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Computationally-Mediated Interactions with Traditional Textile Crafts

  • Author(s): Grow, April M
  • Advisor(s): Wardrip-Fruin, Noah
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license
Abstract

Crafting is a fundamental part of humanity; it gives us purpose and satisfaction, and it produces items that are beautiful and functional. At the same time, our relationship to traditional physical crafts has seen a massive upheaval due to technological advancements. The freedom and support to create textile crafts for pleasure and passion rather than necessity has never been more widespread. Interdisciplinary explorations of computer science and textile crafts have been increasing due to more people being intrinsically motivated to craft, more forms of supportive technology constantly being built, and more interconnected communities growing via the internet. The work in this dissertation begins to coalesce these user-focused and craft-based experiences by presenting crafting as a series of interconnected and nested processes covering the design, manufacture, and experience of textile craft products. Within these processes, I examine how crafters experience physical and digital forms of agency, both high and low, as well as ludic engagement or the lack thereof, as a means of evaluating user perception of technology related to textiles. As exemplar artifacts, I present my own, as well as collaborative, research on design support software, a manufacturing machine appropriated as a game console, and a pair of electronic textile-based fidget toys. This research illustrates how many varied design choices affected audiences' agency and ludic engagement by examining crafters' perceptions and skill levels, as well as the craft domain interpretations by accompanying software and hardware. The interdisciplinary work presented in this dissertation crosses the boundaries of creativity support software, computational creativity, game studies, human-computer interaction, and crafting communities outside the realm of academia. More importantly, this research begins to explicitly join predominantly feminine craft and masculine technological communities across all ages for the enrichment of all those involved.

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