Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Just back from manchester after a couple of wonderful days creating a new sound piece with Jason and catching up with Yusra, reflecting on sampler so far and planning for the embroiderers' guild gig in Sheffield in April.

Jason and i used one of the black and white pattern pieces created collectively by the embroiderers - the piece used in our previous workshop with Berit.

We took twelve 10cmx10cm random samples from the piece,effectively using it as our score from which to start sampling. Using Reaktor we let the software translate these into sounds. It's amazing what it comes up with depending on the pattern you input. I like the fact that the sounds it generates are unexpected and appear random. Although the programme has its limitations I find it quite a liberating way of composing - going with what you get rather than trying to force the programme to do something for you.

Here's a couple of video clips of sound to give you an idea of what's going on. The full piece will get its premier as part of the Open Source Embroidery exhibition curated by Ele Carpenter in Sweden in June.

For more info on the Embroiderers' Guild's annual conference click on the link in my collaborators section. We'll be giving a presentation on some of our work to date and a workshop on Saturday 18th. We're honored, excited and very nervous, but whatever happens it'll be interesting to hear people's reactions and thoughts about the project - maybe we'll meet a few of you there.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

berit, textiles and sound

Last week we got together for one of our creative workshop sessions. Berit Greinke, who is currently studying on the MA Textile Futures course at Central St. Martins very kindly came along to talk to us about her work and take part in the workshop. Berit is also exploring the connection between materials and sound. Currently, she's working on a project entitled SHhH developing electronic machines that "read the cloth" - surface, pattern, colour and structure. Over the years she's been working with drawn and printed graphite, woven magnetic tape from cassettes, light sensors and stitched, printed and dyed fabrics. You can find out more about Berit's work, including a great little video of some of her pattern to sound tests at

If you're interested in contacting Berit you can e-mail her:

During the workshop we tried one of Berit's inventions on the drawn pattern pieces we created at the last workshop in December (see december archive). Here's a couple of short video clips of the sounds created by scanning the patterns and one of Kathy playing her printed scarf, which is great. The clip with the front of a speaker is Pat playing the pattern, adding an element of human emotion and movement rather than just scanning it. The results starts to sound like bird song. We hope to continue to work with Berit and plan to take the full pattern pieces into the recording studio next month to add into our pot of sounds.


In the afternoon, we each chose a sample from the four collaborative pattern pieces to translate into embroideries. The idea is for everyone to work on an individual sampled section and then bring them back together into one collaborative piece to create a new stitched sampler. I'm meeting Jason later this week to work on turning these sampled pattern pieces into sound to create one new composition.

It was great day, and we left feeling inspired by the activities and discussing "where we go next?