electronic textiles, or e-textiles – computers that can be soft, colorful, approachable, and beautiful. E-textiles are articles of clothing, home furnishings, or architectures that include embedded computational and electronic elements. This book introduces a collection of tools that enable novices – including educators, hobbyists, and youth designers – to create and learn with e-textiles. It then examines how these tools are reshaping technology education – and DIY practices – across the K-16 spectrum, presenting examples of the ways educators, researchers, designers, and young people are employing them to build new technology, new curricula, and new creative communities. Vignettes throughout the book provide illustrative examples of what this means in practice: handbags that store and play back knitting patterns, traditional embroideries that glow and sing, and dresses that register and respond to our movements like wearable companions. 


"This book will delight and inspire you with stories of wonderfully-inventive e-textile fashions and crafts. But don't focus too much on the creations themselves, charming as they might be. What's most exciting is not what people are creating, but how the act of creating is changing the ways people think about themselves. With e-textiles, a broader and more diverse range of people are starting to see themselves as designers and creators of new technologies, with growing confidence that they, too, can be active contributors to today's digital culture." 
--Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, MIT Media Lab

"Textile Messages is such an extraordinary book, especially for anyone who marvels in the juxtaposition of unsuspecting elements (fashion and technology) and ways of being in the world (traditional crafts and modern innovation). If you are someone who loves the arts, is fascinated with the current technology and all it can do, this book will thrill you. If you are someone who is concerned about breaking the gender gap in computing, and making computer science accessible to all people, this book will inspire you, give you lots of ideas, and give you hope." 
--Jane Margolis, Senior Researcher, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, author of Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing and Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing

"Re-connecting craft with technology, e-textiles is a growing field that inspires new forms of personal expression and interaction design. This book elevates the practice of learning to use e-textiles by mapping the busy intersection of physical materials, electronics, and computation." 
--Dale Dougherty, President and CEO of Maker Media, Make magazine, and Maker Faire

"Textile Messages chronicles the creative integration of textiles, electronics, and computation in the service of education, innovation, and a more inclusive engineering culture. Bringing together the voices of engineers, artists, and educators, the book weaves together concrete examples of creative work and educational practice with thoughtful discussions of learning theory, feminist agendas, and historical perspective. It will appeal to educators, parents, makers, and researchers—anyone with an interest in women and technology, DIY culture, and educational innovation." 
--Mizuko Ito, Professor, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California, Irvine, author of Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media