A Glitch Is a Beautiful Thing: Phillip Stearns’ Computational Textiles

“It is my hope that the beautiful vulgarity of vibrant colors and blatant disregard for following the rules that characterizes much of glitch art can find its way into our everyday lives through textiles.”

In 2011, artist Phillip Stearns became fascinated with the idea of translating his glitch art — vivid, unexpected patterns created by intentionally short-circuiting digital cameras — onto tactile materials.

“It is my hope that the beautiful vulgarity of vibrant colors and blatant disregard for following the rules that characterizes much of glitch art can find its way into our everyday lives through textiles,” he wrote of his Kickstarter project for Glitch Textiles in 2012.

Stearns’ GlitchTextiles for Dior (2014), woven by Pure Country Weavers.

Stearns’ GlitchTextiles for Dior (2014), woven by Pure Country Weavers.

Stearns hoped to raise $8,500 to produce a collection of glitch-art fabrics, using computerized textile production equipment at the TextielLab in Tilburg, the Netherlands. With the support of 176 backers Stearns raised more than double his goal, and was able to create a striking series of techno-chic tapestries and woven blankets. Those vibrant patterns would reappear in the textiles he designed for Christian Dior’s 2015 Cruise Collection — a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” he credits to the success of the Kickstarter campaign.

Weaving the Fragmented Memory tapestries.

Weaving the Fragmented Memory tapestries.

Kickstarter also helped Stearns become “a lot more strategic about how I develop my ideas and projects,” he says. “The process helps you focus and work on clearly communicating your vision, why it matters to you and to those whose support you’re seeking. The [seeming] effortlessness of a project is oftentimes the result of countless hours of toil.”

Stearns’ Fragmented Memory tapestries on display.

Stearns’ Fragmented Memory tapestries on display.