My final exhibition at CSM

My final exhibition at CSM

Featured on the Future Map website

Featured on the Future Map website

My work featured in Italian Vogue

My work featured in Italian Vogue

RACHELTRATTLES | NOT JUST A LABEL

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.

Eye Visors (Bacterial Cellulose, cotton, stainless steel)

Eye Visors (Bacterial Cellulose, cotton, stainless steel)

Glove (Bacterial Cellulose, cotton)

Glove (Bacterial Cellulose, cotton)

Ear Covers (Bacterial Cellulose, cotton, stainless steel)

Ear Covers (Bacterial Cellulose, cotton, stainless steel)