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9. Textile as Scaffold


This week we explored the concept of Textile as Scaffold; so what is Scaffold? "a temporary or movable platform for workers (such as bricklayers, painters, or miners) to stand or sit on when working at a height above the floor or ground : a platform at a height above ground or floor level." The concept seemed a bit confusing but Anastasia´s lecture was quite eye opening to the possibilities concerning this range of techniques:

    * Biocomposite
    * Leather Moulding
    * Fabric Formwork
    * Crystallisation
    * Wood & Textile
    * Digital & Biological Fabrication
    * CNC Milling
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Crystallization Process

My process will be all about these crystals using the exact same recipe from the Petra Garajovas lecture.

Copper Sulphate or Copper

Let´s begin with "copper", so what exactly is Copper Sulphate?.

  • Just dissolve copper, move the solution for about twenty minutes and let cool a little bit before inserting elements, not so much though, as copper crystallizes quite quick.

Copper Process
  • I was so mesmerized by the alginate/copper reaction that I decided to take a couple of alginate filaments and make a random knot to simulate more of a rock. Below you can see both of my Alginate/Copper experimentations which were achieved in less than 24 hours.

Aluminium Sulphate or Alum

After three days, this sample grew four seed in the "sandwich" tecnique on random places, meaning that the allum crystal grew in the front and back of the silk section of the sample as shown above:


Sodium tetraborate decahydrate or Borax

My first step was to weave a couple of samples to see how the crystals would react to different warps and materials. I then prepped the recipient where they would be submerged and finally dissolve the recipe and substitute part water for some "logwood dye" leftover from Biochromes week.

Before and after three days:

...continuing the exploration


"Blending traditional craftmanship with digital design".



I used the same distorted grid from my Computational Couture assignment and basically removed the lines in the outside, applied an offset and placed the grid on top of a hexagonal shape with the real dimensions of the plywood where it would be milled. I expanded the grid on top of the hexagon to make it fit as aesthetically pleasing as possible and applied a trim to all the lines that where hanging outside of the hexagon, deleted them. The mould is made by drilling inside the "pockets" of the grids to a depth of 40 mm or 4 cms down as you will see below:


CNC stands for Computerized Numerical Control. It is a computerized manufacturing process in which pre-programmed software and code controls the movement of production equipment. CNC machining makes it possible for three-dimensional cutting to be completed by following one set of prompts.


    * Place the material
    * Turn on vacum system
    * Calibrate Z axis
    * Choose Origin PointXY= 0
    * Load your file
    * Turn on the extractor
    * Press Start button



So basically, the mould is gonna look like this:

Sanding the frame for correction

Because the plywood chipped a bit I decided to sand those parts and even them out in a designed way, also I must mention that plywood tends to chip and break if the design has too thin lines or complexities that don´t go well with such a fragile material.


After sanding, we drilled holes to get the mould ready for the vacum process.


Vacuum Moulding & Process

Finally, after soaking the leather for two hours in cold water and 5 minutes in warm to hot water, I removed the excess water and applied carpinters glue on the back so it would harden and leave the marks from the mould when it dried. Please varnish before doing this or the leather will stick!!


With a little help of my colleagues, we helped the vacum by introducing our fingers in the pockets to sort of sculp the leather into being sucked in the right shape. This piece of leather was too small for the mould but you get the idea!



As you can see, there is an entrance for the hose of the vacuum (tube), it creates suction from the internal part of the chamber, pulling down the object that is placed in the middle, this is what creates the vacuum effect. The holes in the top are placed at an inch of a distance to create an homogenous suction. If the object were bigger, the plastic would be retrieved a bit more to allow the sucking surface to grow, resulting in more suction.



Unsuccesful leather moulding but I found it beautiful, regardless.


After three weeks of growth, I removed my kombucha, cleansed it with water and cut it in half to dry it in the same mould I used for the leather sample. This experimentation is a work in progress as it must be left to dry.

Because I was only using half of my kombucha material, I cut it in half, saved it in a plastic wrap and freezed it for a week, when my first sample was dry I removed the other half from the freezer and left it to defrost naturally overnight. Below you can see images of this process:

I did not use finishing products on the kombucha, this is the natural look of the kombucha.


I´ve been quite skeptical about the actual application of these natural type of resources in terms of replacing already instilled toxic materials in our consumer cycles. This article rapidly changed my mind and gave me a slight optimism.


Mycelium DEZEEN article

Essentially, this is the kit we used to experiment in our lab: site, I decided to go for something small and practical just to see the results quickly, also be able to use the pot to grow something and see how it behaves over time.

Instructions & Preparation

    * Flour and ethanol
    * Gloves (_optional_)
    * Growing form and (_foil_) cover
    * Cutting tools (scissors)&something sharp (_to pinch holes_)
    * Clean working surface, tools, growing forms, hands & exterior of bag w/ethanol
    * Open bag (_cutting tool and bag should be cleaned with ethanol_)
    * Add **30g** of flour for each KG of GIY material.
    * Mix everything properly
    * Fill growth form
    * Cover with lid/foil (_pinch tiny holes every **3cm**_)
    * Grow till fully white (_approx., **3-5 days** at **21-24°C**)
    * Remove from growth form
    * Optional to create soft skin: (_grow in closed environment for **2days**_)
    * Bake off at **70°C** for **2-3 hours**


  1. Mix the medium with the flour and use your hands to break it down into small pieces.


  1. Find a soft plastic mould of preference and add the medium. I found a piece laying around that served my idea perfectly to keep the medium from growing without form. So the black piece you see in the middle serves the purpose of keeping the mycelium in place and growing in that particular shape. This is the final result:


Last update: 2023-05-10