Future Fibres Seminars and Workshops at BIOS

Future fibres will be at the centre of research in AwhiWorld’s upcoming BIOS lab in May/June this year. We are excited to partner with Professor Frances Joseph of Intra-Action Initiatives & AUT University’s Huri Te Ao/The School of Future Environments to deliver a series of FREE Future Fibres seminars and workshops at Whangarei Art Museum.

We have already run a successful introductory workshop in Rawene to activate research projects with our community partners and feed their work-in-progress into BIOS

Frances and her postgraduate students will be sharing their research via a series of public demonstrations and seminars on:

  • Growing Leather From Kombucha
    (30 May: 2.30 to 4 pm)
  • Smart Recycling – 3D Print Your Plastic Waste
    (31 May: 10.30 to 12)
  • Make Your Own Bio-Plastic
    (1 June: 10.30 to 12)
Kara Tuatara Photographer
Kara Tuatara Photographer

Growing Leather from Kombucha
(30 May: 2.30 to 4 pm at WAM)

Biomaterials are a type of building material derived from living organisms, which have been increasingly used in architecture, design, and interiors. One type of biomaterial that has been growing in popularity is kombucha leather, a vegan leather alternative made from fermenting tea with sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY.

The fermentation process results in a leather-like material that can be used for various products such as bags, shoes, and clothing.

What’s great about kombucha leather is that it’s sustainable, non-toxic, and biodegradable, making it an excellent eco-friendly option compared to traditional leather. Furthermore, the growth time of the kombucha leather is 14 days, and the container size does not affect the growth time, which is a huge advantage for scaling up production.

In this seminar, Claudine Nalesu (see bio below) will discuss her research on growing kombucha leather and give you some tips and tricks to grow it at home. (Images by Claudine)

3D Print Your Recycled Waste
(31 May: 10.30 to 12)

Are you interested in 3D printing but concerned about the impact of plastic waste? One solution is to recycle your own plastic and turn it into 3D printing filament! According to the BBC, only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled into new plastics [1], so recycling your own plastic is a great way to help reduce plastic waste.

In this workshop, Natalia Erima Fuentes Navarrete (see bio below) will teach you how to smartly sort your plastic and demonstrate how you can use a shredder and extruder to turn it into filament to use with a 3D pen.

With a 3D pen she will show you how to turn your recycled plastic into cool and unique creations. Once finished, you can recycle it again and continue the cycle of reducing waste.

By recycling your own plastic and turning it into 3D printing filament, you not only reduce waste but also get to exercise your creativity in a sustainable way. (Images by NEFN)

Make Your Own Bio-Plastic
(1 June: 10.30 to 12)

Bioplastics are a type of plastic material that are derived from organic biomass, such as plants, rather than from petroleum-based sources like traditional plastics. [3]  With just a few easy-to-find ingredients (like cornstarch, glycerin, agar, vinegar, and water) you can create your own bioplastics.

In this seminar, Professor Frances Joseph (see bio below) will talk about how you can make bioplastics in your own home safely, effectively and creatively. She’ll provide some hints and tips about what works and what doesn’t and show you some samples from her own research. (Images by Frances Joseph)

Introduction to E-Textiles: Soft Circuits and Sensors


(The following workshop is for Awhi Incubator Crew and guests only.)

For those who want to experiment with electronics creatively, we are running an e-textile workshop! E-textiles are soft, flexible circuits that can be sewn into fabric to create interactive projects. Using conductive thread, you can create circuits that sense touch, light, temperature, and more.  With e-textiles, you can bring a new level of interactivity and creativity to projects.

In this workshop Professor Frances Joseph (see bio below) and Kim Newall will teach you the basics of creating a pressure sensor, a stretch sensor and a tilt sensor.

While this workshop is closed, if you would like to register for future workshops like this, please send us a message – note the name of this workshop in the text.

Professor Frances Joseph

Frances is a designer and maker and a researcher at Huri Te Ao/The School of Future Environments at Auckland University of Technology and director of Intra-Action Initiatives. Her interest in new material practices and sustainability includes bio-materials, local production systems and material ecologies. She works with colleagues and postgraduate students to develop and deliver workshops to engage communities in making processes that support creativity, economic opportunity and localised solutions.

Claudine Nesalu

Claudine is a Creative Technologist, Teaching Assistant, and PhD candidate at Huri Te Ao/The School of Future Environments at Auckland University of Technology. Claudine’s work of creating physical interactive art installations saw her begin her research journey of experimenting with sustainable biobased materials such as bio-leather made from bacterial cellulose from Kombucha.

Claudine is now working towards her PhD in developing the material further using local ingredients and introducing it to the community.

Natalia Erima Fuentes Navarrete

Natalia is an Industrial Designer and co-founder of Twins Connection. Her areas of expertise are industrial design, additive manufacturing, and sustainability. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Creative Technologies at AUT, aiming to create innovative, sustainable solutions that benefit society and the environment

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Contact us to find out details of registration.

The three seminars will be presentation style with examples and demonstrations. The workshop will be hands on but has strictly limited numbers.

All workshops and seminars are free, as they are funded within the Awhi Incubator Project. We would like those who attend to acknowledge @awhiworld in social media as a thank you.

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