Crafting and Tech

How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

I guess I’m wondering why it wouldn’t be. Not all young people would need to craft with electronics in order for it to still be a viable addition. Our middle school art program has incorporated some of this technology into their classroom. They create touch interactive pieces of art by using Makey Makey circuits that the students connect to their art. Then they use Scratch to program sounds to the parts of the picture connected to the circuit. They have done this with wire sculptures, drawings and other mediums. This was fun for the students, but also had another academic element besides art and technology because the students’ prompt was to create a piece about a global social issue. For a workshop run by one of the these teachers, he had us make a story out of the  pictures we had drawn using graphite. After connecting our circuits, we used Scratch to add sounds and then told a story to the rest of the group. It was really clever. I was reminded of this type of crafting using electronics after watching the following TED talk by Leah Beuchley. She goes beyond just drawing on paper and shows further possibilities. In this video she uses light instead of sound. I’m wondering how amazing it would be to incorporate both.

My family is really into Making, but not always with electronics. It would be really intersting to look through Leah Buechley’s book “Sew Electric” (Mellis, 2014) and buy some of the kits from Chibitronics. We don’t usually use kits, because we try to use what we’ve already collected. We also like to use DIY sites such as Instructables, Craftsy,  or Craftster. One of the classes being offered at the moment, through Instructables, is about using Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi is a microcomputing platform, such as Arduino, that you can use for coding in crafts. My sons and husband seem to use electronics more than I do, but I can definitely see the advantages. I think that using electronics can be viable in some situations and not in others.

Buechley, L. (2012, November 15). Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from https://youtu.be/vTBp0Z5GPeI

Makey Makey | Buy Direct (Official Site). (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2017, from http://www.makeymakey.com/

Mellis, D. (2014, February 4). Arduino Blog » Sew electric with Leah Buechley – Interview. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from https://blog.arduino.cc/2014/02/04/sew-electric-with-leah-buechley-interview/

3 thoughts on “Crafting and Tech”

  1. I need to get more into the crafting thing! It sounds like so much fun. And I can see how adding the sounds and the lights would make it appealing to a wider audience.
    I want to look into some of the companies you mentioned. Maybe I can get my husband in on it too!

    1. I want to do more in my home. I was just at a friends house, who had taken beach glass and attached them to Christmas lights. It looked awesome when the lights were on and when they were off.

  2. I agree, “Why wouldn’t it be?” As I mentioned in other comments, why can’t we mix groups with those who like electronics and those who like other crafts? Think of what they could do together.

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