Accessories for a future human
For my project I am investigating how Jewellery is an extension of ourselves and how this can be taken to the extreme. What if jewellery became vital to our survival, a part of our bodies, a mutation or growth or evolution, a means of protection, an extension of the skin.
I am interested in how I can utilise Biology within my material development, leading me into research into Bio-Art and Bio-Jewellery. I have been growing Microbial Cellulose produced by bacteria feeding on green tea, yeast, sugar and vinegar which ferments into a layer which I harvest after about a week, dry out and use as a material.
I aim to grow a collection of wearable, living, bio-degrading specimens which are produced via a natural, sustainable process and are safe to wear upon the skin.
I am investigating how our skin might need protection to cope with changing environmental conditions, working within a future-world scenario in which we have over-consumed our resources and must develop new sustainable materials to design with, addressing issues of sustainability in a world of finite resources.
My collection aims to be a range of accessories for the Future Human, each piece serving a unique purpose and giving the viewer a glimpse into what life might be like for a future society. I want the pieces to be obviously hand crafted and somewhat primal, like artefacts from another time, using the minimal amount of material possible and avoiding any decorative elements.
I think that provoking a reaction within the audience is very important for my work, so I need to carefully consider how I will present it in the show. I hope my pieces will provoke a strong sense of intrigue. I think it might be important that I present my process of growing the material alongside my collection in the show to enhance curiosity.
Now I have made my first step into Bio-design and ‘DIY Biology’ I hope to continue my research into sustainable materials and growing fabrics, potentially collaborating with a biologist to further push the possibilities of using bacterial cellulose as a design material. The next step will be to see if its possible to stop the cellulose from retaining water which will make it a much more functional material. I am also interested at looking into how I can ‘programme’ the fabric to grow in different designs and shapes by experimenting with synthetic biology, the ultimate goal would be to be able to grow a collection of fully functional garments or jewellery from start to finish in a fermentation tank. I would like to continue learning biology in more depth and become more involved in the growing movement of people merging the boundaries between Art, Science and Design. I think it is important for designers to raise ideas about the future of design in order to make these ideas accessible to a wide audience which isn’t always possible with Science. I hope that my project will encourage thought and begin to provoke discussions about our changing climate and the potential of sustainable design.