Leslie Birch

Installation/Sculpture & 3D
Other: New Media

Contact Information

e-mail: Leslie Birch
Twitter: @zengirl2
Please contact artist for purchases, commissions, etc.

Artist Statement

We are past proving whether we are connected; the real issue is how can we feel connected?

As an artist I seek to draw attention to moments because we are forgetting to notice them. Many of my projects involve tech because using microcontrollers and sensors creates an immediate awareness, especially in the case of wearables. In fact, I think our bodies are becoming more and more out of touch to the point we are losing our physical awareness. It is ironic that using electrical gadgets helps us to reconnect.

I also seek to draw attention to environmental issues because we are scared to face them. Most of the dangers faced by living beings is the destruction of natural resources and the reduction of biodiversity. Tech is helpful in measuring these changes, but often natural materials need to be used for outdoor installations in order to preserve living things. This split of materials actually represents my own struggle with the natural and technical world we live in. So, in creating my work, I am learning about balance, and the complicated truths of an issue.

Artist Bio

Leslie Birch has had many careers, from doing educational work at a zoo, writing and performing theatre, and even producing public television. However, her life was forever changed when she attended WIRED magazine’s NEXTFest in 2006. She was entranced by waltzing robots, mapped projections and electronic art. She started to experiment with soft circuits, and eventually had a workshop, Crafting Electricity, with Leah Buechley, the inventor of the Lilypad Arduino microcontroller. She was smitten, and her love of electronics continues. She recently completed a Northern Lights Cowl and is collaborating with a scientist for an interactive art piece on climate change.


Arcadia University, Glenside, PA
BA, Communications/Theater

Selected Exhibitions

MAKr: High Design & Fashion Meet Technology, Crux Space, Philadelphia, PA

Landlab: StormSnakes, The Schuylkill Center, Philadelphia, PA

Fashion Hack, Creative Tech Works, Temple School of Engineering, Philadelphia, PA

Social Media Week: The Future of Now, Tech in Motion, New York, NY

MAKE London Wearable Tech and Made Clothing, Museum London, Ontario, Canada

Public Art Projects

Threads of Mill Creek, Mill Creek Farm, Philadelphia, PA
CUSP (Climate & Urban Systems Partnership)

Storm Spots, The Schuylkill Center, Philadelphia, PA
CUSP (Climate & Urban Systems Partnership)

Lectures and Talks

Presenter, Wearable Microcontrollers, IEEE Women in Engineering Summit East, Philadelphia, PA

Speaker, Wearable Technology, IT Pros Awards, Philadelphia Business Journal, PA

Speaker, Senti8 Wristband, NASA Data Boot Camp, New York, NY

Speaker, The Magic of Sensors, SOHA Smart, Haddon Township, NJ

Speaker, The Magic of Sensors, Wear It Festival Berlin, Germany

Professional Experience

Teacher, Creative Tech Works, Philadelphia, PA

2014 – Present
Maker/Blogger, Adafruit Industries, New York, NY

Judge, Wearables for Accessibility, EvoHaX SE Hackathon, Philadelphia, PA

2014 – 2015
Teacher, Makerjawn, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Professional Affiliations

Founding Class, NASA Datanauts, Washington, DC

Member, SciArt, New York, NY

Awards and Honors

1st Place, Senti8, NASA International Space Apps Challenge, New York

Nominee, Geek of the Year, Philadelphia Geek Awards, Philadelphia, PA

Winner, FLORAbrella, Adafruit/Element 14 International Get Closer Challenge, London, UK

3rd Place, Orbit Skirt, NASA International Space Apps Challenge, Philadelphia

Systers Pass-It-On Award, Anita Borg Institute, Palo Alto, CA


Partial List
Reyes, Juliana, “How Leslie Birch Built a Phone Charging Purse”, Technical.ly Philly, June 19, 2015

Art and Environment Married at Upper Roxborough Center”, Chestnut Hill Local, April 24, 2015

Reyes, Juliana, “Leslie Birch is One of NASA’s First Datanauts”, Technical.ly Philly, May 13, 2015

Bayley, Alyssa, “5 Insane Tech Fashion Pieces You Will Be Wearing Soon”, Cosmopolitan, March 11, 2014

Reese, Colleen, “Geek of the Week: Local Maker Leslie Birch”, Geekadelphia, June 11, 2014

Images copyright © Leslie Birch

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