Sailan Ding is a textile artist who focuses on the use of interactive technologies in combination with textiles, finding a balance between the old and the new. Her process begins with research, often on how fibre optics can be combined with knitting and three-dimensional structures, pushing the material boundaries of textiles to integrate non-textile materials with textile materials, and retaining aesthetics with textile materials. She also investigates more intimate modes of contact between the fabric and the human body, transforming the fabric into a new medium through which humans can interact with nature.
The fabric glows at night, and the combination of Arduino and fibre optics allows people to interact with the light
Using fibre optics as the primary medium, my work investigates how fibre optics and textiles can be combined and push the boundaries of textiles as flat surfaces, suggesting that the material itself need not be a single layer that exists uniformly on the surface of the object, using fibre optic loops and incorporating knitted structures to shape the surface of the fabric and the fabric itself to give it a three-dimensional effect. Combining traditional textile techniques with hard materials or readymade objects is often a challenge, but I find it to be an effective means of imbuing my work with meaning by evoking unanticipated associations and tying them to broader issues. My themes range from life, seeds, light, to playgrounds which appear as significant elements in my work. I use acts in my artwork to express how life is shaped; for example, seeds spread by rivers, breezes, catapults, and in the flowering period by touching and transforming from aquatic to terrestrial, which all tell the story of how plants transmit life and shape it. I also believe that one's life begins as a soft, formless piece of fabric and that everything you encounter moves through it like a coil, with different directions, colours, and sizes of circles shaping you as a unique being.