Monica Louise Hartvigsen

I work with microbial colouring, mainly for textile application.


What craft do you work with? 

I work with microbial colouring, mainly for textile application. I have a design educational background as well as a biology background and the combination of the two, got me into working with the craft. I have worked with this craft for 2 years. My favorite techniques is seeing how the microbial colours come to live on materials for instance textile surfaces.

What inspires you to work with this craft? 

I am inspired my natural (local) surroundings and the nature and how I can use nature in my practice as collaborative partner and not just a static material or inspiration. I am inspired by the combination of design and nature and how I can design with nature in the design process to benefit all living organisms both human and non-human.

How do you start your creative process?

First I look for the organism I want to collaborate with. Maybe I need to go and look for it myself, with my ‘microbial isolation kit’ and find the bacteria or fungi in nature, or perhaps I get it from a scientist or culture collection. I then start to learn the new organism I now am going to collaborate with. How does it grow? What colour does it make? How can I apply to a material? In the process many things can go wrong. First of all, it is not easy finding a certain bacteria or fungi and isolating it, next step is growing it, which can also be tricky, also depending on the space it has to grow in. Even though it is challenging I also enjoy this part, since it brings me close to nature and the natural processes going on, when the bacteria produces the colour. Then I also enjoy applying the colour and seeing the beatiful colours come alive on a material surfaces, especially textiles where the construction and fiber also impacts how the colour appears.

How would you best describe your workspace and what tools could you not do without?

My workshop is set up like a small laboratory. I have a media (food for bacteria) preparation station, a grow station and a colouring station. I could not live without my pressure cooker since it is used for preparing media and colouring materials. Also, the space itself is important, I need to work in a dedicated workspace, to not get my bacteria or fungi contaminated.

Are there new techniques you would like to try?

I would like to learn more about foraging and the colours available in nature. Learn more techniques on how to engage with nature. In addition I would love to develop my aesthetic language by combining nature and design.

I would love to learn more about fibers and spinning of those and how the colour also depends on not only the construction of the textile and fibertype, but also the fiber spinning. I love to work in the intersections of natural science and design and I hope to be able to continue exploring this interdisciplinary field.

Media & Contact


Design School Kolding




Instagram: monicahartvigsen