Insect Byproducts Used to Create Sculptural Objects

11.25.14 | By
Insect Byproducts Used to Create Sculptural Objects

Yep, you read that right. Insect byproducts.

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Growing up in a family of beekeepers, Britain-based designer Marlène Huissoud was always intrigued by the idea of using insects and their waste streams to create artifacts.

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Inspired by the viability of creating a symbiotic relationship between humans and insects, Huissoud looked at two insects in particular – the honeybee and the Indian silkworm.

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The everyday honeybee collects propolis, a resinous mixture gathered from sap. The honeybee uses propolis to seal their hive, and Houissad used it to create a collection of glass-like objects using a variety of glass manipulation techniques.

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It results in mysterious, black objects with unexpected textures.

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Indian silkworms create a hard cocoon that is discarded when they reach maturity. Composed of raw silk, Houissad extracted the individual silk fibers that includes a natural glue called Sericin.

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By activating the glue through heating the fibers and adding water, it creates a strong, paper-like material. Houissad further varnishes the paper with propolis, creating a wooden, leather-like material that can be used for a variety of designs – including furniture or even clothing.

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Take a glimpse of how it works below.

Photos by Yesenia Thibault Picazo & Helene Combal Weiss, Studio IMMATTERS.

After surviving a quarter life crisis, Nanette went from working in healthcare canadian meds to pursuing her loves of design, food and writing. During the day she works in social media marketing, by night she writes for Design Milk. You can find more of her work at