Smart Textiles Design Lab Blog at The Swedish School of Textiles

Russia: A nation of miracle believers

I strive to create a new approach for developing smart textiles. My main idea is to use the investigation of national identity as a base for developing smart textiles. Considering traditional textiles as a source of information about the socio-historical context wherein they were produced, I try to reproduce this information in smart textiles.  I construct national ideal types and capture them in textiles.

The project “Russia: A nation of miracle believers” is an example of developed approach.

The object is a sham miracle. It is a winding-sheet (an epitaphios) that is often encountered in Christian Orthodox Church. The constructed miracle points the instrumental use of religion in modern Russia. It shows the banality of magic.

The special feature of my “miraculous” piece is to produce sound interactions with a viewer. My piece contains embedded light dependent resistors (LDR) that sense light intensity and reproduces a sound system.  When a viewer comes close to the epitaphios, the light falling on the LDR gets less intense due to the viewer’s shade and the epitaphios starts to produce sound. The possibility to produce sound is one of the most spectacular possibilities of smart textiles and the best way to express the idea of the miraculous.

My project is mainly based on the traditional flat metal stitching technique. In order to make flat metal stitching, the thread should be placed on the front side of the fabric in adjacent vertical rows and fixed with yarn cross-stitches. Each of the geometrical varieties has its own name – “feather”, “cutting”, “building”, “berry”, etc.

This technique is perfect for working with conductive treads. Mostly, the treads are fragile or stiff and the best way to attach them to the fabric is to fix them with supporting thread.

Also for the final object I made a conductive chenille cord the best example of combination traditional methods with new materials.

In order to watch the video, please check it out on


Photo 1,2 The epitaphios (Photographer: Tatiana Krupinina, Jan Berg)

Photo 3 Flat metal stitching (Photographer: Tatiana Krupinina)

Photo 4 The conductive cord (Photographer: Tatiana Krupinina)




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