It’s been a very busy time. At college we are on the last six weeks till the Degree Show and finishing touches are now being put in place. At home I am at maximum capacity with the amount of trays that are growing Kombucha. The smell in this warm weather is very acidic and it hits you you when you first open the door into the studio. So my daily rouine is to check and tend to the growing fabric. .. a bit like when I was sheep farming and checking my flock on a daily basis. Very theraputic I find.
I have been doing several experiments with printing and colour and having found that the cellulose fabric takes the dye very fast. The rusty nails worked very well and have a very DNA look about them now that they are dry. Washers have produced very dark spots onto the cellulose.
Vegetable leather printed with rusty nails and washers
I have had fun photographing the pieces up close and they have produced some very ‘landscape’ like results. You would never think these had come from cellulose fibres.
I have several challenges ahead over the coming weeks. One of them is to waterproof the growing fabric. It is not stable and can reabsorb moisture! Last year frankincense and myrhh resin worked well but today I am making soy milk to try. I have also heard that persimmon (or commonly called Khaki fruit) is a Japanese method of tanning. Need to see if I can obtain some.
I have been asked several times in the past few days as to why am I growing such a vegetable leather. So it’s got me thinking..well why not. But that’s not really a very good answer. My vegetable leather is made from bacterial cellulose and could have enormous potential in the future of fabric development. It is organic, biodegradeable and regenerating which in these current times of looking for alternatives could be a real possibility. It could even have potential uses in the medical industry.
I have also been looking at mark making and printing onto my growing fabric with rusty nails. I’m very pleased with the outcome. The kombucha takes the colour almost instantly.
Nails sandwiched between two layers of kombucha
The vegetable leather takes the rust very quickly
We have now taken delivery of the leaflets and posters for our Degree Show in Stitched Tetxiles, in July
So it’s actually happening in only 9 weeks! Our Degree Show in Stitched Textiles is officially being shown at Eastleigh College, nr Winchester. Until you see it actually in print it all seems a long way off!!
Our group, Fabricformation, is working hard on the final details of the preview evening whilst at the same time all working on their final pieces. We had a group crit this week and everyone’s work is looking so wonderful and varied. I seem to be the only one ‘growing fabric’. I wonder why?!!