Sierra Portable Light Project

Exhibition: Design for the other 90 | January 5, 2012 by

Portable Light pieces are created by women weavers in the San Andreas region of the Sierra Madre, Mexico, who are weaving the portable light technology into textiles using traditional back-strap looms and sewing techniques. Portable Light combines high-brightness LEDs from pedestrian walk signals, water-resistant tactile switches from dishwashers, and rechargeable batteries from the cell-phone industry, all sourced from consumer appliances and standard technologies. A portable, personalized system, the units can be carried with their owners to provide access to light and power when needed. The Huichol shape the light to their particular needs, using the textile surfaces to provide direct, reflected, or diffuse lighting, as needed for cottage-based industries such as community tortillerías, sandal making, repair work, weaving, and beading.

  • United States, 2006
  • Woven aluminum textile, recyclable PET, flexible photovoltaics, semiconductors, flexible wireways
  • DIMENSIONS: 28” h x 14” w x 1” d (unfolded), 12” h x 14” w x 1” d (folded)

Traditional integrated Portable Light textiles

  • DESIGNER/MANUFACTURER: Estella Hernandez, Huichol weaver, and family
  • United States and Mexico, 2006
  • Acrylic yarn or natural wool, flexible semiconductor technologies
  • DIMENSIONS: 8” h x 6” w x .5” d
  • IN USE IN: Mexico and Australia (pilot programs)


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