‘From Insects’ by Marlène Huissoud
‘From Insects’ by Marlène Huissoud is a line of biologically inspired product designs including furniture, jewellery and vessels. Made with natural by-products from bees and silkworms, each item is a unique creation.
From a family of beekeepers, Huissoud offers an insightful perspective on materials derived from insects. While some may initially dismiss materials made from insect by-products, her inventions – ranging from timber-like vessels, to a new type of ‘wooden leather,’ to jewellery pieces that shine like natural obsidian – show the potential insects hold in contributing to innovative future materials.
Biologically Inspired Materials
One material Huissoud has experimented largely with is propolis. This is a biodegradable resin that honey bees collect from trees and use as a sealant for their hive. Beekeepers extract this material in very small quantities of around 100 grams per year, making it a rare and exclusive material.
Depending upon its source, the colour of propolis varies. Huissoud works in particular with a glossy black variant that is extracted from rubber plants and has a look and feel comparable to glass. Huissoud collaborated with craftsman to explore traditional blowing and engraving techniques and their applicability to propolis. After numerous experiments, they succeeded in blowing propolis with a technique that is similar to that used traditionally for glass. The result is her series of propolis vessels that are shaped like tree trunks and each individually engraved.
‘Wooden Leather‘ is another of her material innovations that explores the use of insects as a material source. This lightweight flexible wood-like material is made from the glue of silkworms and finished with a propolis varnish.
And make sure to check of a video of her works here.