Slime Mould Network
The 'Slime Mould Network' is a range of slime mould printed silk materials.
Printed with different species of slime mould across three different colour palettes ranging from pink, blue and green. The species of slime mould were sourced from the United States, Philippines, and Germany which were then home cultured and grown in a room-temperature space. The experiments led to aesthetically utilising the intricacy of slime mould growth on a visual textile space. Using silk materials as a base for a slime mould to grow, allowed the slime mould to leave its own imprint on the textile. The slime mould is used as a printing agent allowing a new generation of textiles for the future of biodesign.
A 6-month research and design project started off as a few experiments through 6mm petri dishes. The slime mould was fed and grown in diverse mediums from food, colours, and 3D spaces such as inside a bio-yarn. Out of a total of 35 experiments, the most intriguing was able to manipulate the colour of slime mould through colour dyes. The slime mould is attracted to a particular set of primary colours which is then absorbed into their network system as they move around for more food. Slime mould species are best known for adapting to almost any environment for survival. When presented with a different colour system, slime mould is able to send a chemical stimulus through their 'body' that allows them to communicate in order to manipulate their environment. They are the micro-level version of a chameleon!
Identifying the colours of red, blue, and green allowed the designer to create a different designed palette for the slime mould to absorb into and create different network systems. The slime mould grows within 3-5 days. The designer chose silk fabric as it is a natural selection for biological organisms to easily work on. Others such as wool, cotton, hemp for example, are also an option for experimentation. The silk fabric used was transparent and permeable to slime mould, allowing it to easily form a network through the material. Hard surfaces or materials such as cotton or hemp wouldn’t have been a good choice due to slime mould needing both sugar and carbs as a base to grow underneath the material.
Working with biological organisms rather than against them, allows the researcher and designer to build a special relationship with the living organism. This way of working within the biodesign industry is a pioneering method for our future designers: Listen to the living organisms and watch what they can do!
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Slime mould, silk, agar agar