Anubha Sood

Growth - Textile and the natural world

Anubha Sood has been building a body of work that explores the natural world through textiles. Her pieces were the outcome of several experiments, the first of which was using a kombucha biomaterial; a gel-like film grown by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast that feeds on a mixture of tea and sugar. In her study, the microorganism was made to ingest different colored tea to test for color absorption. The end material was coated with a paste made of fermented persimmon fruit solution and tested for water resistance. The second experiment used her own hair as a growing material, promoting the idea that there is no waste in the natural world. Sood found that human hair is a fiber that can be vital for plant growth and samples were crafted from a collection of her own hair preserved from 2010 to 2018. She discovered that human hair tested as a rich source of nitrogen once it started to mineralize. The fiber was then felted into flat textile surfaces that supported plant growth and retained water for longer periods. The plant roots were observed gravitating towards the felted surfaces and over time, are predicted to exist independently once the hair completely mineralizes and disappears leaving only a trace of it behind. The third experiment focused on ocean kelp and salt structures as new materials to combat climate change. Sood’s ongoing research to combine indigenous knowledge of making (weaving) with a new material (ocean kelp), looks into exploring ocean kelp as a future material to build a sustainable climate, especially for the vulnerable.

Anubha Sood is an artist and designer merging ancient practices of making with contemporary problem solving. Born in India, Sood is currently completing her MFA in Textiles at Parsons School of Design in New York.

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