Tag Archives: kombucha

Making with Microbes – Practical and Fashion accessories

Kombucha purse

Kombucha is a carbonated drink with reported digestive and other health benefits. It’s a culture of yeast and bacteria growing in sweet black tea which, apart from vinegary carbonated goodness, produces a floating skin composed of bacterial cellulose (called a pellicle). For a number of years The Edge has been optimising and experimenting with the uses of this naturally forming pellicle.  The Pellicle is washed, dried and treated to produce a tough, flexible sheet that can be a great sustainable, raw material for making fashion items and accessories.

The post-harvesting method requires no sophisticated apparatus, can be undertaken at room temperature on an open benchtop, and produces a biodegradable fabric at minimal cost.

Join us for one workshop or both!


Making with Microbes – Practical and Fashion accessories

In this workshop participants will have an opportunity to learn creative techniques and explore this low-cost, sustainable material by creating decorative and practical accessories.


Requirements and prerequisites:  

  • Participants must be over 16 years of age
  • Enclosed, flat footwear must be worn at all times 

To find out more about what’s on offer at The Edge, read about our Fabrication Lab and community makerspace.


Before you book, please read our Short Courses FAQ. You’ll find answers to age restrictions, what to bring, what to do if you’re running late, refunds and more. For more detailed information, please refer to our Booking Terms and Conditions.


This workshop is part of a series. View all our Making With Microbes workshops in the What’s On calendar. 

 


The Planting, Lock Making and Lessons Learned

You might have seen a few newsletter’s ago, we spent a Friday building the prototype of a DIY lock making/breaking workshop. Since then it’s evolved, improved and become something a little bit awesome thanks to Phil’s tireless (maybe slightly panicked) efforts in the couple of months since.


The Edge at The Planting Festival

The Edge Lock Making/Breaking workshops at The Planting Festival

 

But, what we didn’t say back then was the reason for this madness, and now is as good a time as any to explain ourselves.

They Edge was invited to Woodfordia to deliver workshops at The Planting Festival – the Woodford Folk Festival’s mid-year gathering. We took our lock kits and sheets of kombucha into the mud and sun, under a tent roof to deliver Edge style learning to a group of super enthused festival folk.

There, they built locks and fashioned kombucha accessories. Those locks were picked – we didn’t provide a key – and we learned that the kit wasn’t perfect; which is what delivering these kinds of projects are all about. It’s really easy to assume that something works after you’ve been staring at the thing day-in-day-out, living and breathing it. You fill in the gaps with logic and professional assumption, making intuitive jumps and fixing problems without realizing that there is a problem in the first place.

Then, you put your invention into the hands of community and watch as your best-laid plans go a little awry. The adage that no plan survives contact with the general public is as true today as the first time it was said. That doesn’t mean people don’t have a good time – everyone in those tents had a ball and it was the best kind of learning – the kind that goes both ways.

There was also mud and camping and awesome food and other amazing things to see and engage with. That’s the Woodfordia way of things; awesome times.

Would you like to see what we got up to at The Planting Festival? Check out all our photos in the Facebook Album.

 


WEARABLE BACTERIA? By Alex Bell

Hello to all you science and fashion enthusiasts out there – my name is Alex and I want to share with you my eagerness towards a slimy, smelly, but revolutionary textile.

This textile is Kombucha scoby; a floating mat of yeast, bacteria and their byproducts created when Kombucha tea ferments. Ring a bell? Kombucha tea is a popular health drink renowned for its claimed health benefits. The tea’s bitter, fizzy taste is said to be evident in the scoby as well – yes, that means some people eat it!

Could you imagine eating something that looks like a Doctor Who villain? Now could you imagine wearing it? Hold on, don’t go draping pieces of soaking wet scoby on yourself just yet! Experimentation at The Edge has revealed that when dried and moisturised, the scoby adopts leather-like qualities.

It is strong and supple, and less smelly with the use of particular oils – pretty cool stuff. Through experimentation so far with the material, I have collaborated with other QUT fashion students in creating Kombucha shoes and individually created an outfit of kombucha and tulle.

The outfit sashayed down the catwalk in the Ipswich Fashion Gala and took out first place in the Wearable Art Student Awards. You can follow the creation process and runway show on video or check out the outfit and shoes on display at The Edge. Stay tuned for part 2 of my blog post about the amazing applications of Kombucha in the fashion industry. Also if you enjoyed reading this, definitely check out my page and give this link a big ol’ click!
Until next time,
Alex.

ABOUT ME:
Alexandra Bell, age 17, 1st-year fashion student at QUT taking the Bachelor of Design (Fashion) (Honours) course.

Image captions and links:
Kombucha scoby
SOURCE: http://inhabitat.com/diy-how-to-brew-kombucha-at-home/kombucha-scoby-mother/

Kombucha Mushroom Jerky
SOURCE: http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2013/07/making-kombucha-mushroom-jerky-recipe.html

Dyed Kombucha
Pieces of indigo-dyed and dried kombucha, moisturised with coconut butter to create Kombucha leather. Pieces are layered over tulle to create a tassel effect.
SOURCE: https://www.facebook.com/xandrabellthelabel/

Runway Show
The outfit reflects hard lines and square shapes you can see in city sky scrapers (my inspiration) and involves a layered tulle skeleton embellished with Kombucha paint (blended scobi, coconut butter, dye and glitter) across the shirt and side of skirt, and kombucha leather (dyed, dried and hole-punched) on décolletage and waistband.
SOURCE: http://websta.me/p/1106978987188607228_2046138253


Sustainable Footwear: A QUT Fashion Exhibition

Kombucha shoe FB 2

QUT Fashion students and The Edge collaborate to imagine the future of sustainable footwear.

On display at The Edge from 27 Oct – 8 Nov

The project involved 31 first year students studying Fashion Design at QUT. Their brief was to develop a shoe design using kombucha – a material grown from tea through a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The dried material feels like a cross between leather and paper, and is sustainably grown and fully biodegradable in its natural state. Along with Dr Peter Musk, The Edge’s Science Catalyst, students were introduced to the process of growing kombucha. They experimented with blending it, moulding it, and adding dye and glitter to change its naturally brown colour. Others introduced spray paint and included 3D printed and laser cut elements in their shoe designs. From the QUT end, the project was run by first year Fashion lecturers Alice Payne and Dean Brough.

 

The Teapot
By Erin Jones, Lauren Richardson, Sharka Marvilla, Rebecca Cryer
Kombucha, metal, oil, wood

Kombucha is a new textile that has recently been introduced into the world of fashion. The challenge lies in bringing the unknown into everyday fashion – to be more “normal” – or answering the question “How can Kombucha work closely with existing and traditional textiles?” Teapot uses Kombucha to create a shoe that is wearable and durable. The shape of teapots inspired the shape of the shoe. Teapot is 100 per cent sustainable, being made from either recycled or biodegradable materials.

 

Would you like to know more about Kombucha? Take a look at our online One Search results.


Sustainable Footwear: A QUT Fashion Exhibition

Kombucha shoe FB 2

QUT Fashion students and The Edge collaborate to imagine the future of sustainable footwear.

On display at The Edge from 27 Oct – 8 Nov

The project involved 31 first year students studying Fashion Design at QUT. Their brief was to develop a shoe design using kombucha – a material grown from tea through a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The dried material feels like a cross between leather and paper, and is sustainably grown and fully biodegradable in its natural state. Along with Dr Peter Musk, The Edge’s Science Catalyst, students were introduced to the process of growing kombucha. They experimented with blending it, moulding it, and adding dye and glitter to change its naturally brown colour. Others introduced spray paint and included 3D printed and laser cut elements in their shoe designs. From the QUT end, the project was run by first year Fashion lecturers Alice Payne and Dean Brough.

 

The Teapot
By Erin Jones, Lauren Richardson, Sharka Marvilla, Rebecca Cryer
Kombucha, metal, oil, wood

Kombucha is a new textile that has recently been introduced into the world of fashion. The challenge lies in bringing the unknown into everyday fashion – to be more “normal” – or answering the question “How can Kombucha work closely with existing and traditional textiles?” Teapot uses Kombucha to create a shoe that is wearable and durable. The shape of teapots inspired the shape of the shoe. Teapot is 100 per cent sustainable, being made from either recycled or biodegradable materials.

 

Would you like to know more about Kombucha? Take a look at our online One Search results.


Sustainable Footwear: A QUT Fashion Exhibition

Kombucha shoe FB 2

QUT Fashion students and The Edge collaborate to imagine the future of sustainable footwear.

On display at The Edge from 27 Oct – 8 Nov

The project involved 31 first year students studying Fashion Design at QUT. Their brief was to develop a shoe design using kombucha – a material grown from tea through a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The dried material feels like a cross between leather and paper, and is sustainably grown and fully biodegradable in its natural state. Along with Dr Peter Musk, The Edge’s Science Catalyst, students were introduced to the process of growing kombucha. They experimented with blending it, moulding it, and adding dye and glitter to change its naturally brown colour. Others introduced spray paint and included 3D printed and laser cut elements in their shoe designs. From the QUT end, the project was run by first year Fashion lecturers Alice Payne and Dean Brough.

 

The Teapot
By Erin Jones, Lauren Richardson, Sharka Marvilla, Rebecca Cryer
Kombucha, metal, oil, wood

Kombucha is a new textile that has recently been introduced into the world of fashion. The challenge lies in bringing the unknown into everyday fashion – to be more “normal” – or answering the question “How can Kombucha work closely with existing and traditional textiles?” Teapot uses Kombucha to create a shoe that is wearable and durable. The shape of teapots inspired the shape of the shoe. Teapot is 100 per cent sustainable, being made from either recycled or biodegradable materials.

 

Would you like to know more about Kombucha? Take a look at our online One Search results.


Life in the Basement: The beauty of contamination.

Kombucha contamination

Kombucha contamination

I’ve been working with the microscope and attached camera which has been set up in the basement. To get used to taking images and test out the magnification, I took a few images of the bacterial and fungal contamination which resulted in a massive disposal of the infected yeast/bacteria kombucha colonies.

Despite contaminating the kombucha something fierce, I think the pics are still pretty darn pretty.

Kombucha contamination

TSView3

Kombucha contamination

 


Awesome Space in the Basement

Lab space in the basement almost ready to start some serious work.

Lab space in the basement almost ready to start some serious work.

Well….we are finally getting somewhere with setting up a functional lab space in the basement at The Edge. Last week I cleaned all the surfaces and mopped the area to try and limit the further spread of a fungal infection that had permeated through the kombucha cultures. It was sad to watch the lovely thick mats of kombucha being discarded. That is unfortunately just the way it often is with biology and particularly microbiology — moist, warm and nutrient rich environments are highly favoured by fungus and bacteria.

I am hoping that we can keep the contamination at bay as I start working with my micropropagation plant project. I almost have all the required materials and hope to start plant culture in earnest next week.  We are just missing the Agar. Fingers crossed that it will arrive in the next few days.

The basic lab area for plant culture in the basement at The Edge

The basic lab area for plant culture in the basement at The Edge

I have started working on cultivating sweet potatoes. They form plants and roots very easily. So far I have been able to generate numerous clones from a single potato, simply by removing stem sections with rooting buds. I am interested to see whether I can also induce root and shoot formation from very small plant sections.

Sweet potato clones

Sweet potato clones

Potato roots from eye.

Potato roots from eye.

Potato root with shoot formation.

Potato root with shoot formation.

As part of this investigation, I am hoping to start documenting this cloning process as part of an evolving exhibition upstairs. I will start with a single potato stem and cultivate the maximum number of clones each week. I am interested to see how many clones I may be able to achieve in the last three months of my position. As my skills progress, I might even be able to cultivate thousands of individual plants from miniscule cuttings. Fun!


An Update: Organising Spaces and Materials

Organised space in Edge basement for kombucha growing and art/biology workshops

Organised space in Edge basement for kombucha growing and art/biology workshops

Well…it is all starting to happen. I have started to organise the basement area to enable a better workflow for Kombucha growing and other bio-related activities. I’ve done most of the groundwork for setting up a plant micropropagation work area and hope to begin actively experimenting in the next few weeks. I will start my exploration of plant cell culture using African Violets. They seem to be a pretty standard “getting started in plant culture” option and Jane’s African Violets online store has some really beautiful varieties available including double-flower and variegated varieties. They are sold by leaf for micropropagation and can be shipped to most Australian states excl. WA and Tas. I am particularly impressed by the amazing names: Blue Dragon, Galactic Star, Ghost Dance and Rainbow’s Quiet Riot — brilliant!

Along with organising a space to start experimenting, I have also begun actively mapping out the plant/bacteria growth pod. I was originally planning to build the whole thing from scratch to learn more about electronics and wiring, but it is actually much, much cheaper to buy pre-built components and cobble them together. Most of the equipment can be bought online from Ebay at a fraction of the cost of electronics stores. The main trick will be designing the housing and keeping the elements flexible to enable a variety of specimens for sampling.

We will be buying the main components this week, which means that I can get started on the actual pod pretty soon. At this point, I anticipate that the prototype will be pretty simple (and ugly), but once the specifications have been worked out it will be easier to fit them into a custom and more visually appealing structure.

Aeroponics set up.  Image credit: Thin Arir Growing Systes.

Aeroponics set up. Image credit: Thin Air Growing Systems.

Along with these elements I am also hoping to explore aeroponics. This method is similar to hydroponics, and involves the growth of plants without soil in a moisture rich environment. I am going to trial aeroponics with bonsai trees and a basic water misting/fog device from Ebay. It should (cross fingers) work in terms of sustaining the bonsai, but I also think it would look pretty spectacular!


Collaborative Fashion Project

We’re running a monthly ‘grow your own clothes’ meet-up starting on 1 August. Come along and experiment with us as we grow a sustainable bacterial-derived cellulose and turn it into fashion forward garments. Our Catalyst Cameron has been testing the growing conditions on this material for a while and he’s ready to share what he has learned. In a mere month we should have enough of this textile to start curing it and sewing up some clothes or cobbling some shoes. We’d love to hear your creative ideas of what you would like to make!

This project draws its inspiration from the work of Suzanne Lee from St Martin College, who recently presented her BioCulture project in a TED talk. Take a look for a little inspiration and join us for this meetup!

When: 6-8pm, monthly from 1 Aug
Where: The Basement, level 0, The Edge
Cost: Free
Bookings: Not required