1. What inspired you to start Living Colour?

We both met in September 2016 at a course called Textile Academy at Waag Society in Amsterdam. In this course we had weekly workshops about ways to innovate the fashion & textile industry and to make the industry more sustainable. One of the workshops was dyeing with bacterial pigments. In our one-month end research for this course we decided to join forces; we exposed bacteria to sound frequencies in order to let them create patterns on fabric. After this one-month project we continued our research and we are developing our bacterial dyeing method ever since.

2. What is the goal of the Living Colour project?

Our goal is to provide a sustainable alternative to artificial textile dyes derived from petrochemicals and to establish an new natural colour aesthetic.

3. Where do the bacteria come from?

Our naturally occuring bacteria can be found in soil near the roots of plants, in rivers & ponds and even on our skin.

4. Are the bacteria dangerous?

No, the bacteria we use are non-pathogenic (biosafety level 1), that means they cannot cause infections or disease in humans. Did you know that the pigment is also used for medical purposes? The purple pigment can treat leukaemia for example. Awesome right!

5. Why use bacteria to dye textiles?

Textile dyeing and treatment with toxic chemicals is a huge worldwide problem. Bacterial pigments are biodegradable and produce a dye with very little run-off, little water use and low dyeing temperatures, without the use of any toxic chemicals, textile treatments or fixing agents. In addition bacterial pigments have great characteristics like anti-microbial and UV-protecting qualities. Compared to other natural dye resources, bacteria don't need vast amounts of land, water, time and pesticides to grow.

6. How do you dye with bacteria?

We use two methods to dye textiles. In the first method we let bacteria grow directly on the textile, to create natural visible growth patterns on fabric. In the second method we use a pigment extract to make a (cold) dye bath to dye fabrics in an even all-over way.

7. Which fibres can be dyed with bacteria?

Both natural and synthetic fibres can be dyed with bacteria which is quite unusual, because normally natural dyes don’t attach well to synthetic fibres.

8. How long does your dyeing process take?

Within three days the bacteria have both produced the dye and dyed the fabric.

9. How many colours can you produce?

The colour depends on the bacterial strain that produces a certain colour and also on the material we dye. Other factors that can influence the colour result are nutrition, oxygen, temperature, pH, light, etc. There are many different pigmented bacteria out there that together can produce every colour of the rainbow. Every dye process shows different results, so each piece is truly unique.

10. Where do you get your textiles from?

The textiles we dye are either deadstock fabrics or we get sponsored by or buy them from sustainable textile suppliers like Seidentraum, Pure Fabricz, Ecotex or Neidig. Do you have undyed deadstock fabrics without a purpose, we'd love to use them!

11. Can I order Living Colour dyes, your dyeing process or dyed textiles?

No, it is not possible to buy our dye method or products yet, but we are working hard on it behind the scenes. Please subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on instagram to get the latest updates on Living Colour!

12. Can I order the Live Dye Kit?

No, the Live Dye Kit is a prototype.

13. Do you supply dyed textile samples?

We only provide a very limited amount of samples to colour & material libraries or businesses, not to students. Please get in touch to discuss possibilities.

14. Do you sell your Living Colour publication?

No, the publication is open-source, you can read it on Issuu. Only libraries can request a printed copy.

15. Are you open to collaborations?

Yes, always. Living Colour could not exist without interdisciplinary collaboration. We like to collaborate with designers, brands, scientists, labs, dye manufacturers, textile mills and educational institutes to name a few. Just drop us a line!

16. I have developed an innovative and sustainable material, can you dye my material?

Yes, we can test if we can dye your material. For example we have tested MycoTEX by NEFFA, Mylium, plant root textile by Diana Scherer, felted wool by Beatrice Waanders and Pyratex Health fabric.

17. Do you hire interns?

No, at the moment we're not hiring at all.

18. Do you have press images?

Yes, please send us an email and we'll send you a download link with high res images.

19. Do you give lectures?

Yes, we give inspirational talks during symposiums and guest lectures both in English and Dutch. Please contact us to discuss options.

20. Do you give bacteria dyeing workshops?

No, we don't give bacteria dyeing workshops.

21. Can we exhibit your work?

Yes, we exhibit our work and samples in (international) exhibitions, trade fairs and festivals. Reach out for possibilities.

22. Can we visit your lab and studio?

No, unfortunately we don't do lab/studio tours.


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