GROWING PATTERNS – DYEING WITH BACTERIA

Chemical-free, water- and resource-saving: dyeing processes with bacteria offer a number of advantages in terms of sustainability. Currently there are various projects underway looking into making this innovative method also applicable on an industrial scale.

A case in point is “Growing Patterns“: The students Iris Bekkers, Noa Fischer, Katelijn van Kooten and Kamilė Vaitkutė aim to make advances in dyeing with organisms and to make the process more easily adaptable for designers and industry. After all, so far it has only been possible to control bacteria to a limited extent for creating patterns, for example.

A case in point is “Growing Patterns“: The students Iris Bekkers, Noa Fischer, Katelijn van Kooten and Kamilė Vaitkutė aim to make advances in dyeing with organisms and to make the process more easily adaptable for designers and industry. After all, so far it has only been possible to control bacteria to a limited extent for creating patterns, for example.

To this end the team conducts multi-disciplinary experiments. They translate batik techniques into state of-the-art technologies and print an anti-microbial filament in 3D as a pattern on fabrics. During the dyeing process in a petri dish the bacteria therefore do not affect the filament-printed areas. Subsequently the filament is removed from the fabric thereby revealing the non-dyed areas.

In other tests the designers use screen-printing techniques or create patterns with the help of heat conductive wires; a smart idea because the temperature around the wire is too high for the bacteria so no pigments stick to these areas.

The tests also serve as a trial for processing larger amounts of fabric in future. With Growing Patterns the designers wish to lay the foundation for research into these alternative dyeing methods that might replace the widespread use of toxic dyestuffs in industry.