Biolluminate is a collection of biotextile pieces that explore a range of textures through the combination of natural materials which illuminate when put to light. The 100% biodegradable hybrid materials have been selected in response to the global issue of excess waste. The build up of textile waste specifically and the need to prevent it from entering landfill. This has resulted in a collective focus on the biodegradability of textiles. Underpinning Biolluminate’s material choice and direction is the question, “what if we could only use materials that naturally degrade, leaving no residual toxins?”.
As a materials-led project, Biolluminate recognizes the importance of discovery through making. Handcraft processes are the foundation of each design and guide the direction of exploration. The hand technique of felting as well as the technological process of laser cutting are used to construct the base materials. Agar bioplastic, used as both a base and a fill, is created through a simple cooking process. It is then spread manually to embed it into the materials and to form the desired shapes. Kombucha S.C.O.B.Y as a waste product from food production, is collected and dehydrated. Once dried it is manipulated by hand into dimensional forms.
Natural dyestuff is used along with Soil Association Approved print paste for screen printed colouration on natural linen, wool and agar bioplastic. Shape and form have been inspired by original photography which examines the interaction of nature in an urban setting. While focusing on the recurring elements of circular shapes, grid structures and silhouettes.
The final collection of outcomes are current working samples, with future work endeavouring to further develop the materials and ideate potential application forms.
A material exploration...
Biolluminate draws thematic inspiration from observing how natural and urban settings intersect and interact whilst roaming the inner north suburbs of Melbourne.
The theme aligns itself with the Ted’s 10 strategy of ‘Design that takes models from Nature and History’. Design elements of shape and line are drawn from original photography, and explored with a focus on silhouette, structured lattice and circular repeat.
An open, warm palette was selected for Biolluminate, representing the Autumnal timeframe of the project and reference images.
Material colouration was achieved while working within the limitations and characteristics of the nontoxic dyestuff used, which was subject to changing between batches. This made the colour as much of an exploration as the materials themselves.
"Everything you make returns to the Earth as either food or poison"
- Slow Factory
Materials and Techniques
Agar Bioplastic Making
Wool Roving (natural, coloured)
Wool Yarn (scrap)
Agar agar powder
Natural colour (madder, weld)
Measuring cups / Scale
Plastic folder sheets
Undried agar bioplastic
Permaset Aqua: Pigment & Paste
Substrate (agar, linen, etc)
Print Room Facilities
Silk screen (photo emulsion)