Here are a couple fun projects I worked on during the 2019 Shakerag Workshop “Blurring Boundaries: Electronics as Material Practice” (June 9-15, Sewanee, Tennessee) lead by German artist Hannah Perner-Wilson. I was gratefully able to attend the workshop thanks to an Artist Opportunity Grant from the Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District.
My brain was totally full by the end of the workshop! Weeks later I'm still digesting and processing the content. Hannah gave us a swatchbook to complete so we would have a chance to walk through different circuits and materials, at the same time have a reference for later--it's a wonderful resource!
We took a deep dive into electromagnetism and the essence of how speakers work. Using copper wire, magnets, conductive thread, an amp and/or sound source, leaves/paper for membrane, we made speakers out of some awesome things. I took this opportunity to revisit a leaf speaker I made previously and improve on it. I also played around with different types of leaves and deconstructing/sewing them together to make new shapes and designs. Magnolia leaves are superior so far. I'm looking forward to continuing the exploration with Ohio leaves...
I also used the material Velostat to create a type of leaf switch to momentarily activate a recorded sound. Velostat works best as a pressure sensitive sensor, but because it is conductive and by touch resembled the leaf membrane, I decided to sew it onto the leaf to make a switch. My first night on campus, I heard the loudest chorus of frogs in my life. I recorded it on my phone and used it as the sound that played back when the two leaves were squeezed together. This was a fun exercise and I'm hoping to expand on it later this year for a bigger project.
Here's a photo James Goedert took of the class--a crafty group of artists and techies from all over!