Fermenting Scobys (Symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeasts)

Jane Fox first experienced Scobys in 2010 when making the probiotic-tea Kombucha. A Scoby is a gelatinous form comprising various beneficial microbes (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts). During the process of brewing Kombucha the Scoby thrives on sweet black tea and produces lactic acid. The ‘Mother’ Scoby grows in size and produces ‘Babies’. The growth of this material is self-sustaining as long as the Scobys are fed and kept warm enough.

Fox is experimenting with Scobys and various processes to make sculptural form. To date it has been used for ‘selected’ clothing items and shoes – a form of vegan leather. Scoby material can be cut, stitched, moulded, pressed to shape, dehydrated and baked. It shrinks when dried and can be coloured. In its natural state it is not water-proof, and if you get caught in the rain wearing a Scoby shirt it will fall apart. Members of the Design Department at St. Martins School of Art, London are currently researching how to make this material water-proof; in addition to other applications.

These bio-degradable sculptural forms can be exhibited outside and will naturally decompose over time.

Remember to drink the delicious, fizzy Kombucha bottled straight from the fridge. Enjoy it natural or flavoured.