Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red

Press Release

Front & center

April 20, 2020

Announcing Three Teams to Receive 2020 Materials-Based Research Grant

In celebration of ᏔᎷᏣ The Basket

This year’s recipients receive a total of $30,000

Photo courtesy of

"Soft Monitor," Victoria Manganiello and Julian Goldman

CONTACT: Alyssa Ruberto, Communications Coordinator
828-785-1357 |

ASHEVILLE, NC (April 20, 2020) –  The Center for Craft is thrilled to announce the 2020 Materials-Based Research Grant recipients. Initiated in 2016, the Materials-Based Research Grant encourages mutually-beneficial collaboration between craft and the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

 "The Center is proud to support the expanding definition of craft-based research through innovative material practice and collaboration," said Center for Craft Executive Director, Stephanie Moore. “This unique grant supports a tendency among contemporary craftspeople to explore how their material-specific knowledge, skill, and creativity can apply outside the field of fine art.”

Among 26 applications, three project teams will receive $10,000 each to pursue mutually beneficial innovation in craft and STEM research, including the adaptation of knitting as a user-friendly fabrication approach for crafting on-skin interfaces, invent environmentally responsive embellishment methods for textile, and invent a “soft” screen made entirely from soft, natural, and ancient materials.

We are proud to present the 2020 Center for Craft Materials-Based Research Grant awardees and their proposed projects:

Exploring Opportunities for Knitting and Morphing Second Skin

Awarded $10,000; Ithaca, NY 

Lead STEM Collaborator—Dr. Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, Assistant Professor & Director of the Hybrid Body Lab, Cornell University 

Lead Craft Collaborator—Melissa Conroy, Sr. Lecturer, Cornell University Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design 

“This project adapts knitting as a fabrication approach for crafting a range of on-body interfaces. Applications for these knitted wearable interfaces include self-shifting protective padding for when engaging in high impact activities or interactive braces for surgery rehabilitation. Bridging craft and technology, we create interfaces that are functional as well as aesthetically expressive.”

Soft Monitor

Awarded $10,000; Brooklyn, NY & Oakland, CA

Lead Craft Collaborator—Victoria Manganiello, Fiber Artist.

Lead STEM Collaborator— Julian Goldman, Product Design Engineer, Bolt Threads.

“Research shows extended time spent “attached” to screens is detrimental. Can we actually decrease screen-time or, can we change the screen? Technologist Julian Goldman and weaver Victoria Manganiello collaborate to invent a screen made entirely from soft, natural, ancient materials such as flax, water, and air in an effort to replace the blue light.”

Response Patterns 

Awarded $10,000; New York City, NY

Lead Craft Collaborator—Anette Millington, Assistant Professor of Fashion Systems and Materiality, Parsons School of Design.

Lead STEM Collaborator—Yuchen Zhang, CEO, and co-founder of Wearable Media, Part-time Lecturer at Parsons School of Design.

Collaborator—Travis Fitch, Principal of Fitchwork, and Part-time Lecturer at Parsons School of Design. 

“Response Patterns will invent environmentally responsive embellishment methods for textile. Processes will include silk screening with photochromic pigment, and the hybridization of materials with different mechanical properties through 3D printing and molding. We see this use of technology as a natural progression in textile craft - which has historically imbued place into both it’s materiality and imagination.”


The 2020 panelists are:

Dr. Laura Devendorf, Artist, Assistant Professor of Information Science with the ATLAS Institute, University of Colorado Boulder, Director of the Unstable Design Lab, recipient of a 2018 Materials-Based Research Grant (Boulder, CO).

Dr. Nandika D’Souza, Professor and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Joint appointment to Mechanical and Energy Engineering, University of North Texas (Denton, TX).

Christian Larsen, Windgate Research Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design (NY, NY).

Deb Mexicotte, Managing Director, ArtsEngine at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI).

Due to limitations brought on by COVID-19, the Center is allowing extensions for the 2020 Materials-Based Research Grant.

For more information on the Materials-Based Research Grant, current and past recipients, or other funding opportunities administered by the Center for Craft, visit or contact Lola Clairmont, Craft Research & Innovation Manager,

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ABOUT CENTER FOR CRAFT Founded in 1996, the Center for Craft (formerly The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design) is the leading organization in the United States identifying and convening craft makers, curators, and researchers, and matching them with resources, tools, and networks to advance their careers. Over the years, the Center has become a vital community resource, serving thousands of visitors annually. As a national 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the field of craft, the Center administers more than $300,000 in grants to those working in the craft field.