Harvesting Textile

harvesting textiles group e-textile summercamp

Our brief:
Artists and designers have been proposing the ideas to grow textiles as the ways to think about environmental, sustainable, ethical issues surrounding the textile production. In this focus group, I propose to think about these issues including how eTextile and smart textiles plays a role toward sustainable living.

keywords: sustainability, harvesting, energy, farming, growing, textiles, biomaterials, Kombucha, Bioplastics, Paper, natural dying, Biodesign

Participants: Pauline Vierne, Giulia Tomasello, Melissa Coleman, Svenja Keune, Ricardo O`Nascimento, Celine Marcq, Tincuta Heinzel, Emilie Giles

Our process:
Over the period of 4 days we developed samples of new materials combining textile techniques, technology and nature. We grew crystals, cooked bioplastics with maizena and/or agar with food colouring. We crushed eggshells and mixed them with glow in the dark pigments. We made bioplastics from banana peels. We made aquafaba meringues with LEDs. We made paper with beetroot peels and grass. We made weavings from seeds and knitted fabric and did crochet with bamboo and wool. We wove seaweed and grass into fabrics. We made all kinds of kombuchas with electronics and dyes. Kombucha was woven, knitted, printed and embroidered. We screenprinted fabrics with onions, banana and carrots. We made soft robotics with nitinol and we foraged big fungi.

Some recipes we used:

Growing crystals



Bioplastic from banana peels


FullSizeRender 3Brainstorming about natural materials

FullSizeRender 2Brainstorming about biological cultures and processes

Tincutas energy producing grass 

fungus 2
Chicken of the woods

The venue for our exhibition and performance

Brainstorming after the first harvest in the kitchen and surrounding

Kombucha Scoby with a structured surface

Knitting with Monofil and Kombucha by Pauline Vierne 

Prototyping a facial mask with wet Kombucha Scoby by Ricardo O`Nascimento

promo picture
Dried Kombucha Scoby with integrated LED on Ricardo O`Nascimento

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Celine Marcq screenprinting with beetroot juice

First round crystal growth by Melissa Coleman 
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Second round crystal growth and amazing results on different media 

Melissa Coleman with a wonderful crystal grown on an LED

The Workspace in the old paper mill in Paillard filled with materials, smells, busy people and sunshine

Collection of materials found in the surrounding nature: reed, bamboo, stones …

Collection of materials found in the kitchen bin: carrot skins, onion skins, banana peel, …

Celine Marcq busy in the kitchen, using the microwave for experiments with bioplastics

20160728_001957  Bioplastics dyed with foodcolor

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Material experiment with an LED

Modular structure/sculpture from bamboo, interlocked by tubular knits – Svenja Keune     

The performance:
The research was put together into a performance called La Mère, after the kombucha mother. The mother, a future nature goddess sat in the centre of our space. The audience was brought to her but told to be silent so as not to disrupt the space time continuum. The audience were first greeted by 3 people holding empty stone plates. As they passed them they saw two women holding hands. When they got close the women parted and the door was opened. There in the center of the room sat the mother, one hand black, holding the light crystal, dressed in seaweed weavings and necklaces from seeds and knitted fabric, on her skin chest a light tattoo was blinking. On her face a kombucha mask. Drone music in the background. The audience investigated the space, then after a while one of the women touched her shoulder and the mother woke up, telling us a poem about the mysteries of crystals. Then the people were led back out of the space and 3 people held slates with the poem written on it:

We think we have discovered a cave of pure treasures. We come back to the light of day but the crystals are false. Mere pieces of glass, yet the belief shines on – Maeterlinck

— more pictures and videos will be uploaded soon —




8 Responses to Harvesting Textile

  1. Svenja says:

    :) I wanna focus on growing and harvesting textiles as I am working on that within my PhD. Very looking forward going crazy on bacterial cellulose with you. See you soon in Paillard!

  2. Melissa says:

    I’m interested in ways of involving nature and sustainable practices in my work. I’ve been playing around with kombucha in the last few months after I was donated a mother and think this could be a fun project.

  3. Giulia says:

    Since two years i am working on the field of biotechnology, experimenting and growing living organisms.
    I am also interested in the idea of making conductive living organisms – especially kombucha! and I am looking forward to experiment at the summer camp and fine new insights for my work.

  4. Wei says:

    I have seen your work and it is fantastic! a part of my projects is about laser computational drawings, audiovisuals, last year I started to study using laser to make photosensitive process for fabric dyeing, conductive ink layout… I am now looking for more organic materials that react to UV source, I will have my laser printer with me this time too, perhaps to test sth with it!

  5. Emilie says:

    I’ve been thinking about the issue of sustainability for a while, as of course waste is a massive problem with textiles, e-textiles and electronics! It is not an area I have experimented in yet but would like to use the summer camp as a chance to do so. I’ve recently moved closer to the countryside and so would be interested in using natural materials within my own practice more and exploring more sustainable ways of making.

  6. Celine says:

    Using more and more embedded electronics or chemically sourced Inks and products in my work, I recently ask myself how I can make my practice more sustainable or biodegradable. As you Emilie, I haven’t really experimented yet with this kind of things but much looking forward to be in the group and see what we can bring to each other. I would like to reflect on my printing practice and how we can find a more sustainable way of making things……(printing, dying, etc….)

  7. Pauline says:

    From the time I was living in Paris, gardening and cultivating tomatoes on the roof, to nowadays farming pieces of Kombucha in boxes, I develop an interest in growing living materials.

    I am very interested in the awareness this practice raises regarding living organisms and beings as well as material and energy consumption.
    Can living organisms be part of a softopia in material research ?

    On a practical side I am fascinated by the process of preparation. Taking into consideration the conditions of growth, its environment and asking oneself how to influence the whole process until the result.
    What do these organisms need to grow best ? Would another nutrient bring something beneficial ?

    Through diverse recipes I obtain unequal results which let the process become overtime even more interesting. Sadly some of the pieces were at different degrees molded, but surprisingly enough it´s possible to counter the phenomena or to enhance some « healthier » parts of it.

    I still didn´t proceed to any « textile manipulation » with the Kombucha I grew, too much interested for now in its own characteristics (and some fear to harm those I would do something to, I even give them names…)

    I am very much looking forward to spending dedicated time with this topic and going further with manipulation and any other aspects we can experiment together !

  8. Tincuta says:

    Having grown up in Eastern European country side, playing a lot as a teenager with natural dying techniques and different forms of spinning animal and vegetal threads, I am interested in bio-materials, as I am interested in the fictional and philosophical part of bio-technology.

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