Bio-textiles for futuristic living

More now than ever we are being told to become more aware of the impact the textile industry has on our planet. I had the privilege to teach at the Bio bootcamp organised by Glimps. In the beautiful city of Ghent, Belgium.

Now not many people know but in Ghent itself is part of a textile history long lost and forgotten in the form of a spinning jenny, a spinning what you may say. Here’s a quick history lesson for you.

The spinning of cotton into threads for weaving into cloth had traditionally taken place in the homes of textile workers - known as 'cottage industries'. But the 18th century saw the emergence of the ‘Industrial Revolution’, the great age of steam, canals and factories that changed the face of the British economy forever. James Hargreaves’ ‘Spinning Jenny’, the patent for which is shown here, would revolutionise the process of cotton spinning. The machine used eight spindles onto which the thread was spun, so by turning a single wheel, the operator could now spin eight threads at once. This increased to eighty with improvements in the technology.

We now know it these days as a yarn spinner , and with that came the advancement of loom and creative textile crafting.Which of course then lead up to new innovations in colouring also occurring. In our ever changing world we are being taught about the impacts of dye and textiles and with companies such as h&m “claiming” sustainability factors whilst also still creating fast fashion.How much of this is true and how much of it can we do ourselves?.

At the bio-bootcamp we taught about biomaterials, and biodying and you can find the PDF to learn at home here. Inside the PDF is a brief overview of materials, colourings and what the future of bacterial textile dying could look like given you have a BSL1 lab and know your way around a microbe or two.