“Hyphae Bag” is a textile piece inspired by the permeability of matter. The work focuses on how organic materials are ephemeral and part of a cycle of decay whereas synthetic materials are “permanent”.  Conceptually, I was interested in how single-use materials such as plastic bags are used once but have a life cycle that will outlive all of us.  An everyday object that seems so common and so unimportant to our lives has such lasting effects. Meanwhile organic matter and living things–which we create strong connections with–vanish, decay, and ultimately leave us. This work aimed to recreate a plastic bag or a shopping bag made out of natural textiles like cotton, linen, and wool. Shopping bags represent constant consumption and material gain and I wanted to envision a bag that instead represented the fragility of organic and natural materials.
“Hyphae bag” is created in a quilt-like way, as quilts often tell a story and have some special sentimental meaning. The different fabrics were dyed using natural dyes and felted by hand to replicate this idea of decay and the consumption of mold. As I thought of the idea of decay–the final stage of the life cycle–it came to me how all things that die give life to another thing. Species feed off of each other, and plastic and foreign materials disrupt this cycle. I thought of the idea of a “natural” bag that as it decays has organisms that are coming to be from it. Organisms like mold and bacteria. Mold feeds off organic matter; it absorbs it and feeds off of it until it rots.  Therefore, the bag employed a felting technique to look like it was covered in mold and decayed. Showing that in the end decay and growth are one and the same. That all materials are part of one natural world and that synthetic materials are foreign to such. Mold especially encaptures the contrast between life and death as it has always scared me and grossed me out.
It produces fear in me as if the mold will consume me as it consumes other things. I think of plastic as clean and of mold as a destructive force. The truth is mold is just a natural process and what truly will destroy us is these disruptive synthetic materials that initially seem so clean to me. Plastic lasts forever and for years will not decay. Plastic polluting the earth poisons our environment and in the end, will kill us.

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