But what if there is a way to achieve colour by nurturing nature instead of destroying it?
This Blue elf cup fungus can release a turquoise pigment into the object it is growing on- a property that holds a promise to completely eliminate the use of all chemicals in the textile dyeing process. When growing colouring fungi directly on materials, only two components are needed: simple nutrients as a food source and fungi. Blue-green pigment produced by the mushroom has shown equal colourfastness measurements to commercial dyes allowing to imagine future where fabric is coloured solely by living organisms
Future textile printing will rely on growing multiple organisms/colours and applying them on materials in life-friendly conditions. It means to adapt not only where the colour comes from but also how it is applied- Growth printer is designed to allow living organisms to grow in cartridges and then to be printed on materials. This will enable designers to create half-controlled designs, where the human selects the starting point of growth and food source, but the mushroom creates the rest of the pattern.
This method has the potential to revolutionise not only industrial material finishing methods but also the cultural perception of colour and could renew our connection with an appreciation of nature.