My name is Paola Guimerans and I am a artist, designer, educator and creative technologist based in Spain. Since 2010 I have been researching emerging connections. between art, education and technology derived from the opening of the research area of wearables and electronic textiles. I am a university professor and the author of openelectronicarts an online resource platform designed to offer designers, artists, students and teachers of all educational levels a creative approach to learn electronics and programming.
I earned an MFA Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design. Also, I hold a PhD in Fine Arts from the Complutense University of Madrid. My academic research, Technology as a creative material: E-textiles and its derivations in the field of the visual arts, examines the emergence of new forms of education from a cross-discipline approach. Paola explores the arising artistic opportunities linked to the field of wearables and e-textiles in a participatory and collaborative cultural emboided by the digital age.
Since I was a child, technology has always fascinated me. However, woking with my hands, drawing and painting have been my great passions. Maybe that’s why I decided to study fine arts and specialize in design and printmaking. Years later, this situation led me to get closer to the movements of digital culture and the art of new media, and in 2007, this education make me move to New York to obtain the grade of designer of interaction at the Parsons School of Design.
At Parsons, in the context of my own artistic practice, I start to investigate new models of teaching and learning to open source programming that include the realization of hand-on techniques. As an inspiration for my research, I take as a reference the work of pioneers such as Leah Buechley, creator of Lilypad arduino. Also, I approach educational theoretical studies such as Kafai and Peppler, and the work of Maggie Orth, mainly I was interested in the research carried out in the 90s, which defends new possibilities for artists to transform materially and sculpturally technology, among others.
Soft Circuits y new materials that inspired creativity
I started to experiment with new materials and emerging methodologies for the creation of electronic circuits using yarns, fabrics or conductive paintings. As a consequence, I discover a new way to build circuits by making Soft Circuits which allows me to manually approach the technology. This investigation, encourage to visit MIT and participate in workshops given by the members of the High-Low Tech group and to argued in favor of STEAM movement promoted at that time from the Rhode Island School of Design by Professor Jon Maeda. Furthermore to get close with cultural trends such as the maker movement and the DIY/DIWO, which in addition to being oriented to digital manufacturing and robotics, include in their maker faires projects on e-textiles, wearables or paper circuits, giving visibility to these fields.
In 2010, at the academic level I started to give workshops on e-textiles, paper circuits and wearable electronics to the students of the MFA in Design and Technology of Parsons NY. In this same school, under the direction of Professor Katherine Moriwaki, , I also teach the Class Soft Circuits: an exploration of new materials in the context of tangible interface design. In the professional field, I collaborate with the Q2L ((Institute of Play) school in the development and design of the STEAM curriculum for K12 students, publishing the results in the MIT press.
e-textiles, wearables electronics and soft circuits books
In 2012 I decided to return to Spain with the aim of completing my Ph.D. research. Also, with the idea to bring this knowledge to all those who are interested in approaching this new and creative way of building circuits. With this objective in mind, this educational project started. Creative Soft Circuits workshops is a project that aims to bring electronics and programming to all audiences through practices that promote the development of artistic creativity and design. Also, the project aims to enhance the inclusion of women and new audiences in the creation of technology.