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Crafting Interactive Decoration

Benford, Steve; Koleva, Boriana; Quinn, Anthony; Thorn, Emily-Clare; Glover, Kevin; Preston, William; Hazzard, Adrian; Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan; Greenhalgh, Chris; Mortier, Richard


Dunford Chair in Computer Science

Anthony Quinn

William Preston

Richard Mortier


We explore the crafting of interactive decoration for everyday artefacts. This involves adorning them with decorative patterns that enhance their beauty while triggering digital interactions when scanned with cameras. These are realised using an existing augmented reality technique that embeds computer readable codes into the topological structures of hand-drawn patterns. We describe a research through design process that engaged artisans to craft a portfolio of interactive artefacts including ceramic bowls, embroidered gift cards, fabric souvenirs and an acoustic guitar. We annotate this portfolio with reflections on the crafting process, revealing how artisans addressed pattern, materials, form and function and digital mappings throughout their craft process. Further reflection on our portfolio reveals how they bridged between human and system perceptions of visual patterns and engaged in a deep embedding of digital interactions into physical materials. Our findings demonstrate the potential for interactive decoration, distil craft knowledge involved in creating aesthetic and functional decoration, highlight the need for transparent computer vision technologies, and raise wider issues for HCI's growing engagement with craft.


Benford, S., Koleva, B., Quinn, A., Thorn, E., Glover, K., Preston, W., …Mortier, R. (2017). Crafting Interactive Decoration. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 24(4), 1-39.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 6, 2017
Publication Date Aug 11, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2017
Publicly Available Date Aug 11, 2017
Journal ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI)
Print ISSN 1073-0516
Electronic ISSN 1557-7325
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 4
Article Number 26
Pages 1-39
Keywords Craft, hybrid-craft, tangible, embedded, material, maker, DIY, fabric, wood, lifespan, sustainability, obsolescence, augmented reality, tangible and embedded interfaces, computer vision, seamful design, ambiguity
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information © ACM, 2017. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 24, 4, Article 26 (2017),


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