Technology Meets Tradition

Hand embroidery has for a long time been a secret hobby of mine, one of which I seldom tell my young, hip friends about. In its simplest form, embroidery is an example of a craft – and its more traditional methods saw manufacture as a product of the Industrial culture, that is, a craft produced with the completed article already premeditated.


However the definition of craft is rapidly changing, with digitisation of design and production dissolving the barriers between the conceptual and construction phases. Take the software Wilcom: an internet based site for embroidery design with a “vision for automating the embroidery industry that has changed the way people create and produce embroidered goods”.

Co-founder Bill Wilson gives us a run-down:


No longer is embroidery the craft that we have previously known. Online mass collaboration has enabled us to discover ideas that often were not part of the initial conceptualisation. Rapid prototyping and experimentation has led to the era of error discovery, with quality of the product continually at risk during the production stage.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 11.34.05 am
Glitching my art

Let’s see what Nanna thinks of that!

Featured Image: “Frister and Rossmann sewing machine” by Jph1066, licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

6 thoughts on “Technology Meets Tradition

  1. The transformation from traditional concepts of craft (handmade work for example) to the digital from of craft (mass collaborations) is interesting in terms of embroidery. especially since this craft has such a personal connection in a way, for example my grandmother passed down the skill to my mother and so on. But do you think this new digital way of experiencing and working with craft is damaging to the craft itself? or do you think by collaborating, new ideas could be formed to bring a new and broader audience to a craft that is less popular than it used to be?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like what you’re thinking here! And I must agree with you, the traditional production methods of embroidery are undoubtedly in decline. These new technologies may make design and manufacture much easier, but it is absolutely at the cost of the traditional handmade practice. For me, this is why I find the craft so special – conceptualising and creating artworks by hand may be much more time consuming, but the finished product is something to be very proud of. I guess this is where the line becomes quite blurred!

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  3. Hi Susie, I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post, I liked that you told everyone about your hobby! I think you have really showed your understanding well about the effects technology has on the crafts that we know and love, and that the older generation in particular. I think it would have been really interesting to see how artists are incorporating glitches into embroidery, I have found this blog post that discusses how a fashion designer is using glitch art within their designs, found you might like to have a look at it?
    Also thought your meme was really funny! And also the embroidery is really cool,would love to see more of your work! So keep up the great blogging! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback! The link you sent is great, it’s really interesting to see a real life example of people other than “artists” using the glitch aesthetic in their work. Prior to this subject, I had no idea glitch art was even a thing, so it’s great to see the way others are using it!


  4. This is a really greta post! I fully understand with this example you have used, it is perfectly basic in describing how craft can be altered with technology on huge scale. Do you think that the online side of this craft will benefit those who don’t have the knowledge from someone or some physical instructions. Many older crafts usually come with their fair share of tricks and techniques that can only be practiced and perfected. Is this online evolution of embroidery going online is just the way of the future for not only crafts but knowledge on almost anything. I would love to hear your thoughts. And even though most embroidery is planned ahead will there still be room for error and risk? also check out @sophiemaykes

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