September 26, 2021

Get crafty with optical illusions, electric embroidery at museum events

Get crafty with optical illusions, electric embroidery at museum events

TEXARKANA — Two upcoming Texarkana Museums System events offer a way to get crafty in creative and fun ways.

The Museum of Regional History hosts Discovery Place Interactive Museum staff from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday as they teach kids to make an optical illusion with just a battery, copper wire and magnets.

The Electric Motor Optical Illusion event is geared for children, teaching them about electricity. Advance registration is required. Admission is $5 or free for TMS members.

“Participants will make a simple, electric motor, and then that motor will be used to create an optical illusion using images that we will draw onto little cards,” said TMS Curator Jamie Simmons. “It’s kind of hard to describe, but it’s actually a two-part activity. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

It’s a STEAM activity, which blends science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

“It incorporates all of those elements into it,” Simmons said. “It’s something that will be easy for beginners to be able to complete, but it will get across some of the principles of making simple electric circuits and simple motors. And then combining that with visuals that kind of explain how certain elements of vision work, and why your brain can be tricked into thinking it’s seeing one thing when it’s actually looking at something else.”

There’s a lot packed into a small activity, Simmons said.

Later this month, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28 at the P.J. Ahern Home, the TMS presents Soft Circuits: A New Twist on Traditional Embroidery.

Tickets at $20 per person include all necessary supplies for this project, which is geared more toward adults and teenagers.

“It is a simple embroidery project. We’re going to use needle and thread to create a picture on a piece of fabric, but the thread we’ll be using is actually conductive thread. Part of the embroidery project will incorporate an LED light,” Simmons said, adding, “Soft circuits are a lot of fun.”

Think of it as wearable electronics that merge art and crafts with technology, she suggested. Projects that inspired the workshop include incorporating LED lights on a piece of clothing, the snaps used as switches to turn lights on and off, she explained.

“If you’re wearing a black blouse and then when you connect the snap, all of these lights come on all over the blouse so it looks like a night sky with the lights arranged in the shape of a constellation,” Simmons said. “So there’s lot of creative ways you can take this and run with it.”

The workshop combines embroidery with the circuitry basics. Seating is limited so advance ticket purchase is required.

(Register for events at More info: 903-793-4831. The Museum of Regional History is located at 219 N. State Line Ave. and the P.J. Ahern Home is located at 403 Laurel St.)

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