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A First time for Everything

This week we have our participant Olive Pearson reflecting on her first go at the spectrogram making process.


This is my first time recording sounds as a source of design inspiration - and my first blog post!

Newtonmore in March 2018

After the unusually massive snow dump from the Beast from the East - I was delighted it snowed again in perfect time for our first workshop in Newtonmore. I’m sure the weather helped us all to gel in the picturesque surroundings of the village. It was a pleasure to be out and about with such an interesting mix of people and in such a tranquil landscape. The blanket of fresh snow added another dimension to the sounds we were recording, helping to highlight many of the sounds that would normally pass me by. I especially loved the sounds of footsteps crunching though the new, crisp, powdery snow.

A spectrogram of the footsteps in snow

While I thought I had recorded a good variety of sounds, the resulting spectrograms were all disappointingly similar, leading me to release that not only was this sound analysis malarkey going to be a steep learning curve but that I needed to capture different kinds of sounds with greater variations in the different frequencies - or explore the wave patterns in the original files before they were converted to spectrograms.

A knitting sample of the footsteps

On returning to the studio, a mobility problem meant I couldn’t get out and about much, so my studio became my landscape and I turned to recording the various sounds of my knitting machine. The next stage would be to for me to explore these sounds and how well they would translate to my method of working with constructed textiles. As I can no longer hand knit, I will be focusing on creating repeat patterns for a punchcard, vintage, manual knitting machine.

In the meantime, the Aural Textiles logo is crying out to be knitted - so that’s my first task…

See more of Olive's work at:

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