Course Description

Artistic practice is constantly evolving in correlation with technological innovations. In the 21st century, designers use of analog and digital materials have already redefined our relationship to our environment by allowing new types of interfaces with the material world. This studio class will focus on how new materials such as smart textiles, conductive inks, soft circuits, wearable computing challenge traditional ways of relating to objects, wearables, and space through new forms of interactions. We will begin by examining how traditional crafting techniques (embroidery, ceramics, carving, etc) can be interwoven with new materials and technologies to generate new behaviors and interactions.

Artisanal Tech will provide to students a range of skills to address contemporary notions of craftsmanship, usability, aesthetic value. The purpose will be to understand how things work and to try to redefine and reconstruct projects using this hybrid method, this will help us to increase interaction and to find simple way to make it. We will also discover that we can use technology as an aesthetic part of element and to not lock up in a black box. Throughout the course there will be an emphasis on project documentation and publication, technical construction, and aesthetic creation. You do not need to have any prior knowledge of physical computing or electronics, though it may be helpful.


Learning Outcomes

During this class you will learn how to develop a research method and how to document their experimentation to share it and to make it understandable for others. By exploring this new process, you will discover a range of new techniques and materials that will be a kind of tool box for the rest of your curriculum. In this class, you will approach basic understanding of physical computing and how connect material, which seems basic, to computer and creating new kind of sensitive and tangible interface.

  • How to develop a research method in the purpose of an exploration process, in the context of short and long projects.
  • Learn how to document experimentations and how to create tutorials published as open-source tool for others. 
  • Understand notion of interaction and interface, especially in this high-low tech context, by using raw material and simplify technology. 
  • Understand importance of choice of material and technology and how it will impact haptic and affordance of a project. 
  • Gain a basic understanding about physical computing and digital rapid prototyping, by exploring the limits and possibilities of the tools available to you both within the school and in other locations e.g. hackerspaces etc.
  • Learn how to use technic (craft or prototyping machine) and be able to transmit this knowledge to your colleagues in class. 
  • Develop knowledge and interest about the future of smart materials and understand how they will impact everyday life, and new behaviours, by exploring speculative and fictional design. 
  • Understand how it benefits to contribute to the open source community by documenting and sharing on the course website and other platforms like instructables.

You need to give information to the community as much as you learn from it to keep this open-source spirit prolific.


Course Outline

Home assignments will be regularly given, from one session to the next, in order to ensure a good preparation of the work and take full advantage of the sessions’ limited duration. These assignments being crucial to the development of the course and always carefully calibrated (2-3 hours work), we insist that they are mandatory, and must be given all the necessary attention and dedication.



Week 1 / Thursday 3rd of September, 2015

General Introduction of the class & explanations

Exploring basic of electricity and electronic through references projects and physical examples.
Be able to understand the aim of the class and this universe of the high-low tech.

Week 2 / Thursday 10th of September, 2015

Workshop “switches & simple circuit”

Understand with simple circuit, basic switches and led.
Create multiple examples of circuit with different material such as conductive thread, copper tape, conductive paint. Documentate it and create a post to explain the different experimentations.
Be sure to master even if it’s simple the circuit to complex it in the other session.

Week 3 / Thursday 17th of September, 2015

Workshop “ePaper and Origami”

First we will explore the universe of the ePaper through different example and create a light paper object with a switch, using copper tape or conductive paint. You will have an introduction to use a plotter will be very useful for complex pattern to cut or build.
First experimentation interconnecting a craft technique and electronic.

Week 4 / Thursday 24th of September, 2015

Workshop “keyboard hacking”

During the workshop, we will hack a keyboard and use the key to create a simple computer interface.
Open an object and understand how it’s work to hack it

Week 5 / Thursday 1st of October, 2015

Workshop “eTextile and soft sensors”

Discover the world of eTextile through project and an introduction to material and technics. Learn how to create your own sensors.
Be open to a new range of material and learn a new layer of complexity in electronic.

Week 6 / Thursday 8th of October, 2015

Workshop “Textilo” (part 1)

Build a “Textilo” which is a fabric prototyping board.
Use a “Textilo” board to make a project with DIY textile sensor.
Learn how to make a circuit entire in textile using different technique such as laser cutting.

Week 7 / Thursday 15th of October, 2015


Workshop “Textilo” (part 2)

Build a “Textilo” which is a fabric prototyping board.
Use a “Textilo” board to make a project with DIY textile sensor.

Make a first wearable tech project.  

Week 8 / Thursday 22th of October, 2015

Workshop “Arduino”

Introduction to arduino and basic programmation.
Learn to use arduino platform and connect your soft DIY sensor.

Week 9 / Thursday 5th of November, 2015

Workshop “Flip Flop”

the flip-flop (n.) the process of pushing a work of art or craft from the physical world to the digital world and back again — maybe more than once.

During this workshop with an introduction to processing, we will try to create tangible artefact from digital pattern made with different process.
Learn to use processing and generate file to use with numeric tools such as laser cutting, textile printing, 3D printing, milling, plotter, vinyle cutter… Create a complete process which is interact between digital and physical world. Generate a small edition of experimentation of the class. 

Week 10 / Thursday 12th of November, 2015

Final project (part 1)

During 5 sessions, you will working on a project by using all different skills that you have learn during this class. The subject will be reveal soon but it will be in collaboration with the computional class students of Parsons NY. During this project, you will be evaluate on your quality of documentation and on your process of creation and reflexion.
Launch of the subject

Week 11 / Thursday 19th of November, 2015

Final project (part 2)

Research of references (images, movies, sketches, artists, project…)
Definition of first concept + sketch

Week 12 / Thursday 26th of November, 2015

Final project (part 3)

Presentation of references and first concept
Experimentation (material, technics)

Week 13 / Thursday 3rd of December, 2015

Final project (part 4)

Experimentation (material, technics)

Week 14 / Thursday 10th of December, 2015

Final project (part 5)

Prototyping and video documentation

Make-Up Week / Thursday 17th of December, 2015

Final presentation


Grading and Evaluation

Students’ ability to meet the course’s learning outcomes will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of the ability to solve problems, both creative and technical through an iterative process
  • Evidence of the understanding of the project assignments and course material
  • Evidence of research in the development of projects
  • Participation in class discussion and online discussion
  • Participation in collaborative work including self and peer assessment
  • Improvement in technical, creative, and problem solving abilities
  • Documentation of a creation processus
  • Quality of work as evidenced in in-class exercises and projects
  • Attendance in class and the timely completion of projects


Assessment Criteria

Participation in critiques and discussions: 10%
Workshops : 50%
Final Project : 40%