My experiment

Hello, my name is charlotte.
I’m a student Industrial product design at Howest in Kortrijk, Belgium. This semester I’m following an experimental course called Grow it yourself. The object of the course is to start an experimental process to gain new insight on growing our own materials. Further down the line we will use our grown material to prototype with.
I’m still undecisive about what exactly I want to grow.
I ether want to grow crystals and then test different ways of using them.
For instance crush the crystals completely. Then mix the sand like mixture with some sort of glue. Then pour it into a mould.
Another idea was to grow the crystals on a piece of textile so it would be flexible.

The other material I would like to grow is Kombucha leather.
First of all I thought about using it the same way as paper pulp, but how will the glue effect the material?
Maybe it would then be easier to use an iron and patch together the pieces with the heat.
Then my questions are: Will it be strong enough, once patched together? Or is it stronger to grow it in one big piece?

So I’m clearly still working out what to do. I have already started growing my first piece of kombucha. If it works out well, perhaps this would be more interesting to pursue then the crystals.

Hey @charlotte_middleton, welcome! I’m intrigued by the crystals idea… Are you basing yourself on any materials online? I’d be interested in the reading.

Kombucha is a more tried-and-tested method to grow materials, but much is left to discover! It seems to work best to patch pieces together when they’re still wet. Growing them together also works.
Water resistance is still a major problem of the leather, do you have any plans on experimenting with that?

Okay, thanks for the tips. And for water resistance, that is valid point. I will look in to that, could lead to an interesting find.


Powdered crystal and resin Inlays and designs are quite easily done, the hard part is going to be safe crystal growth.

(the nice colors typically come from highly toxic stuff)

but https://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Alum-Crystals
Alum crystals should be safe enough for you to get started, if you decide to go that way.

I would recommend playing with the nucleation substrates. (old school chemists used to drop a hair or scratch the glass to induce crystalization there)

I just heard from @mboto at KASK in Ghent the students are growing crystals around insects at the moment :slight_smile:

thanks for the tips, i will be shure to use them!

That is actually really cool! i might like to do something with that!