Fabricademy 2023/24: Innovative hacking of Embodied Textile

Five Fabricademy-Amsterdam 2023-2024 program participants have embarked on unique journeys, exploring embodied textiles through innovative projects. They examined how textiles integrate with the human body, redefine our relationship with waste and nature, and merge technology with traditional techniques. Their work encompasses anatomy-inspired dresses, biodegradable burial garments, DIY biomaterials, open-source weaving, and neuroplastic felting. In this article, we briefly look at their works, which invite us to enter the conversation on the future of textile design.

Fabricademy Show 2024
Anatomic Couture

‘Anatomic Couture’ by Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson created "Anatomic Couture," a collection of anatomy dresses inspired by the layers beneath our garments. She crafted three dresses representing skin, muscles, and skeleton. The skin dress resembles classic Western marble sculptures of ideal bodies, while the inflatable latex arm draws from humorous videos of bodybuilders dancing ballet. Through this work, Johnson humorously critiques the concept of the "ideal body."

Dancers in the Theatrum Anatomicum brought these dresses to life in a short film accompanied by a specially composed song. Johnson utilised skills and technologies learned at Fabricademy, such as 3D printing for muscle tissue and skin electronics, for an illuminated skeleton dress. Her work challenges the performativity of body layers and critiques the notion of bodily perfection.

Read more about Stephanie’s Anatomic Couture here.

Fabricademy Show 2024
In Memory Of Memories: From Flowers To Earth

‘In Memory Of Memories: From Flowers To Earth’ by Jiawen Gong 

In her project In Memory Of Memories: From Flowers To Earth, Jiawen Gong rethinks the relationship between textiles and the body. She transforms flower waste from funeral homes into female burial garments. Instead of being discarded, these mourning flowers can accompany the deceased and enrich the earth as the body decomposes. 

Gong uses organic materials like rose petals, wool, cotton, and agar agar to create biodegradable gowns. She dyes natural fibres with biochrome from rose leaves to make a semi-translucent wrap. This burial garment, a circular textile for the body's final journey, nourishes the earth in a symbiotic decomposing process.

Find out more more about Jiawen’s project here.

Fabricademy Show 2024
Happy Apocalypse’

‘Happy Apocalypse’ by Ray Formilli 

Ray Formilli explores biomaterials in her project Happy Apocalypse. She conducts DIY bio-material experiments using food waste and kitchen materials like chicken skins and corn starch. Her experiments form the basis of a three-level game where players create post-apocalyptic clothing. The first level, Trash City, involves inventing clothes from trash. The second, Into the Wild, uses natural materials to reconnect with nature. The third level combines both realms. 

At the exhibition, audiences saw clothing racks made from UberEat bags and trash bags, representing Trash City and a material book of biomaterials for the second level. A horizontal map for the third level included mixed materials like hair in bio-leather. Ray’s project creatively connects bodies to artificial and natural materials, addressing the unsustainability of fast fashion.

Find out more about Ray’s Happy Apocalypse here.

Fabricademy Show 2024
Two Threads Meet: An Open Source Jacquard Loom

‘Two Threads Meet: An Open Source Jacquard Loom’ by Riley Cox

Riley Cox, inspired by her weaver mother, created Two Threads Meet: An Open Source Jacquard Loom. Cox explored the link between weaving and binary computation, developing an open-source Jacquard loom for artists and designers. She investigated the overlooked role of women in weaving and coding, noting the use of punch cards in early digital computers and Jacquard looms.

Cox's loom, customisable and small enough for home use, allows users to design patterns by coding punch cards. This project, viewed through a feminist Marxist lens, empowers individuals to make and own their weaving machines, fostering an intimate, hands-on relationship with production tools.

Find out more about Riley’s project here.

Fabricademy Show 2024
NeuroCraft—felted Chronicles of an Artistic Awakening

‘NeuroCraft—felted Chronicles of an Artistic Awakening’ by Machteld Zee

Machteld Zee, a former legal scholar, pursued her passion for art and textile design in her project NeuroCraft—felted Chronicles of an Artistic Awakening. Zee rewired her brain by making colourful felted textiles, activating the hand-brain connection. This process allowed her to believe in her potential as an artist. Felt-making, involving body movements like laying wool and rolling felt, helped Zee re-weave her neuropathways to create tactile textiles. Her project highlights the innate human desire for self-expression and creativity.


Find out more about Machteld’s Neurocraft here.

Fabricademy Amsterdam

The Fabricademy Amsterdam projects delve into the skin, soil, waste, nature, weaving machines, and brain synapses. These creative endeavours show how our bodies intertwine with garments, materials, soil, and machines. The innovations presented demonstrate that rethinking textiles requires a collaborative lab-academy environment where students gain the knowledge and skills to experiment and inspire each other.

Have you explored all of Waag Academy yet?

Discover all Waag-academies, where you can learn by doing, meet like-minded people, and have fun while exploring biotechnology, digital fabrication, and textile innovation. 

Apply now for Fabricademy, a hands-on course starting in September that combines textiles, new materials, and technology. Pre-register for the world-famous Fab Academy to learn how to make (almost) anything with digital fabrication. Or join BioHack Academy to gain essential skills in do-it-yourself biotechnology, grow biomaterials, and build your own lab equipment. 

For more information and to see inspiring works from past participants, visit academy.waag.org.