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24 September 2014

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You are in: Coventry and Warwickshire > People > Profiles > Making digital beautiful

Tracert DOS command textile

Textile of a tracert DOS command

Making digital beautiful

WAP technology, data networks and pixels are all commonplace words in our vocabulary now. A Leamington born artist has got blogs a wagging with her innovative hook on art and design using modern day technology as her inspiration.

Kate Pemberton’s aim is “to use electronics in a non-functioning way to make something beautiful”.

DOS commands and txt msgs become textile craftwork. “I really love textiles and crafts, so I've been working on different pieces that involve both traditional craft ideas and modern multi-media. I want to identify crossovers between computer graphics and craft techniques."

Art design

Kate's work is viewed as clever and fun

All cross-stitch designs are made up of small squares, which become square stitches on perforated fabric. In a similar way, web design and print graphics use small squares, called pixels, to build up an image.

Kate talks about her work and inspirations:

”I did a foundation in Art and Design at Bourneville before moving to Newport (Wales) to do an honours degree in Interactive Arts. This allowed me to use and investigate new and emerging technologies to develop contemporary art pieces.

I created large-scale electronic installations and spent much time designing and building creative CD-rom and web navigation systems.

Art work

Digital influence design

After graduating I moved to London where I became the AV-technician for electronic and kinetic artworks as part of the conservation department at the Tate Galleries. My job covered both London Tate galleries.

Humour and beauty

I moved on to become the AV technician for film and events at Tate Modern. After a year or so I  yearned to get on with more of my own work so moved back to the Midlands and got a job at ThinkTank in Birmingham’s  Millennium Point as an Exhibition Technician.

This gave me a less hectic life and time to develop my own work. I went part-time about 6 months ago to dedicate more time to my creative practise.

"All this online attention is great, I even get fan-emails."

Kate Pemberton, artist

My work is well received by a large range of people from different ends of the spectrum. The crossover of craft, art and technology allows for a wider audience who all seem to find humour and beauty in my work.

The use of textiles with technology is not that common. I occasionally get featured on geeky web blogs – this has a domino effect with lots of people picking up on articles and featuring it in other sites.

Art design

Circuitboard textile design

This often results in a huge amount of traffic coming to my site over a day or so and several emails from people who appreciate the use of computer language or imagery in a real life tangible object. All this online attention is great, I even get some fan-emails.

Work begins on the computer

Over the last few years I have developed an international reputation and have exhibited at 2 major technology art festivals – ‘New Forms 04’ in Vancouver, where I won the People Choice Award,  and ‘Siggraph 05’ in Los Angeles. This year I won a Channel 4 Ideas Factory award for creative achievement in the West Midlands.

My work has evolved to include textiles. The focus is still on technology, if it doesn’t include it, it makes reference to it. All of my design work begins on the computer; I use it as my sketchbook.

Art design

Electronics made beautiful

Any inspiration or ideas I find on the net are kept in a kind of scrapbook type way in folders on my hard-drive. I use a lot of digital photography to record ideas. My paper sketchbook mainly contains to-do lists this travels with me everywhere.

I’ve been developing some rosettes that are made from a fabric I’ve designed and printed, inspired by computer commands. My initial prototypes were made at Wolverhampton University on a short course that allowed the use of their digital textile printer.

Now I'm selling

I’m going to develop these prototypes into finished, boxed items to be sold. Wolverhampton has agreed that I can continue to use the equipment at the university for another year whilst carrying out research on the ‘interdisciplinary support programme’ supported by Vivid.

Art work

Pixel influenced design

Only recently have I started making art with the view to selling it. This is why I am developing limited edition runs of items that I can replicate. All the ideas in these items link strongly with my larger scale work but are more affordable.

I currently sell work in Birmingham and Nottingham and on my website.

Packed diary

Next on my agenda is to launch my new product and develop new ideas for future products. I‘ve been developing work for a DVD with Birmingham based collective, modulate and have been chosen for Virtual 2006 (arts and business) an intranet based gallery set up to sell work to businesses and employees.

As well as working with Vivid for the next 2 years, I have the exhibition at the Herbert opening in November, and was recently selected as a moderator for so will be editing some articles for their online community over the next few months.

Oh yeah, I also plan to have a day off at some point too – maybe Christmas.

last updated: 18/04/2008 at 10:53
created: 18/10/2005

You are in: Coventry and Warwickshire > People > Profiles > Making digital beautiful

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