Ceramics can be found all over the world and the craft of making ceramics is one of the oldest methods of manufacturing. Since its beginnings the industrialisation of ceramics has allowed for mass production, but the general methods have not changed in thousands of years. Although ceramic as a material is seen as more sustainable than say plastic, it is still polluting. In order to produce a piece, clay has to be extracted from the earth before undergoing a number of different processes. One of the most problematic processes is the energy-consuming and carbon-heavy kiln firing. This is why designer Nicole Chrysikou has explored ways of making bioceramic, which requires no kiln firing as it is made by living organisms and biological processes.


BacTerra is a project that utilises bacteria, through biofabrication, to create an alternative ceramic that is self-fired. The pieces are even biologically glazed through the process of biomineralisation. Bacteria acts as the main ingredient, but it is also mixed with powdered ceramic waste. providing a making technique where ceramic waste and bacteria are her main ingredient. Therefore not only does this project utilise waste, but it also shows promise in the use of living organisms in traditional craft techniques, which could help make them become more sustainable. Working at the intersection of craft, science, and technology.


Chrysikou hopes to start a conversation about the promising possibilities of biotechnology within pottery. Industrial biotechnology is now seen as one of the most promising technologies. Using living organisms could help address some of the world’s significant challenges by creating new materials and processes that are more environmentally friendly.




Nicole Chrysikou

Maël Hénaff