Inspiring E-textile People: Interview with Cristina Batista

Every Friday I will be publishing a full-length untranslated interview with one of the e-textile artists featured in my book "Wearables für Maker: Experimentieren, nähen, gestalten".  These remarkable people are talking about their e-textile practice and perspective, failures and successes, tricks and inspirations.

Cristina Batista - Oh!Villo


How and when did you get into e-textiles / wearables?

2013. I attended to a lecture by Lynne Bruning at Duduà. Since then I’ve tried to apply e-textiles to my crochet, amigurumi & embroidery projects. 

Your very first project?

The first one was an amigurumi sheriff star with led lights at the end of each point.

A project you are proud of?

Embroideries and e-doilies, in particular.

Main source of inspiration (Other artists? Tools? Situations?)

I look up to the work of Lynne Bruning, Wei ChiehShihm or Afoditi Psarra (here's an interview with her on my this blog).

Favourite tool?

Crocodile clippers. They’re very convenient to test before start embroiling and to be sure the sewing is going fine.

Favourite component?

The conductive thread, no doubt. Is a component that never ceases to amaze me. I also like those components that came from traditional sewing techniques like zippers, snaps… that suddenly have a completely new use in e-textiles.

Favourite crafting technique?


Favourite trick / hack?

Using a second felt layer while embroidering. That layer adds consistency to the fabric at the moment of attach the electric components. Also, if you sew the circuitry pulling the thread through de felt fiber you gain an extra protection and an insulating layer that prevent short circuits.

Your most frustrating moment with e-textiles?

I come from a graphic design background. It’s because of the e-textiles that I’ve started to been interested for technology.  Sometimes I’ve found a little bit frustrating not having enough theoretical knowledge. Right now I learn by trial and error but I would like to better understand the whole process. I think that would help me make more interesting projects. Surely that’s a field in which I would like to get better.

What do you do if a project doesn't work? How do you approach bugs / problems /

I try to go backwards step by step, checking with the crocodiles clippers to found out where the mistake is. Once I know, I try to carefully undo the seam and start all over again.

How do you start a new project?
I think about the motif or story I want to depict. Then I try to sum it up in a single image and think about how to apply the e-textiles components to add a layer of interactivity. Then I make sketches of everything, including how I am going to arrange all the elements.

Advice to e-textile newbies?
I think that the best advice I can give is that the sooner you understand that mistakes are part of the process the better. When you sew using conducting thread is usual that little problems show up, causing the circuit doesn’t work properly.

Check out Cristina's adorable tutorials, e.g. like this one.

Courtesy of Cristina Batista
Courtesy of Cristina Batista

Courtesy of Cristina Batista

Courtesy of Cristina Batista

Courtesy of Cristina Batista

Courtesy of Cristina Batista

Courtesy of Cristina Batista

Courtesy of Cristina Batista

Courtesy of Cristina Batista
Courtesy of Cristina Batista



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