Goodman, E. and Rosner, D. 2011. From Garments to Gardens: Negotiating Material Relationships Online and ‘By Hand.’ In Proc. CHI ’11: 2257-2266.

From home improvement to scrapbooking, leisure activities performed “by hand” increasingly involve digital tools. In turn, software and devices to support handwork are proliferating. We use data from an observational field study of gardening and knitting to examine relationships to information technology. Handwork experiences of patience, effort, sensation, and cleverness can shift with the introduction of new tools. Our participants’ attachment to these experiences made them sensitive to the potential consequences of introducing new tools. Digital tools were sometimes rejected and other times woven into handwork activities. In response, we propose three metaphors for handwork practice – extending, interjecting, and segmenting – as a resource for moving beyond the binary opposition of digital and physical practices.

Acceptance rate: 22%.

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