Many different types of creatures have innate defense mechanisms to help them to survive. My inspiration is drawn from sea creatures - most specifically, jellyfish, sea urchins, and puffer fish.
I have incorporated wool covered nitinol wire into this outfit to show how a person with a similar defense mechanism might involuntarily react if their personal space was invaded. When someone touches the spine or shoulders of the outfit, the 'spines' on the front of the outfit recoil.
This piece consists of two layered dresses. The inner dress has been hand painted with dyes, mimicking patterns and colors found underwater. The outer dress is translucent, but weighted at the bottom to cause the fabric to flow like a moving jellyfish.
The textile processes used to create this piece are dyeing, knitting, felting, and sewing. The dress underneath was sewn together and then hand painted by using a process called polychromatic printing. Parts of the outer dress were knitted and then attached to the silk. The dress was then dyed and felted. The 'spines' are nitinol wire covered in wool. A microcontroller powers the nitinol wire. The electronic components are powered by a rechargeable battery.
My work tends to be derived from my fascination with the inside. The inside of machines, the inside of the human body, the inside of our thoughts; these are all things that are generally hidden, intentionally or otherwise. The necessity or possibility of destruction frightens us away from ever really being able to see these things. Some deep sea creatures, such as jellyfish, break this convention by exposing their insides through a transparent body, inspiring me to do the same through my outfit.
This piece consists of imagery influenced by internal biological elements of deep sea life and human anatomy. The lights mimic bioluminescent (emission of light by a living organism) sea creatures and their natural defense system. The ropes on the dress represent a jellyfish's tentacles. The dress's texture depicts muscle tissue. The flexing on the upper body of the dress suggests breathing.
Many different textile processes were utilized to assemble this outfit. Through felting, knitting, crocheting, dying and machine stitching, I have created the appearance of internal imagery. These materials were dyed with a combination of powdered drink mix and acid dyes, giving the fabric its vibrant colors.
Interwoven into the outfit are many conductive threads and wires. These wires provide energy to the LEDs (light emitting diodes) and nitinol (shape memory alloy). The nitinol and LEDs are both powered by a Lilypad Arduino (microcontroller), which also controls the flexing of the nitinol. Another Arduino, as well as a motion sensor, tells the lights on the skirt when to turn on.
Some sea creatures, such as flounders and octopi, are able to camouflage themselves, mimicking their surroundings. This defense mechanism makes them invisible to their predators, allowing them to stay safe. Using this concept, I have created a dress that changes to match the color of its surroundings.
The outfit also includes a glove, which contains a sensor that detects the color directly in front of it. This sensor wirelessly sends the detected color to the microcontroller in the dress, which controls the color of the LEDs. These LEDs provide light to fibre optics that have been woven with silk to create the form of the dress. The fibre optics retain their own shape and warp the dress to create a very sculptural piece of clothing.
This scarf is designed to appear elegant at first glance, but reveal holes that peer into the inner machinery upon closer inspection. It cycles through several erratic blinking and fading lights, like a failing piece of machinery.
The scarf is knitted and crocheted with electrical wire and wool. The scarf is powered through two 3 volt batteries and the light sequence is programmed on a Lilypad Arduino. All of the electronic parts are safely encased by a piece of handmade felt.
This collection inspired by the legend of Atlantis. I designed it to give it the appearance of rotting and eroded treasures, submerged deep under water and left to allow sea life growing to grow on. Glow-in-the-dark threads were embroidered and machine stitched onto several of the pieces. Some of the pieces also have glow-in-the-dark pigment added to them. The glowing parts of the collection were inspired by bioluminescent algae and sea creatures. and give the pieces a completely different look once they are placed in the dark.
Carrying our possessions around has become essential to our lives. Bags have become a part of who we are, a part of us. This bag is a living, breathing backpack. It responds to sound in the environment around it, appearing to breathe. This is one of three identical bags. On the inside of the bag, there is a screen printed lining as well as a change purse with a screen printed heart on it. The bag closes with a draw sting, which has flameworked glass beads on the ends of the string.
In 2007, I was chosen to participate in a project by the Textile Museum of Canada called Digital Threads. In October 2007, I attended a workshop about electronics and textiles, taught by Joanna Berzowska, at the Interaccess Media Centre in Toronto. I worked with a group of underprivileged high school students to help them create a small electronic textile piece. The students were given an assignment to design superhero costumes with interactive elements. My task was to work from their images to create a textile-based artifact. The student's characters were ultimately fueled, to some degree, by anger. There are several actions that typically signify anger, including clenched fists, yelling, and stomping. Working with the concept of stomping, I incorporated elements of the students' work to create an outfit as dark and disparaging as anger itself. This piece was completed in May 2008 and displayed at the Textile Museum of Canada in an exhibition called 'Super Wired'.
This dress was the first piece I created that was inspired by deep-sea life, and became a catalyst for all of my other sea life inspired garments.
The shirt's shape is formed through needlefelting. This technique is also used to adhere strips of silk to the bottom of the shirt. The turquoise color was applied by hand painting dyes directly onto the body of the shirt. The beads at the ends of the shirt are flameworked glass, which I created specifically for this piece. Wave-like stripes were discharged around the waist.
Growing up in the 90s, light up shoes became an object of envy for me. I created these whimsical boots to make up for the shoes I was never allowed to own as a child.
The pressure applied to the boots with each step cause them to illuminate. All stitching and connections on the boot are hand-stitched. The spirals around the cuff of the boot are formed with wire, and can be moved around to form different shapes.