Watch These Meditative Embroidered Zoetropes

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Watch These Meditative Embroidered Zoetropes
Gifs and installation picture below from Dylan Kovacevic. All other images from Elliot Schultz.

Elliot Schultz recently graduated from ANU School of Art with a Bachelor of Digital Art. For his final project, he created these amazing embroidered zoetropes:

This project encourages viewers to watch and engage with animation physically.

Six discs were created with animated sequences embroidered onto their surface. They have been designed to be played on standard turntables and their shape and size is inherited from 10″ vinyl records.

The animation is activated when a strobe light illuminates the discs in sync with the embroidered frames of animation.

“Visitors to the installation were encouraged to interact with the turntables and discs. A set of additional discs were on display and could be unpackaged and played.”

For those who are not familiar, a zoetrope is a device that gives the illusion of motion using a series of images. When a zoetrope is spun it looks like the images are moving in a specific way. The illusion of movement is created by either directing the viewer to look at a rotating disc of images through slits in the side of a drum or by strobing a light. Schultz used the later.

Schultz documented his progress on his blog. He started by designing his embroidered zoetrope images and used an embroidery machine to create the discs.

embroidered zoetrope test design
His first animation, water droplets, being created on the embroidery machine.

Once he had the embroidered discs, he needed a way to spin them. He decided to use old record players. After he cleaned them up, he needed a way to add the strobe light. Schultz decided to use LEDs and then experimented with different colors. He found the cool, white LEDs to work the best for showing off the colors in the images. Then he added an Arduino to his setup to control the strobe light.


He went on to design and create many more embroidered animations. All of them can be seen in the video below, but he didn’t stop there. Besides creating the embroidered zoetrope discs and setting up the record player with the strobe light, Shultz has continued to add to this project. One of his earlier additions was creating fancy sleeves for his embroidered animation discs to be stored in.


Next, Schultz wanted a way for everyone to be able to enjoy his creation even if they didn’t have access to one of his embroidered discs or a record player. His solution was to create an app that allows you to spin the discs and see the animation come to life on an iPad. (I haven’t been able to find any updates since he posted about this in early 2014, but I hope he plans to release the app someday.)

Another area he has experimented with is iron-on backgrounds. This can allow for an even wider range of detailed designs and scenes. Lastly, he has also created zoetrope designs entirely using code.

code design first
First design created entirely using code.
code design
For the second design created using code, Schultz experimented with adding more colors.
embroidered zoetrope background
Design embroidered on an ironed-on background.

Now, check out all of his designs and see which you like the best.

[via Laughing Squid]

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Nicole is a former Editorial Intern at Make: She is a long time maker and previously worked for (Penolopy Bulnick). Every day she is inspired by something new and wishes there was more hours in the day to make!

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