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A Closer Look at Technology X Tradition

The Technology X Tradition collection is a group of seven patterns inspired by a few different sources colliding. First is the excellent book Embroidering Her Truth; Mary, Queen of Scots and the Language of Power by Clare Hunter, and next is an episode of the textile podcast Haptic and Hue. Finally, there is the innovative new digital printer, the Dimensor-S 3D texture printer. It may seem like a strange collision, but textiles and technology have always been entwined. Technological advancements in textiles have long led to technological advancements in society.

When I first saw what the Dimensor-S 3d printer could do, I wanted to create a collection highlighting the unique dimensional capability. Having just finished Clare Hunter’s book, I had embroidery on my mind. Specifically, how women used embroidery to communicate, sometimes secretly through symbols. Their work also accurately reflected a moment in time by communicating what technology was new and impacting the culture.

I knew I wanted to draw from traditional textiles as a starting point. I also thought about what technology is new at this moment in time, particularly AI. As an homage to these historical embroideries, I wanted each pattern in this collection to contain an element of secrecy. Whether I used motifs as symbolism or embedded actual coded messages (a nod to our previous Cryptology Collection), the patterns in Technology X Tradition serve the same purpose many historic embroideries did: to be beautiful and functional, carrying messages about the makers, their lives, and their time.

Let’s take a closer look at the patterns in Technology X Tradition.

Mood Sampler

In 2022, I gave myself a challenge to create a mood calendar. Each morning, I would wake up, think about how I felt, and use watercolor to paint in a square on a calendar. Each color represented a different mood and feeling. I decided to use this art project, specifically July, as the starting point for the pattern Mood Sampler. I wanted to tap into using color as symbolism and also create a pattern that combined both the effect of watercolor and embroidery.

Original

What is considered an original in the age of AI? Is it the person who coded the AI program or the artist whose work was used to teach the program? Pattern Original, for sure, is an original design. I created it. It’s an original stripe pattern but also a message written in bar code. The bar code deciphers to “original,” and the puff element that appears when printed on a Dimense-S printer reads “design.” An original design created from my original idea.

Bee Leaf

Bee Leaf is an homage to Mary Queen of Scots and – Ted Lasso. Maybe an unlikely pair, or maybe not. Mary, a highly skilled and prolific embroiderer, was known to have frequently embroidered the image of a dolphin to represent Dauphin, a nod to her late husband, Francis. This made me wonder what animal I would use to symbolize my design career. I chose the bee as a common symbol of industry and determination. Bee Leaf also is my code for Believe, both a nod to Ted Lasso and the need to truly believe in something and yourself when starting your own business and attempting to change an industry.

I included three florals also.

Creativity

Antique embroideries are full of flowers carrying with them more than just beauty. Many women used flowers to communicate location, allegiances, feelings, or mood. In pattern Creativity, I created a wreath pattern made up of flowers often used to symbolize creativity: Emilia, Muscari, Lupinus, and Verbena.

Rhetoric

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rhetoric as “the art of speaking or writing effectively,” often “speaking as a means of communication or persuasion.” In the days of Mary Queen of Scots, she frequently used embroidery to communicate and persuade, and she wasn’t alone. Many women, especially those who could not read or write, used embroidery to record their stories. They embraced the technology of their time and used it to their advantage. In this pattern, I wanted to communicate ideas about current technology. What are new tools impacting work, such as AI. What tools have we been using that may be phasing out, such as a computer mouse or a flash drive? In Rhetoric, I created flowers using the tools I use daily on my computer to design patterns.

Tapestry of Flowers

In Embroidering Her Truth, Hunter writes, “A synergy emerged between garden design and embroidery. They became viewed as intertwined disciplines, both exemplars of elite creativity.” She discusses how gardening and embroidering developed side by side and influenced each other’s aesthetics and language. “Embroiderers called the cloth they worked on ‘the ground,’ gardeners created ‘tapestries of flowers.’ Both gardeners and embroiderers scoured the same recently published books of botanical drawings for inspiration.”

Inspired by Mary Queen of Scot’s use of the thistle to represent Scotland, I decided to design my own tapestry of flowers using state flowers from each of the places I’ve lived. The flowers are tossed for an allover pattern that is versatile and easy to use in any application.

AI Sampler ties the collection together.

AI Sampler

This pattern communicates most effectively what this whole collection is about. Whenever a new technology gains popularity, it’s always interesting to see how it impacts art. How will AI impact art and design?

In the Haptic and Hue episode, Samplers and The Hands That Made Them, the host Jo Andrews opens by saying, “There are some textiles that give up their stories easily, look at them, hold them and they will tell you what they are and where they come from. They will probably give you clues about who made them and what this cloth meant to them. Others are harder to understand, we think we see them, but everything is not quite what it looks. There is a surface story and then a hidden one that sits behind it.” This idea got me wondering what my story would look like if I were to create it today. What tools would I use that were of this moment? What would I embed in my sampler?

The resulting pattern is AI Sampler. This piece is “stitching my story,” but imagining how I would use AI to create a pattern (which I would never do). It’s made up of all the words that explain the “Tapestry of Flowers” design, with the words “inspired by Kristen Dettoni,” which will (unnervingly) search the internet for my name and pull from my ideas.

I’m not saying I’m against AI technology, but at this moment in time, I wonder where it will lead. It is already a helpful tool in many areas of our lives. What about in art and design? When it comes to art, what does creating an image in AI mean for issues such as copyright law?

All the patterns in this collection can be licensed to use on any substrate.

As an interior designer, you can work with any of our partners to print the patterns of Technology X Tradition on anything from leather to upholstery to flooring. Yet, when printed on the Dimensor-S 3D texture printer, a revolutionary new tactile printer, you can have a material with actual texture and dimension. In the case of these patterns, I’ve designed them all to look like cross stich and feel rich with the dimension of a stitched cloth.

Design Pool partnered with Roland DGA and Wheelhouse Graphix for printing. This water-based system uses PVC-free vinyl media, making it safe and sustainable. This printer reveals endless possibilities for interior design projects. Orders are printed on-demand, allowing designers to specify in a way that reduces waste in manufacturing.

Photo credit: Christine McShane Creative

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Author

Kristen Dettoni

Kristen is a visionary textile designer based in Southern New Hampshire with a track record of industry-defining contributions dating back to 1993. She is the Founder of Design Pool and Domanda Design and is an occasional blogger. Her creative influence is reflected in her work across multiple sectors, including automotive, office, hospitality, healthcare and home furnishings. Kristen is an accomplished designer with over thirty years of experience in design with a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She maintains an art practice and exhibits her artwork in juried and group shows throughout the United States. Her artwork has received numerous awards and honorable mentions. Whatever her creative pursuit, Dettoni approaches it with a strong belief in the power of good design to transform our environments and ultimately, our lives.

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