GIY Maker Spotlight: Clémence Germain
Q: What first sparked your interest in the realm of mycology?
A: I have always been interested in biology. I grew up in the countryside, and I guess I was always quite perceptive to changes in the ecosystem around me. I studied biology until my creative side persuaded me to pursue product design, but I have always found huge inspiration in the natural sciences. Its from this natural curiosity in product design and biology that lead me to discover mycology.
Q: What exactly are you researching/working on?
A: The focus of my current research is to use unexpected and/or innovative materials to raise awareness in terms of the global waste problems we are currently facing. I started my research by investigating how waste material can be used as a base for a new sustainable material, while also staying true to the material and understanding which are its strongest and weakest attributes. My experiment with mycelium is one of the early steps into that bigger project of exploration: I’m very excited about the upcoming bacteria and algae material that Ecovative is going to launch.
Q: What is the purpose of your research/work?
A: I am very concerned by climate change and the urge to find solutions. As a product designer, it is my responsibility to choose the right option. I want to prove that there are plenty of cheap and efficient alternatives to create sustainable products. We might also discover that some alternative materials can be industrialised relatively easily and might be cheaper and more sustainable than many petroleum based products.
Q: What do you like most about working with mushrooms/mycelium?
A: The amazing part is that the material creates itself. It is not extracted from our planet’s reserves and doesn’t need tons of energy nor water to be refined. It takes time and needs care, and those are important values I want to give to my products. In analogy, this kind of process allows us to reflects on our ways of life and allows us to slow down.
Also, I love the gooey texture when I unmold the fresh grown product, and the “deep forest” smell.