Lace from oat roots – it’s self-woven

Blades of green grass with dewdrops, lit by the sun

Diana Scherer's invention that makes roots grow at will

At a time when the production of textiles consists of a bunch of complex processes for the transformation of various raw materials, including fibers and even petroleum products, one woman has come up with a promising way to create the textiles of the future – from natural products. Nature is the ultimate designer, but Diana Scherer is figuring out how to weave nature’s art into the textiles of the future in her Interwoven project.

In 2017, she developed a process that allows the roots of oats and wheat to grow like lace. Namely: cereals are extremely useful, but not only because they are perfect food, they can also provide our clothing, according to their creator.

Scherer has loved to draw and create things with her hands since she was little. As a teenager, she fell in love with fashion, fabrics and patterns, and when she was 20, she worked briefly in a London fashion company. The German then studied fine art in Amsterdam, jumping from painting to photography and graphic design. Until she looked into what has been hiding beneath the earth.

Women's white undergarment with french lace on a wooden surface, with white roses next to it
Photo: Unsplash

Sustainable fashion future

She notices that the roots of each plant look completely different, but they all resemble yarn. She places special shapes in the soil, they “guide” the growth of the root systems of the oats she has planted and they become complex geometric shapes – just like lace. Diana Scherer practically causes the roots to grow into bizarre structures, creating 3D textiles. And she knows exactly what the cloth will look like when it develops. Then she just digs it up and uses it for sewing.

The artist is actually developing an underground fabric weaving system. When she first shared her idea with scientists at Radboud University in the Netherlands, they were enthusiastic but skeptical that it would work. They let her try their equipment anyway, and a year later they’re happy because Scherer’s idea is a success.

If you decide to make your wedding dress from vegetable lace, it will look like it was made with a magic wand, but you should know that it will have a short life. However, taking into account that it does not require large costs to create the fabric, nor to recycle it, it is clear that Scherer’s idea has a great future and a sustainable fashion future.

Here is a visual of Diana Scherer’s project in development.


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