I had the pleasure of visiting the Material Connexion library during the Spring of 2018. During my visit, 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 textile 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 the 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.
I decided to coil copper wire around feathers to create an interesting juxtaposition of hard and soft.
The experiment resulted in very interesting compositions, and I found that the crystals adhered well to napped surfaces:
Under the microscope:
Here is a working circuit conducted by crystallized copper traces. Now imagine in larger scale, crystallized textile
surfaces embedded with LEDs lit by the crystals themselves!