handmade | bioplastic buttons.

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I’ve been teaching a Materials Lab at my school, which explores how to use food waste and other natural objects to create new materials–think bioplastics, mycelium bricks, and chewing gum soles for shoes.

My exploration has largely focused on natural dyeing, natural fibers, and its convergence with bioplastics. My final project in the exploration is to hand knit a garment that features my handmade buttons and my hand dyed yarn using indigo and chili peppers as my dye agents. It’s been a really intriguing exploration.

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These are my bioplastic buttons. I made them using spoiled milk as my food waste material. Essentially the process requires a breaking down of the proteins in the milk to create a sort of chunky whey, which you then squeeze the liquid out of, roll like dough, dye (in this case with indigo) and then cut into whatever you like.

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I used a straw to cut out small circles and a toothpick and needle to create button holes. These buttons have been drying for a few weeks and are nearly cured completely. I never thought I would make my own plastic buttons.

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Once I knit the sweater (which I think will be a Henley style with the smaller buttons along the v neck collar), I’ll snap finished product photos and wax poetic on the entire experience. Until then…

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