ALLOVER Effective Microorganisms

design project, 2019
Textiles surround us and sheath us at all times. They are, so to speak, our second skin and are in close contact with our microbiome. This proximity can be used to support our microbiome and thusly our environment by incorporating EM into textiles.

Many of the known microorganisms, especially bacteria, viruses and fungi, are often perceived as negative in our society. Never before has so much been disinfected in the way it happens nowadays. We live by the motto "Better kill all germs, than get sick". What many people are not aware of: the invisible living beings can adapt and can become resistant. The question that we must then ask ourselves is whether microorganisms are our enemies or whether we can become friends?

EM Technologie takes up this problem and tries to use the beneficial properties of microorganisms. Prof. Dr. Teruo Higa developed the theory of efficient microorganisms (EM) based on classifying microorganisms into dominant regenerative, dominant degenerative and indifferent. The latter follow the dominant process of an environment. EM is a mixture of diverse microorganisms of the dominant regenerative kind. If a degenerative process predominates sin a scenario, more dominant regenerative microorganisms have to be introduced, in order to change the milieu. By using EM, we can positively support our environment instead of working against it.

EM ceramic beads

EM ceramic is clay that has been kneaded with EM, temporarily stored, shaped and finally fired at a temperature of approximately 1300 °C. The EM ceramic beads are commercially available and are used, among other things, for water treatment.

EM ceramic powder + casein

EM ceramic powder is EM ceramic that has been pulverized. A binding agent is required to incorporate this powder into textiles. However, in order not to lose the effect of the EM, it must be of natural origin. Casein, which also functions as a glaze and consists of natural lactic acids, is an ideal aid here.

EM ceramic powder + casein + natural pigments

The aim of this project is to develop a wearable material that supports our microbiome and at the same time reflects it optically. In addition to the previous procedure, earth and mineral pigments are now added into the mixture to combine both approaches. Here again, the use of natural dyes is important to avoid impairing the function of EM.


Clara Santos Thomas, 2019
Part of the two-part project „Allover“
This project was developed within the context of the project
„Βιος λόγος – Mapping the Nature“
Prof. Zane Berzina
Support: Christian Frank Müller
Wintersemester 2018/2019
BA Textile and Surface Design
weißensee kunsthochschule berlin

© 2023 Clara Santos Thomas