Root Textile

United Kingdom

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- story by MaterialDistrict

Rootfull unites design with biology and reconnects humanity with Nature. It’s a pioneering venture that grows wheatgrass into templates carved from beeswax to create lamps and acoustic wall hangings from root. The textile is grown simply with wheatgrass seed and water to create a material that is woven entirely by Nature.

Each design combines sustainability, innovation, and bio-sculpture to allow the root to weave its own path through templates carved from beeswax. Grass root grows best in colonies and as such the threads gather in groups to form repeating pathways that can be sewn, plucked, and stitched. Rather like a tree growing, the root takes different paths every time, altering the light and shadow of each lamp or wall hanging to create individual pieces.

Over 12 days the shoot grows to 20cm while the root binds below to form a naturally woven structure. With sustainability at the heart of the process, the ingredients are organic and locally sourced. Water is reused from runoff and any leftover shoot or seed is eaten as animal fodder. The pieces show that the power of plants are infinitely renewable, and nature’s amazing capabilities are simply waiting for us to tap into.

This is bio-design in its simplest form. The material becomes lamps and wall hangings that seek to shine a light on a forgotten natural fibre that can be used to grow our built environment. Through contemporary craft, innovation and invention, Rootfull grows root into memorable artefacts that cultivate material intelligence and regenerative design.

The Rootfull innovation demonstrates bio-design in its simplest form, incorporating the use of living systems to grow new materials. It uses natural processes to grow organic textiles and even final products. The material is 100% organic and biodegradable. It explores the sensory aesthetic of root and the promising possibility of textile grown from seed. Root could potentially replace many synthetic and harmful alternative fibres. Organic coatings preserve the root structure and rather like a straw hat, it will provide a lifetime of functionality, if kept from the elements.

About the Founder
Zena Holloway is a well-known commercial underwater photographer and the founder of Rootfull. It was the tsunami of underwater pollution, human impact and coral bleaching that drove her to look for solutions in bio-design. In 2018 the first seed of an idea was planted and Rootfull has been growing ever since. Curiosity led her to grow artefacts with mycelium first, before discovering the binding properties of root. The ocean and life underwater are her references, so she designs the root into textures and patterns that emulate coral. In doing so, she strives to highlight the devastation of coral reef bleaching caused by global warming. Just as roots underpin the natural world that exists above ground, so too coral is the foundation for the ecosystems of our oceans. Through Rootfull she hopes to inspire a greater awareness of materials and champion ocean conservation.

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