Procedural Patchwork: Community-Focused Generative Design for Quilting

Conference: Creativity & Cognition 2021

We are developing quilt design generation software for Code Crafters workshops, which aim to broaden public awareness of computational thinking and build links between computer science and quilting. The software generates quilt designs, which will be manipulated and modified by workshop participants. Due to COVID, our workshops will be conducted remotely, so the software has been designed to increase the sense of community by providing opportunities for the types of social interactions that take place in colocated quilting workshops.

Generating Connections Between Computer Science and Quilt Practices to Foster Group Learning

In this paper, we present the Code Crafters workshop and our accompanying co-creative, generative quilt design software, through which we research how adults in quilting communities relate their quilting practices to computer science principles in an informal learning environment. We show that combining quilt-related activities with software prompts enables participants to identify connections between computing and quilting practices. In addition, our findings show that participants recognize collaborative, computer-generated design as both empowering and an opportunity to expand their creativity. Further, we report that participants indicated they enjoy sharing social, intergenerational, computational activities that foster learning about computers and their own practices. Through this research, we contribute to knowledge about the relationship between computing concepts and crafting practices. We provide an instructional model for reaching a non – traditional and underserved audience. And we demonstrate how this model motivates and engages adults to reflect on their identity, attitude, and relationship to computing.

Code Crafters STEM 4 All 2021

Conference: STEM for All 2021

Code Crafters: Navigating Quilters’ Perceptions of Computing and Quilting towards Broadening Public Understanding and Engagement with Computer Science

Conference: ICER

There are many identified similarities between quilting and Computer Science (CS), including the usage of repetitive patterns and geometric collages. This metaphor has been used in teaching CS in K12 classrooms, creating playable experiences that bridge quilting and computing, and developing software for e-textiles activities. Traditional textile crafts show promise in bridging an interest gap between crafts and CS education; a gap between what is often seen as a traditionally feminine field and a traditionally masculine one. Given the urgent need for greater public understanding of computer science in a society increasingly dependent upon computational technologies, and the strength of this metaphor between CS and quilting in K12 education, we are exploring how this metaphor extends to people who are already skilled craftspeople. We are interested in understanding how quilters’ previous education and interests in quilting and computer science compare, and in how quilters’ perceptions of the relationships between these two disparate areas affect their interest and motivations to learn more about computer science. We conducted a survey with ~600 quilters and led a follow-on small focus group to study their perceptions and experiences related to both fields. Based our findings from the survey and focus group, we have designed generative quilt design software and accompanying workshops that aim to broaden understanding of fundamental CS concepts and principles among quilters: 1) computer programming can be used for creative expression; 2) computer science and quilting share a social, collaborative context; 3) programmers must build algorithms that may behave differently than human users expect; 4) algorithms operate on data that is made by humans. We plan to conduct our first workshops remotely (via Zoom) this summer.

Code Crafters STEM 4 All 2022

Conference: STEM for All 2022