Material Monday: Animal Glue

Material Monday: Animal Glue

Posted 16 January 2017 by Nirvana CPH

We start 2017 by looking into the many uses of binding agents. Our regular contributor Seetal Solanki of Ma-tt-er explore the many uses of a natural binding agent such as animal glue.

As far as binding agents are concerned, resin is one of the most common ones to use especially when it comes to creating any type of composite material.

Animal glues have existed since ancient times, although not commonly used. According to Wikipedia “The first known written procedures of making animal glue were about 2000 BC. Between 1500–1000 BC, it was used for wood furnishings and mural paintings, found even on the caskets of Egyptian Pharaohs.”

Now, designers such as Jorge Penadés produce innovative pieces of furniture from discarded leather which is then combined with an animal bone glue making the relationship between bone and skin.

The adhesives are produced by boiling down the animal bones, which are the by-product of the meat for a length of time at a specific temperature. Once the water has evaporated a stone-like substance is created which is then smashed and reveals the actual glue itself.

With the amount of meat being consumed in recent times, this could enable designers, artists and manufacturers to access a huge natural resource, making a less toxic waste stream and putting the animals to use through thinking about the whole system and not just for human consumption.

Nikolaj Steenfatt’s Impasto collection uses a combination of sawdust, coffee granules and animal glue, which are mixed with a pigment into a dough, pressed, rolled and folded into flat sheets. A process in which Steenfatt calls a “handmade – high tech” process making every piece in the collection unique.

Other uses of animal glue exist within paper manufacturing, gummed tapes, bookbinding and printing processes amongst many others. The many uses of one ingredient across many forms.