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Crafted Technology

Tamara Efrat, Moran Mizrahi and Dr. Amit Zoran
This project is a collaboration between the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and the Hebrew University

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The project investigates cooperation between craftsmen and technology experts, and is focused on possibilities of contemporary interpretation and use of traditional smocking embroidery, through parametric tools. The project was focused on the development of special-purpose tools for design, and dealt with the questions of the object's use as a means of communication between the world of design and the world of computers, and the way in which such communication can provide a platform for the reexamination and reuse of craft.

The project refers to the traditional technique of embroidery, as an example of a repetitive handcraft dedicated to the creation of structures and designs, which is compatible with digitization. The project investigates the unique cultural history of smocking embroidery, its origin in the functional need for a material that could serve as a flexible joint in clothing, and its evolution as a decorative item representing ethnographic traditions.

In the 18th century and early 19th century, the smock-frock was worn by English villagers as work clothes, and represented authentic folk craft. After the industrial revolution, which led to the mass production of elastic and comfortable garments, the simple, practical element of this embroidery was turned into a status symbol, a luxury for those who could afford to appreciate and buy craftwork and authentic popular culture.

Crafted Technology refers to the history of this embroidery, analyzes its constructive, morphological and textural characteristics and offers a new perspective on smocking as a “primitive algorithm” through which a two dimensional plane can be turned into an object. Through contemporary technology and parametric planning, the project attempts to revive and enhance the original characteristics of embroidery and turn it into a practical three-dimensional object of diverse textures and configurations.


Photographer: Daniel Shechter

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