Image: Nidiya Kusmaya, Experimental Batik pattern using microorganisms, silk, 2019
Nidiya Kusmaya is a textile artist and researcher from Sukabumi-West Java Indonesia, working with natural dyeing methods. Currently she is doing research in combining kitchen and agricultural waste with materials such as micro fungus and bacteria to create colorants for textiles that are environmentally friendly. Through her research she is aiming to extend the food chain into clothing material. Here Nidiya tells us more about her work extracting colours from microorganisms.
Image: Nidiya Kusmaya, Monascorubramine on silk.
I started experimental works with colour for textiles with utilizing kitchen scraps, and farmer's market leftovers. Plenty of food leftover is still a problem itself, and it has a lot of room to experiment with it. I make my own colour diary and colour recipes based on what I ate every day, with a goal in mind to extend the food chain into clothing as alternative materials in clothing production. I utilised most of the plant-based leftovers to extract the colours and turn carbohydrates and proteins-based leftover as growth medium for microorganisms then will act as colour producers.
Making and growing colours by utilizing food leftover is considered better than applying conventional farming techniques to grow plants for dyeing materials, that will cost far more in taking care of the plant’s cultivation, water and fertilizer needs. This particular micro-farming involves the use of microorganisms to create natural colours. It’s small scale, and high yield. It multiplies microbial organisms in growth in a solid, liquid, or semi-solid medium in a controlled environment. It could be done at the lab inside the Erlenmeyer flask, Petri dishes, or bio reactor. Controlled patterns can also be applied with this colouring technique during its growing process, in this case I adapted some batik technique to form patterns. The idea of working together with nature applying its efficiency to create textile products that are crafted at the lab, reminds me of the Batik making tradition that is constantly evolving and adapting to cultural and environmental influences. This new alternative process produces handcrafted textiles consciously, with a focus on the entire lifecycle of a material, without losing its cultural value.For more information visit www.nidiyakusmaya.com