CONDUCTIVE CRYSTALLIZED TEXTILES
In Spring of 2018, I had the pleasure of visiting the Material Connexion library in New York City. During the tour, a particular swatch caught my eye — MUUNA’s “artificilae/matter”. Post visit, I did some research and learned that Hannah Croft, the textile designer behind the innovation created an extensive collection of samples where crystals are grown onto woven and embroidered textiles to create mineral surfaces of ‘cultivated embellishment’.
I wanted to try it for myself. In my research process, I learned that I could grow crystals with metals.
Electrolysis uses an electrical current to move ions in an electrolyte solution between two electrodes. In copper electrolysis, when a current is applied, positively charged copper ions called cations leave the anode and move to the cathode, forming crystals over time.
In my initial stages of testing, I coiled copper wire around feathers to create a juxtaposition between hard and soft. When I found that the crystals adhered well to napped surfaces, I moved forward to experiment on a range of textiles (ie. mohair, wool, lace, etc.)
The experiment yielded very interesting compositions.
Under the microscope, the compositions are even more compelling.
Here is a working circuit using crystallized copper traces, which opens a new world of potential applications.
Conductive Crystallized Textiles was selected for exhibition at the 2018 ITP Spring Show in New York City, and featured on Daniel Schiffman’s Coding Train livestream.