- story by Soowon Chae
Ocragela is a material consisting of ochre, gelatin, glycerine, and water. It means that this material is fully biodegradable and made out of only natural materials.
Gelatin, one of the main ingredient, is considered less valuable within capitalism where values are determined by profitability. So it has been produced by left-overs of leather-making and meat processing whose main products are more profitable than gelatin.
For this reason, by dealing with gelatin as a main ingredient to create new materials and draw out new possibilities, designer Soowon Chae wanted to show the positive possibilities of human’s intuitive creativity.
In a similar vein, red ochre is used as not only a colouring agent but also an homage for passion and creativity of humans who previously used ochre in various ways to survive in a harsh wild life.
To realise this idea, Soowon have conducted a number of material experiments which show various potentials. By changing the temperatures, proportions and the way of pouring, different patterns, colours, textures, thickness and flexibility could have been made with only those 4 natural ingredients.
And for the coating part, natural wax was used to cover the surface for the water-repellent without using any chemical coatings.
This material can be hand-stitched or machine-sewed, so it can be used as a normal textile material. And it can be customised to leather-like, rubber/silicone-like and plastic-like by changing the proportions and the way of making.
So, with these material experiments, Soowon is keeping on the research about how to apply ocragela into the products, textiles and flooring material.