by Paula Camiña
How can biotechniques help regenerate our Galician craft heritage?
closed loop systems
About the project
Co-Obradoiro Galego or "Collaborative Galician Creation Space" is a collaborative project between three basket makers and a biodesigner working together in a local context, Galicia.
Galicia is located in the northwest of Spain, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean has supplied the Galician and Spanish populations throughout history, resulting in 602 tonnes of seafood exoskeletons being wasted every year. This is a danger to the environment and human health. Moreover, this situation has worsened in recent years, due to the manufacturing of fishing tools moving away from traditional fishing crafts.
2kg of Galician seafood exoskeletons. 11.02.2021
The objective of our project is to develop a flexible and biodegradable biomaterial from Galician seafood exoskeletons (usually an unused waste source)to help regenerate and revive our Galician craft heritage. Through using a lactic acid fermentation process -that requires a whey solution from the seafood shells - it is possible to obtain their natural pigments and chitosan (a flexible biopolymer).
Prawn exoskeleton under a microscope. E20X50
3 weeks fermentation process | Prawn and king-ox crab biomaterial weaving technique.
King crab-based biomaterial.
Ox crab-based biomaterial.
With this biodegradable material, we send a message about the permanence of these precious Galician basketry techniques, Galician basketry weavers, and the Galician culture through a material that disappears but reactivates the Galician economy.
During the production stage, traditional hand weaving crafts with vegetable fibres are applied simultaneously alongside new extrusion biotechniques. These design outcomes aim to rebuild Galician identity, reinterpret existing components present in the Galician culture, and reclaim crafts using elements from the sea.
Hand weaving prawn-based biomaterial.
Basketmaker: Rubén Berto.
Design concept | Galician granary and fishing trap re-interpreatiton.
Design concept | Hat and scallop shell re-interpreatiton.
Collaboration with the Galician basketry community formed the starting point for this project. Many thanks to Rubén Berto, Enrique Táboas, and Carlos González.
And to Olesya Kanevska, Roberto asal, Xan, Rodri Portelli, Olalla Rosende, Esperanza Piñeiro, María Martínez, Rosa Rodríguez, Olga Lestón, Maruja, Dominga and my family.
I am a London-based, Galician (1995) biodesign researcher who graduated in Industrial Design Engineering and Product Development in 2018. My BA design program taught me to develop innovative design concepts and adapt them for the manufacturing process. During the MA Biodesign, my concerns have encouraged me to study the biodesign field, researching ecological, scientific and cultural specificities, and shaping them into a conscious design in order to create a positive impact. I believe that listening, observing, understanding, and synthesizing contexts and practices makes it possible to extract the obvious and add the magnificent.
"Biodesign is a fascinating tool that not only allows individuals to relate with each other, but also with our planet"