Luminous Textiles

a one week workshop exploring electroluminescence and textiles

“We eat light, drink it in through our skins. With a little more exposure to light, you feel part of things physically. I like feeling the power of light and space physically because then you can order it materially.”
James Turrell

The Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås

Manuel Kretzer, Delia Dumitrescu

Smart Textiles
ULANO Screen Making Products
Peter Ljungstrand, Interactive Institute Swedish ICT

Light, due to both its materiality and immateriality, has inspired artists and designers for centuries. Generally there are the two main ways of producing light, incandescence and luminescence. While in incandescence an electric current is driven through a conductor, which produces heat in resistance to the current and hence generates light, luminescence is referred to all forms of visible light due to other causes than temperature. Electroluminescence, which was the topic of this workshop, thus means the non-thermal creation of light emerging from the application of an electrical field to a substance.

‘Luminous Textiles’ was a workshop held at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås from September 14 – 18, 2015. During the one week project a range of flexible electroluminescent displays and luminous surfaces was produced. In groups the participants explored techniques in screen-printing and controlling the devices digitally. In addition to experimenting with various shapes and patterns the most interesting aspects involved printing with differently colored phosphors.

Methods in printing straight onto textile substrates were also explored, however due to insufficient conductivity of the base material and problems in isolating the electrodes properly remained unfortunately largely unsuccessful. Another difficulty remained cleaning the screens from the oil-based inks. Layering various colors on top of each and mixing them into ‘new’ colors was truly inspiring and worth investigating further.

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