ACTIVE SPECIMENS

Puss caterpillar embellishment artefact, 2018

Active Specimens is inspired by the way in which scientists record animal life in the rainforest that often includes the use of a euthanized specimen, the aim of this project was to explore the recording of animal species further as a designer by using a more poetic approach. An immersive residency with Labverde in the Amazon Rainforest was subsequently spent exploring how textiles could be used to record life. Through textiles, which offer the qualities of movement lost in current physical samples, the activity of three different animal species found in the rainforest were recorded. These include the harder to capture: puss caterpillar and two types of leaf hopper nymphs, one of which is believed to be the same species discovered in 2013 by Trond Larsen.

Three final textile artifacts were produced that explore aspects of the movement or behavior of each insect which serves as a record for further development and discovery:

Leaf hopper nymph 1 embellishment artefact – A leaf hopper nymph which jumps away when touched is represented through the application of magnets sewn into each embellishment which jump to and away from each other when handled. The leaf hopper nymph secretes waxy tendrils as a defense mechanism, mimicked through the use of banana fibre embellishment dipped into wax, attached using a hybrid wig-making embroidery technique.

Leaf hopper nymph 2 embellishment artefact – This recently discovered nymph produces glass-like waxy tendrils, and hides deep in foliage. The secretions are replicated in spun glass and embellishments are hidden to communicate their evasive nature.

Puss caterpillar embellishment artefact – The movement of this toxic caterpillar is replicated using segmented and highly tactile embellishment layers, hand manipulated using manila hemp and organic cotton. 

Labverde is an art immersion programme in the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil, for artists and designers to reflect on nature and landscape and explore the connection between science, art and the natural environment.

Puss caterpillar embellishment artefact in motion, 2018
Leaf hopper nymph 1 embellishment artefact, 2018
Leaf hopper nymph 1 embellishment artefact in motion, 2018
Leaf hopper nymph 2 embellishment artefact, 2018
Leaf hopper nymph 2 embellishment artefact in motion, 2018
Amazon Rainforest Brazil, 2017

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS
Transfashional, Museo Della Citta, Rimini, Italy, 2019

PAST EXHIBITIONS
Design Research for Change, London Design Fair, The London Design Festival, London, UK, 2019
The Prescence of Boundless Potentiality, Onca Gallery, Brighton, UK, 2018