Magnets as Medium for Art

All of us can say that magnets have gripped our imagination at some point in our life. I  still get a kick out of taking two magnets and bringing them together with like poles facing each other, either North to North or South to South. Sure it’s great to feel two magnets attract each other but personally I enjoy the invisible force that repels two magnets as you bring them together. In recent years, experimenting with magnets has become even more dramatic with the easy availability of rare earth magnets. I buy my Neodymium Iron Boron magnets from Digikey. You can get some nice ones for as little as $0.32 each.  Earlier this year rare earth materials were in the news when China placed an export limit on the materials used to make rare earth magnets. There is no question that magnetics play an important role in almost every area of science and technology.  Artists have also embraced the use of magnets in their work.

Magnetic Wall 3 by Jenny Lear

This year we are very excited to have California based artist, Jenny Lear join us at Subtle Technologies. Jenny is a textile artist who has been integrating magnetics with fabric to create “Ferrofabric”. Her magnetic materials have been integrated into jewelery,  furniture, surface design and accessories. Jenny will talk about this work that ranges from ferrous velvet to magnetic tiles and the Scumbag, a handbag designed with layers of magnetic gunk. She will also talk about her work on hacking into magnetic stripes on credit cards and demonstrate a DIY technique of exposing the magnetic code. I’m really looking forward to seeing Jenny’s work and learning more about the potential of magnets in art making.

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