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Philadelphia, PA 19130

Bacterial Jacquards

bacterial jacquard fabrics

The desire to create a piece that used the technology associated with bioluminescence lead to a connection with Dr. Frank Wilkinson in the Pre-Med department. His work dealt with creating E. coli bacteria with GFP spliced into their DNA sequences for academic testing purposes. 

outsider artist inspiration:                     johann garber

Considering the scope of how overwhelming the universe is from tiny microorganisms to planets, it makes sense to utilize the very smallest bits of what make up this amazing cosmic construction within this glowing collection. Looking at Johann Garber’s work, it would appear as if he had a similar plan. Every single speck of space on his pieces is covered, in a similar way to how microorganisms fill a space. 

To promote the growth of bacteria in some areas versus others, natural cotton weft insertion was juxtaposed with a fine, clear monofilament yarn which created that desired effect. The bacterial broth was repelled from the monofilament onto the staple fibers of the natural cotton. 

Acrylic panels were laser cut and assembled with a solvent adhesive to create custom petri dishes.

Three days prior to the show, the petri dishes were filled with agar, set and the jacquard fabric saturated with a media broth of e. coli and arabinose sugar. 

(top) images drawn to mimic garber's style

(middle) jacquard woven fabric with cotton and monofilament yarn from images above

(bottom) jacquard fabric treated with GFP e. coli glowing under UV light exposure

glowing trial, bacteria glows green

glowing trial, bacteria glows green

first fiber type trials

first fiber type trials

preparing for bacterial exposure

preparing for bacterial exposure