Crafting the Body

Amy Congdon

What if we could craft couture parts for the body?

Designers and scientists are now beginning to work together to develop bodily repairs, which can become a bespoke feature. Crafting the Body is a research project and an installation which explores the application of traditional textile craft techniques, such as embroidery and lace-making, to the field of tissue engineering and body repair.

Working in the Tissue Engineering Laboratory with Lucy Di-Silvio in the Centre for Oral, Clinical and Translational Sciences at King’s College London, Congdon uses her intimate knowledge of textiles and materials to research and prototype the making of couture biological body parts. Using traditional textile techniques and materials with differently sized threads to attempt to control the growth of cells, this work suggests a future in which patients will be able to grow a living ornament as a replacement for a damaged body part, in need of repair or replacement.

Research behind this work was funded by a Central Saint Martins Part-time fees only bursary. The work is also kindly supported by the Centre for Oral, Clinical and Translational Sciences at King's College London and The Design & Living Systems Laboratory at Central Saint Martins, UAL.

About the contributor(s) 

Amy Congdon is a New York-based textile designer. In her work Amy investigates the crossovers between textile craft and tissue-engineering. Amy currently works as Associate Director or Materials Designer for biotech start-up Modern Meadow. Amy is currently undertaking a PhD at Central Saint Martins with the Design and Living Systems Lab, and the Centre of Oral, Clinical and Translational Science at King's College London.

Lucy Di-Silvio is Professor of Tissue Engineering in the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, King's College London. Her research focusses on the regeneration of tissues using stem cell technology and its translation and application for specific clinical problems related largely to oral, craniofacial and orthopaedics.