“Recycling the Dead” Proposes Textile Products From Cremated Remains

by , 06/18/12   filed under: Eco-Art, Eco-Textiles, Featured

Kerry Greville, Textile Futures, Central Saint Martins, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, bizarre eco-fashion, eco-art, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, cremation


“Salvage: Recycling the Dead” is more thought experiment than serious proposal, but it does suggest that we explore every possible avenue in a peak-everything world, no matter the level of discomfort it brings. “As a designer, I am concerned and driven by the ways we are able to detach ourselves from the source of our resource,” the designer tells Ecouterre. “Many in the western hemisphere see humankind as being separate from nature, as opposed to part of it. We identify materials as being ‘man-made,’ [which suggests] that the resources used in the making did not originate in nature. We are at odds with what is and should be available to us.”

Grevile suggests that we explore every possible avenue in a post-everything world, no matter our level of discomfort.

The human body, after all, is a gold mine of base and precious metals, including copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and iron. Still, even the most pragmatic among us is likely to give pause over the social and emotional implications of harvesting the dead.

The debate Greville incites parallels current debates over the ownership of our bodies. Among her inspirations is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book Rebecca Skloot wrote about a poor Southern tobacco farmer whose cells were taken without her knowledge. “The book questions whether we should have ownership over body parts removed for medical reasons or if these waste elements should be seen as fair game for the medical research community, in order to progress medical research for the greater good,” she tells us.

Greville’s line of questioning is only the beginning. “There is much more to be investigated and I hope to continue develop my ideas further over the coming years,” she adds. “The next phase will focus on interrogating the material qualities within the ash.”

+ Salvage: Recycling the Dead

+ Kerry Greville

Related Posts

8 Responses to ““Recycling the Dead” Proposes Textile Products From Cremated Remains”

  1. RTS Textiles says:

    ‘extract chemical components from cremated remains’

    What about all the animals which are cremated and thrown away? Would this be a more viable option than human remains? Probably more in abundance and a step forward towards human acceptance?

  2. p.jass says:

    Bravo ! I propose to this pure student to have a look into the ”collection’ of human remains from Buchenwald and Stutthof(yes nazi concentration camps)used as lampshades (skin) and human hairs for matresses. And its also very possible that energy obtained from cremated body of my grandfather was used to warming up ss villas nearby the Auschwitz KZ.
    Im not surprise to see another ‘art student’ with schocking ideas like this. Der Zeitgeist.

  3. BlueOak says:

    Let’s agree on one thing – Greville talking like a kook.

  4. pea says:

    It’s a metaphor and thought experiment, an art project, a provocation – and a successful one, as you have been provoked.

  5. p.jass says:

    Provoking in that manner is wasting of time of others. Go and do something usefull for your Community.

  6. Pea says:

    Not everything in this world needs to be “useful” in a sense of utilitarianism. Ideas and art are useful in their own way – I find this project interesting and thought-provoking, so at least for me, and I suppose for some other people too, it is useful.

  7. kutchy says:

    Interesting but it’s not like we need “more cheap crap clothes that go from retail racks straight to the landfill”. I think the best way to “make use” of a / your dead body is to have a natural burial (pine box – no embalming) or feed it to the sharks. In that way you are replenishing the earth with all the lovely minerals. Cremation is OK, but I think it is a little wasteful and almost selfish. Dust to Dust..

  8. bbbbbb says:

    Interesting idea. However there are millions of dead animals picked up everyday that die from disease and other natural causes which would fit your requirements perfectly without looking at humans just yet. This is an avenue that should merit serious exploration.

Leave a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

Please note that gratuitous links to your site are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments.

Add your comments


Do you live in Canada? Register here

I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

You must agree to receive emails from this site to subscribe.


Lost your password?