Our latest newsletter and press articles

October 2019

E-Textile workshop 28-29 November

Our final E-Textile workshop for 2019 will take place on Thursday and Friday 28-29 November.  The content of the workshop has been updated to cater for the latest version of the Arduino Lilypad micro-controller.  During this 2-day hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to code their own Lilypad Arduino micro-controller and create a range of sensors for functional textile applications.

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Award for Lab’s Technician

Congratulations to our Senior Technician, Gordon Fraser, who won one of two Contribution and Service awards at the recent Faculty Awards presentation.  Gordon joined the lab in 2007 from industry and has developed a passion for supporting our students, commercial partners and researchers in helping to find solutions to their knitted material and product needs.  Gordon’s award includes an additional $1200 towards personal development expenditure.

Gordon Fraser and his award

Gordon Fraser receiving his award from Professor Guy Littlefair, Dean of Faculty

Lab support for Engineering student researchers

Engineers are rapidly becoming accustomed to the concept of using softer pliable materials to perform functional tasks, particularly in the wearable technologies sector.  Final year Bachelor of Engineering students, Divya Ranchhod and Sagar Patel are two such students who have worked with the lab this year to investigate the feasibility of using textile sensors to monitor the ECG and respiratory rates of competitive swimmers.  A range of conductive yarns were knitted in conjunction with other yarns to improve the dimensional stability of the sensory materials in order to ascertain the most reliable combination.  The students’ work is part of an on-going project.

Farewell to AUT lecturer and TDL colleague

The lab bids farewell to AUT lecturer and long-time colleague, Miranda Smitheram in November, when she takes up her new role as Assistant Professor of Material Futures at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.  She will be involved with the university’s Textiles and Materiality Cluster, a research group that sits within the Faculty of Design and Computational Arts.

Recreating history for South Island museum

Recreating a printed dress fabric dating back to around 1840 was one of the recent challenges put to the Textile and Design Lab.  The lab was approached earlier this year to ascertain whether the design could be redrawn and digitally printed to simulate the original appearance of the fabric.

The original dress was entirely hand sewn from a roller printed plain weave cotton fabric.  It forms part of the Motueka Museum collection and is associated with the Staples family who migrated from Berkshire, England in 1842 before establishing the family brewery business in the town.  Conservation assessment of the dress had led to the conclusion that the staining on the dress was intractable. Both the extent of staining along with other aspects of the garment’s condition made cleaning unfeasible. The replica fabric enables presentation of an unstained re-created garment and enables more options for interpretation in a museum context, for example, use as a costume for a ‘living history’ type of event.

AUT Textile Design graduate, Lily Steedman, was commissioned by the lab to redraw the imagery in preparation for digitally printing it onto a suitable cotton fabric.  The colour of the newly printed fabric was chosen to approximate what the original material might have looked like.  Colour matching of the other design elements was carried out prior to printing.

TDL processes

From left to right: The original dress: Recreating the design: The digital version alongside the original dress

2020 short courses and workshops

The dates for our 2020 short course and workshop programme will be announced in November.  To be kept informed of about the 2020 programme, please subscribe to our mailing list.

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