Plaque of Teódula Kalaw África – Bacterial Cellulose

Austin Chia, Interdisciplinary Sculpture, 2024

Project Overview

Bacterial Cellulose is a relatively new material to me, therefore i wanted to learn more about its history. As I delved deeper into its history, I realised that one of the pioneers who created Nata De Coco (a substance very similar to bacterial cellulose) is a Filipino scientist named Teódula Kalaw África. I wanted to honor her efforts in laying the foundation that allows me to play with this material in the present day.

As such, I attempted to create a Plaque to her with Bacterial Cellulose.


To preserve the shape of the cellulose, I decided to soak it in UV curable resin and cure it with UV light. To do so, I had to soak the cellulose in the resin several times to allow the resin to replace the water via diffusion.

I then 3D printed a model of Teódula Kalaw África face. I used this 3D print to create a silicone mould. The cellulose was then pressed into the silicone mould and exposed to UV light for about 45 mins to cure.

Note: when it fully cures, it would turn translucent. If there is still moisture in it, the cellulose will appear cloudy white. It is also possible to reintroduce moisture into the cured cellulose by soaking it in a tub of water overnight.

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