In the world of art, fashion, and design, there exist individuals that push the boundaries of creativity to new heights. Zena Holloway, a self-taught photographer, maker, and material innovator, is undoubtedly one such visionary.
Through her groundbreaking initiative known as Rootfull, she embarks on a journey to unravel the remarkable binding properties of roots, resulting in the creation of unique artifacts that seamlessly blend nature and human ingenuity.
We had the immense pleasure of showcasing some of Zena’s extraordinarily beautiful pieces in one of our latest projects which entailed co-designing a stand concept for our dear client Lamigraf who attended the Interzum fair (surface design for the furniture industry) in Cologne. Read the full post here.
In today’s post, we would like to invite you to delve into the captivating world of Zena Holloway and her mission to craft sustainable textiles grown from roots, inspiring a future that prioritizes conscientious craftsmanship and environmental well-being.
The Power of Root
Roots are the invisible building blocks that form the foundations of life in our natural world. Zena Holloway recognized the immense potential of this living material to transcend its traditional role and take on new forms such as wearable art and sculptures. Collaborating with Nature, Zena grows grass root into captivating and sustainable creations, sparking the question:
What if we could grow our clothes from seeds?
Her innovative work not only showcases the promising possibilities of root-grown textiles but also envisions a future where fashion is sustainable, home-grown, and compostable.
Biodesign & Craft
Zena Holloway’s journey involves a very special collaboration with nature. Through her creative process, she harnesses the growth of wheatgrass seed, cultivated in meticulously carved templates made from beeswax. Over a span of 12 days, the shoots grow up to 20cm, while the roots intricately bind below to form naturally woven structures. Sustainability is a priority in this process, using organic and locally sourced ingredients. Moreover, water is reused from run-off, and any excess shoot, seed, or root is repurposed as animal fodder, leaving no waste behind.
No two pieces ever grow the same. Each growing cycle produces a different result, urging Zena to engage in a meticulous process of sewing, cutting, teasing, joining, plucking, and setting until the root finds its optimal, organic form. Root, as a versatile material, allows for large flexible structures to be grown or molded into sturdy vessels.
Zena Holloway’s deep connection with the ocean and her extensive experience as a commercial underwater photographer has inspired her to intertwine her art with a powerful message of ocean conservation. As she witnessed the alarming effects of underwater pollution, human impact, and coral bleaching, her dedication to sustainability, materiality, and bio-design grew exponentially.
Her work with root serves as a visual metaphor, emulating the textures and patterns of coral, to highlight the devastating consequences of coral reef bleaching caused by global warming. Just as roots underpin the natural world above ground, coral forms the foundation for the ecosystems of our oceans.
Zena Holloway’s Rootfull initiative is a testament to the potential of working in harmony with nature to create sustainable art and fashion. Through her exploration of root as a binding material, she challenges the traditional boundaries of design and inspires a shift towards a more thoughtfully crafted and environmentally conscious world. Her creations not only showcase the artistic beauty of root-grown textiles but also raise awareness about the fragility of our oceans and the urgent need for conservation.
Zena Holloway’s visionary approach paves the way for a future where fashion and art can be grown, not made, leaving a positive and lasting impact on our collective consciousness.
Images: © Zena Holloway