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Her unusual process aside, Chieza takes a time-honored tack to achieve her designs: resistance dyeing. There are a few key differences, however. Instead of dye vats, petri dishes bear swatches of origami-folded habotai silk. And rather than yield an immediate outcome, stains morph over time as the bacteria-secreted pigments diffuse through the myriad layers.

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“Long after the peak of microbial activity is reached, a fine silk palimpsest serves as a record of what it was to live, then die, in seven days,” Chieza writes on her website.

Faber Futures, she says, doesn’t just embody a “new age” of emerging craft practice that incorporates molecular biology, but it also demonstrates the potential of using living organisms to create less-environmentally damaging materials and protocols.

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“The project is driven by the theory that harnessing living systems—from biomimicry to synthetic biology—could lead to a more resilient future,” she adds.

Chieza’s ultimate goal is to pin down a library of reproducible colors, with an eye toward scaling up her methodology.

+ Natsai Audrey Chieza