Rachel Rosenkrantz is a sustainability-minded guitar-maker who is innovating with biomaterials. She trained as an industrial designer, but embarked on her career as a luthier; a maker of string instruments. Over the past several years she has integrated mycelium and other biomaterials in her quest to create more environmentally friendly, plastic-free instruments.
Rosenkrantz discovered that when you leave mushroom spores in a mold for a couple weeks, they will bloom into a puffy material, akin to brie. Once the mycelium mimics the rind of a soft-ripened cheese, Rosenkrantz dehydrates the matter. This results in a lightweight, biodegradable building material.
In a basement atelier she is growing materials like kombucha leather to make banjo heads and using fish leather to make pickguards. Traditionally luthiers construct guitars with woods including cedar, rosewood, mahogany and ebony, but Rosenkrantz has turned to more sustainable options.