designer conserves soured milk in textiles repeating bacterial patterns

designer conserves soured milk in textiles repeating bacterial patterns

in contrast to industrially produced yoghurt, a naturally fermented batch of soured milk can be prepared for producing new dairy products. this batch is called ‘starter culture’. ‘wanderer’ is a series of fabrics with different patterns designed by xijing xu, conceived in the visual style of certain cultures where the receipts come from. through adding local soured milk, these patterns become a ‘storage medium’ for a starter culture of this product.

the starter culture of matsoni, georgian dairy product



during her search for different types of soured milk from all over the world, designer xijing xu was particularly fascinated by the form of the storage of the cultures: cotton, handkerchiefs or even textiles. people apply soured milk on these mediums and dehydrate them, therefore the bacteria can be preserved longer.




the transformation of the preservation form has broken the limitation of time and space, while the varieties of the form could be considered an extension of the cultures’ vitality and their living range. inspired by this, the designer has applied the soured milk in certain forms on textiles, which are reusable as a starter culture for a new production cycle. the shapes are presented as graphics that visualize the bacteria involved in the fermenting process.

the starter culture of viili, finnish dairy product


the starter culture of filmjölk, swedish dairy product


drying the textile


the piece goes into a vessel to be mixed with fresh milk


the designer mails the pieces as presents


multiple textiles don’t take much space


preparing dairy products


printing patterns


weaving the squares together


putting the soured milk on the taxtiles


bacterial patterns


project info:


name: wanderer

designer: xijing xu


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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