Textile Prints Made With Cabbage Dye and Electricity

Cindy Strobach uses red cabbage dye and electrical household appliances to create fascinating colorful printed textiles.  She created the work for her Final Show project at London's Royal College of Art.

Photo: Cindy Strobach

Part of a larger exploration into the invisible phenomena of our everyday environment, the Electro Colour series reveals the hidden lives of two electrical appliances, a speaker and a toaster.  Working with water electrolysis, which changes the water's acidity level depending on its proximity to positive or negative electrodes, she uses red cabbage dye on silk as a pH indicator.  This allows us to see the acidic and alkaline properties of the process as colored patterns.

Look familiar?  It's the inside of a toaster.  Photo: Cindy Strobach

There's so much to like about this work - on one level the pieces can be appreciated as aesthetically-pleasing and well-crafted. Conceptually, there is a kind of communication between the artist and the lowly devices that inhabit her home. The more poetic among us might say she give the appliances a voice, but personally, I'm above all delighted by the beautiful science-demo aspect of the work.

If you like this work as much as I do and you're in London, you have a few more days to catch the exhibition, which runs until 29 June 2014 at the London College of Art.

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Comment by Glenn Zucman on July 1, 2014 at 8:33pm

did someone say... Online?

oh, yes! Compass H2O made a development website:

CompassH2.Org

Comment by meg on July 1, 2014 at 2:51pm

haha, glenn, great to see you had such a great time at the extreme wearables designathon, i did too!  i was really impressed by the range and talent of participants.  hopefully there will be a report online soon that we can feature here on fashioning tech!

Comment by Glenn Zucman on June 30, 2014 at 1:24pm

Hi MEG, OMG! XWD @ MDP this weekend was fantastic! Thank you so much for all your ideas, encouragement, creativity, and just plain great conversation!

Comment by meg on June 28, 2014 at 10:22pm

hi glenn, nice meeting you, too!

the speaker isn't creating any sound, per se, but she's doing a kind of live chemistry data-vis.  she'll run a current through the speaker circuit (perhaps creating a sound while she's doing it?) and the electrical current creates the visual effect.

:)

Comment by Glenn Zucman on June 28, 2014 at 7:45am

Hi  Meg, have you had a chance to see this work? I love what I see in the video, but I'm intrigued by the speaker! It's unclear how it functions or what sort of sound, if any it's creating?

PS: Nice meeting you  at the Extreme Wearables Designathon last night - wow! your hair color really has changed!  :)




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