zena holloway explores the promise of root-grown textiles
During this year’s London Design Festival, at the inaugural edition of the ‘Material Matters’ design fair, multi-disciplinary creative Zena Holloway launched a new collection of sculptures, wearables, and products grown entirely from grass root. Dubbed ‘Rootfull’, the collection included a dress with a collar piece and other sculptural forms inspired by coral, large wall hangings, and root-grown lamps with soft coral textures. A highlight at the fair, Holloway’s creations explore the promising possibility of root-grown textiles and imagine a future where fashion is sustainable and compostable.
The root forms a kind of botanical skeleton, trapping carbon, and therefore becomes a tiny part of the solution to the complex problem of climate change. She uses roots like a 3D printer, allowing nature to weave its path through templates intricately carved into beeswax. Each growing cycle produces a different result, so no two pieces ever grow the same.
‘The challenge is to sew, cut, tease, join, pluck, set, and reset until the root has found the optimal form. Root is an exciting and versatile material where the most honest results are achieved by working with the natural flows of the fiber. It can be grown into large hanging structures or set and molded to form vessels and responds especially well to natural dying processes,’ writes Holloway.
Root Dress | all images courtesy of Zena Holloway
a versatile medium forming sculptural 3D shapes
To produce her collection, the designer cultivated wheatgrass seed in templates carved from beeswax, and over 12 days, the shoots grow to 20cm while the roots bind below to form a naturally woven structure. The roots are then allowed to expand either vertically or horizontally to follow the form of the templates they grow into. They can also be forced into small spaces, making them flat and compact, or encouraged to develop more deeply to create intricate 3D shapes.
Material Matters is a new fixture on the London design calendar. Based on the critically acclaimed podcast of the same name, the event saw its inaugural edition take place during London Design Festival 2022, from 22-25 September on the capital’s Southbank. The event brought together over 40 world-leading brands, designers, makers, and organizations to celebrate the importance of materials and their ability to shape our lives.
overview of the ‘Rootfull’ collection
This content was originally published here.