Artist Manipulates Roots to Grow in Beautiful Intricate Patterns


German artist Diana Scherer has developed a technique that allows her to manipulate the roots of plants to grow in amazing intricate patterns. In collaboration with the scientists at the Radboud University, Diana has been testing plant roots as a medium for creating patterns and networks, and to discover a root system from which a durable material can be developed.

Inspired by the dynamics of below ground plant parts, her project “Interwoven,” involves the careful channeling of root systems to create spirals, braids and motifs found in traditional woven textiles. The seeds are placed in special templates that mold or train the roots to follow a predetermined pattern. As the roots grow, they curl and braid around themselves and conform to the patterns.

After harvesting the roots, she immediately takes a photograph with a technical camera, which captures details that aren’t necessarily visible to the naked eye. By controlling the roots and domesticating them to do her bidding, Diana has been able to produce a variety of different textures. She has recently been awarded with the New Material Fellow Award.

Diana is exploring the possibility of, among other things, growing a dress underground. Her project is also beneficial for the environment as part of the carbon-dioxide taken by the plants is fixed in the roots thus helping to remove carbon from the air.

Roots Grow in Intricate Patterns

A post shared by Samantha Yang (@samantha.yue) on

Interwoven Wheat Roots

A post shared by Inge Pouw (@ingepouwstyling) on

Green Carpet

Plant Root Intelligence

[Images: @instagram]