Krapiva Zhguchaya is a collaborative research project by Studio laVina and Varvara Lazareva, that explores the possibilities of the stinging nettle plant to create a variety of materials and products.
The stinging nettle is a weed widespread in Europe and Asia and is often seen as undesirable. Traditionally it was used in Russian culture as a source for clothes, fishing nets, sailing ropes, traditional medicine, food and house insulation, because of its antiseptic properties. Similar to linen production, craftsmen were extracting the fibres that grow inside the stalks of the plant to create a thread, textile or paper.
To create a new life for this material they made modern products through re-thinking contemporary production techniques. The stinging nettle was harvested in Russia and in the Netherlands during various seasons of the year to test how this influences the material qualities. Using the hands on approach they learned that dried stalks contain only about 10% of the fibre and the rest was the thatch, this was not used by craftsmen before. This discovery and the desire to not create waste pushed the project forward and resulted in a wider range of products made from nettles, where you would use not just the fibre, but the thatch as well. Pigments also come from the plant itself, with the entire plant used for production.
For the carpet production, they extracted the fibre and made yarn out of it. The gradient ranges from the natural colour of the yarn that comes from the processing to the dyed yarn. The vessels are created from the fibre with the addition of starch, flour and water. The table and stool recipe includes the thatch, leaves from the stinging nettle and mixed with a bioresin.
The stinging nettle has a lot of interesting properties and possibilities to develop the project further that they continue to research, including interior finishing materials and food design.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Future Materials Encounter
Future Materials Encounters are a series of workshops and conversations around the materials of the Future Materials Bank. Each event in the series focuses on a specific material, staging a conversation between the maker and the audience.
Stinging nettle, starch, flour, water, bio-resin
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Accessible to visitors of the Future Materials Lab