Hello! You may have reached this page by scanning the QR code on my business card in which case you can now read the story of how a crowd-sourced community helped my mission to fuse technology and textiles.

If your search engine has directed you here or you’ve clicked on the ‘QR-3D’ tab on my blog, I hope you enjoy this featured content which gives you a flavour of the way I work.

In June 2011 I was very excited when I spotted a tweet from Sally Fort about her QR-3D project. The idea was simple, create a 3D textiles QR code and add a photograph of it to the project’s Flickr pool. The added bonus was that there was a chance for the finished piece (if selected), to appear in an exhibition at Cornerhouse in Manchester  (the project was a Cornerhouse Micro Commission, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation).

Simple? I had no idea what a QR code was let alone how to create one in 3D, but once I’d done some research I instantly saw the possibilities for a DIY crowd sourced adventure in techno-textiles.

A Quick Response code is traditionally a two-dimensional image like a barcode; used by barcode readers and camera phones. They usually consist of smaller black squares on a larger square white background. The information contained within usually directs readers to a website, but can also be used to hide text messages or other information. The QR code above is the code for this page.

My QR-3D plan was to create a collaborative piece; a QR code constructed out of hand rolled black and white felt balls. When photographed/scanned, readers would be directed to this page documenting a crowd sourced creative adventure! I enlisted some help from my friends. First on the list was a trip to Fulbridge School of Creativity in Peterborough with Matthew Brown of Design-4-online to meet with my fabulous ‘Mini-Agents’.  Over two mornings we deconstructed the process of making felt balls creating simple instructions which we put together as a ‘How To’ video (also showcasing the school’s inspirational themed corridors).

View part one of the ‘How To’ guide to make a felt ball here and part two here

I then embarked on a mission to persuade, cajole and coax different groups/individuals to contribute a ball or two to create the techno-textiles code. Frithville Primary School were the first group to succumb to my charms closely followed by Gosberton House and Kesteven and Sleaford High. Dr Amy Jane Barnes  made a quality individual contribution and Nigel Blackamore, Senior Curator of the Brecknock Museum in Wales  trained his staff in the art of feltmaking so that they could too. The Caravan Gallery got in on the action during a rainy afternoon outside the National Theatre, Creative Agents from Lincolnshire did it in the garden and my children, Jude and Abigail,  held regular ‘felt offs’ whilst watching TV.

The dedication of those involved yielded an impressive 1089 felt balls and you can read more about how and where they were created here. I am so pleased with the finished piece and thoroughly enjoyed the collaborative process. I have a special talent from a previous career as a Quality Controller in a fruit factory; I can calibrate a clementine within a 5mm band by eye! If I had responded to this project as an individual artist I would have meticulously regulated the size of each ball that I made and would have anxiously obsessed about lumps, bumps, blemishes and creases. I would have become a felt ball bore!

Over 200 people were involved in creating this piece and the subtle variances and slight wonkiness are what makes it special! It tells a story and has brought people together to experience ‘making’ as a collective activity. It has fed my passion for creative learning, participation and social media. William Morris described healthy art as ‘an art which is to be made by the people and for the people, as happiness to the maker and the user,’ I hope that he would have approved of our approach to QR-3D. You can read more about the exhibition here.

Go on, scan it!


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Saira-Afreen Darr
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 19:42:38

    katie i love your new blog


    • Katie Smith
      Jul 07, 2011 @ 20:06:16

      Thanks Saira, I have been very busy today weighing wool and putting it into bags. Tomorrow I am going to package up the Fulbridge supplies and post them to school along with some special instructions for the Mini-Agents. I will tweet some photos to the Shakespeare Class twitter account. Matthew has finished the film and it looks amazing but we need to edit it so it’s in two parts because my first attempt at uploading it cut the last bit off! You can see 1min of it if you click on the blue box under the dinosaur photos on the right of this page, I hope that you like it! I am making more felt balls with Gosberton House School and Kesteven High School next week and have a museum in Wales doing lots too! See you soon, Katie 🙂


  2. Sally Gilding
    Jul 26, 2011 @ 16:15:29

    can’t wait to see the finished work!


  3. muqaddas shafiq
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 11:49:15

    katie i love it


    • Katie Smith
      Jul 28, 2011 @ 16:22:13

      Thank you, I am very pleased about that! Shakespeare Class worked so hard and I will always remember you all when I look at our QR-3D creation! 🙂


  4. mark27ingham
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 13:12:03

    Good to see you at #digitaltrans and very cool QR code on card…



  5. Les Porter
    Feb 21, 2013 @ 15:15:11

    Brilliant Katie
    Great to meet you. Lots of chances for collaboration here I feel.




    • Katie Smith
      Feb 23, 2013 @ 13:27:21

      Lovely to meet you and Nicky too and great to find out about your work through Ideas in2 Action. Will look forward to future co-working opportunities 🙂


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