This project is an exploration in exploration. The user is encouraged to take a closer look at the piece, and discover an unexpected surprise. Using the brass as a capacitive touch sensor allows the user to switch on a motor that animates a hidden neopixel and a bunch of confetti.


Here is a link to the instructables that I created on how to make your own capacitive touch object!

All of the components including the arduino board and the motor are housed inside of the box to conceal the mechanisms. The power cord alludes to the fact that indeed something is going to happen.

Capacitive Touch Me


Secret Switches Progress

I’ve been working on my final project and it is starting to take shape!

The main component of my final is the secret switch that turns on a motor (fan) and blows confetti into a vessel.

Check out this video for a still-in-progress test of the circuit. capacitive touch

cool, huh?

photo 1

here’s a snapshot of my circuit in prototype mode, using an arduino UNO and breadboard.

After getting all of the components of the circuit to work, I drew an awesome color coded diagram to make sure that I could recreate it again tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that.


I would like for my final project to be on a Flora rather than an UNO to conserve space inside the housing of my piece.

Below I am switching over my pins from an UNO to a flora, good thing I had my handy diagram, it was getting a little hairy.

photo 1-1

I also referenced the adafruit pinout diagram that shows you how to convert from an UNO to a flora (see below)


The final piece will include an element of surprise. The neutral tones of the overall form will contrast the bright, colorful confetti that is activated by the secret switch. Below is an assortment of materials that I am playing around with. The confetti would be hidden until the big reveal.


Secret switches

For my final project, I want to expand upon some of the sculptural pieces that I have made in the past by introducing a kinetic element. Here’s an example of a piece that I completed before school, wouldn’t it be even cooler if it had secret moving components?!?!


By designing a piece that has kinetic functions,  I will have to consider the form as both visual and physical. I plan to use a combination of found objects and materials, as well as fabricated ones.

The sculpture will encompass one or more hidden switches that only reveal themselves once the user begins to participate with the object.

One idea that I had was a secret compartment that holds small balls, or confetti that releases the goodies into a vessel below once the circuit has been completed. I believe that I can achieve this using a solenoid which is an electromagnet that can be pushed and pulled in opposite directions, effectively opening and closing the trap door.

Here’s a piece of interactive design by designer Ben Light… check ‘n chew. The user has to check into a specific restaurant using Foursquare in order to get a gumball!

The creative label Laikingland has some amazing examples of kinetic sculpture. Take a look and get inspired!

I will also try to incorporate some movement that does not involve power or a micro-controller to invite the user to begin exploring the piece. Here’s an example of some kientic movement using wind. It’s a video I shot in Iceland of a mountain peak on the side of a building created by using thousands of paillettes. The video’s not great quality, but the music sort of makes up for it.

Also… just came across this awesome scale by fumiko schaub, this example is not so much about secret switches, but I love the interaction and exploratory element about it- the moving parts and supporting components. 

Ripe Banana


Using the selected word “Breakfast” from my original project (see image below), I set out to make a light-up banana that is off when closed and turns on when open.

By peeling back the outer layer, the inner banana is exposed and the light turns on.


to get the banana to glow when it is open I created a circuit using conductive thread and a zipper pull. When the zipper crosses over the path of the conductive thread it send a signal to ground which then turns on the neo-pixel strip.




This is the type of glow that I was going for, unfortunately, once the banana was stuffed and the neopixel strip was pushed to the top surface the individual pixels became more visible. I tried diffusing the light by turning down the brightness of the pixels as well as adding additional layers of fabric in between but neither seemed to do the trick.

I had a lot of difficulty figuring out the code to turn the strip on and off. Those neopixels are smart and then need to be told what to do in a very specific way. Thanks to Richard for all your help.

I would like to animate the strip to do more than just turn on and off, I tried used bits and pieces from the strandtest code to add to my code but I couldn’t quite figure out how to declare these new functions in the scope.


Stack of pancakes or banana?

Too late to change?

I thought of another idea for my plush nightlight that I think I’m a bit more excited about.

I am thinking of creating a plush banana that you can zip closed. Once the banana has been “peeled” and the zipper crosses over the conductive thread the light turns on and it glows from within.

Perhaps the brightness can be controlled by the number of sections that have been peeled, ie- one for dim and two for bright.



For my plush nightlight I’m thinking of creating a stack of pancakes with goodies on top.

The butter, blueberries and raspberries would sparkle with the appropriate colored light as you shake the plush toy.

I had originally tested this by limiting the strand to 3 pixels and then changing the colors of the strip. In practice I imagine that I would sew each colored pixel in at the the right spot.

The test that I photographed is only using one pixel because the strand had a really poor connection.

photo 1  raspberry

photo 2  blueberry

photo 3  butter

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 12.59.42 PM

photo 4


Here’s a link to the video I took after changing the code to alter the original “RGB” colors in the strandtest. Colors!

I had some confusion when it came to altering other parts of the code so I decided to pick 3 colors from the color picker in photoshop and replace the RGB.

Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 12.28.49 PM Hot Pink

Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 12.29.16 PM Purple

Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 12.29.37 PM Turquoise




Below is a screenshot of the code that has been adjusted to the color values above.

Elisa Colors


Breakfast Motel Art

When I pulled the words “Breakfast” and “Motel Art” I instantly thought of…                        cheesy still-lives, the same faded poster over and over, nostalgia, retro signs, bad carpet, horrendous wallpaper, postcards, pancakes, disposable art, kitsch

At first I thought of creating a gorgeous breakfast inspired bedspread, but this person beat me to it, shucks.

Pancake Quilt.4 -Rsm

Below you’ll find the “Breakfast Motel” spinning postcard display, complete with six custom breakfast themed designs that will capture your experience forever, and even let you share it with others. breakfastmotel

The spinning rack was designed to hold all six cards neatly, it was fabricated out of plywood, and painted a fleshy peach color.

2013-09-05 21.17.24   photo

I designed each postcard using different techniques including collaged clip-art, photoshop filters, and photographing a still-life setup. It was important that I include a variety of styles that you might find hanging in a motel, such as a watery landscape, and black and white photos. Each postcard is equipped with a questionable title that will make you think twice about sending it to someone you care about.

2006-01-06 21.02.33








Hi! It’s me Elisa Werbler

Hi there! I’m Elisa Werbler.


I’ve lived in New York for about four years since completing my undergraduate degree at RISD in Furniture Design.

My building skills and desire to experiment with materials led me to my position at Anthropologie where I designed and fabricated large scale (and small scale), displays for customers to marvel at, and often destroy.

I also make limited edition silkscreened prints and sculptural objects.

Here’s an example:


To see more examples of my work take a look at my website

and my online shop

I love snuggly animals, fresh fruit and bad puns.