Andrea Mayr-Stalder is an artist and educator. At the Vienna University children's office she leads the media literacy team and she is the founder of Turtlestitch, a platform and international community, using Snap! to bring together coding and textile making. What makes the community unique is its great diversity, engaging different age and gender groups from a wide range of cultural backgrounds across four continents.
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Over the last few years, the TS community has grown not only in size but also in diversity, integrating people from different cultures, ages and genders. We believe this has to do with the specific attraction that textiles generate. Every culture has a specific textile tradition which reaches directly into the daily lives of everyone, evocating both personal as well as collective memories, generating an affective field. The coding aspect allows rethinking this tradition from a contemporary point of view, creating a space that is open and not yet fully defined, inviting people to open experimental exploration.
How this space is then explored, how the technical and the textile are combined, how machine and hand-craft are related and what kind of products -- tangible products of ones own learning and creativity -- are generated is deeply influenced by local conditions and personal preferences, providing the space of diverse articulation and, through the peer exchange on the platform, collaborative inspiration.
In this talk, I will provide a short look back at the environment from which TurtleStitch emerged and give an overview of the current state. Voices from the TurtleStitch environment will provide their own perspectives on and use of TurtleStitch.