Past Event

Coloring Textiles with Bugs: Old [Cochineal] and New [Bacteria]

September 29, 2018 - September 30, 2018
12:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
Genspace, 140 32nd Street, Suite 108, New York

September 29: 12:30-4PM
September 30: 3-7PM

The Making and Knowing Research Cluster at the Center for Science and Society is partnering with GenSpace to offer the "Coloring Textiles with Bugs: Old [Cochineal] and New [Bacteria]" workshop. The two-part class will be led by Project Manager Naomi Rosenkranz and former Making and Knowing student Sumeyye Yar.

bacteria dyes

In this hands-on workshop, you will learn both the history and the science of coloring textiles with organisms using historical techniques and new scientific developments. Explore the long tradition of dyeing cloth brilliant shades of red with cochineal insects. Then, discover new cutting-edge techniques of printing textiles with colorful microbes. We will delve into the world of sustainable natural dyes and create artful textile collages.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Learn about the history and chemistry of natural colorants and dyes
  • Follow 500-year- old recipes from the Renaissance to dye wool and silk yarns with cochineal bugs
  • Learn how genetic engineering and bacterial cultures can be used to replace synthetic dyes in the future
  • Paint with bacteria and then print your designs on cotton
  • At the end, combine your printed microbial designs with your hand-dyed cochineal textiles to create a decorative art piece to take home

No experience in biology, chemistry, dyeing, or colormaking is necessary and all are welcome!

Tickets are being offered at a subsidized rate for students, artists, and local Sunset Park residents. Apply for a space in the class by filling out this brief survey. Genspace staff will forward registration links to eligible participants. We look forward to meeting you!

Support for this workshop is made possible by a Public Outreach Grant from the Center for Science and Society.