Growing my own material was definitely a very rewarding experience. Words cannot describe how happy I was when I opened the lid this morning and saw the formulation of my leather. When I first began this project, I had doubts in whether I would actually be able to successfully create a reaction due to several reasons. First of all, the heater in my room is not warming enough even for me personally. Despite how I placed the leather kit away from the window, I thought the leather was still unable to foster due to the temperature. Luckily, for the past two weeks, the temperature outside had been steadily increasing, which is why I think the reaction occurred. Secondly, during the process of assembling and making, I had trouble making boiled water. Because the stove in my dorm is an electronic stove, the temperature only reaches a certain point. Despite my efforts in making sure the water is boiled, I was still worried that this may affect my result drastically. In addition to the boiled water component, I was also unsure that I have completed the sequence correctly, especially since I was worried about pouring boiling hot water into a plastic container which I ended up waiting for a little more longer to do than the kit has instructed. Due to all following reasons, in addition to how the kit seemed to have remained consistent for the first two weeks, I thought I had failed the project. Hence, I was genuinely surprised and happy that this wasn’t the case when I woke up and saw the result this morning.
In many ways, I feel like growing my own leather is like raising a child of my own. Nowadays, there are many games on our mobile phones that allow us to grow our own pets, farms, cities, and etcetera. In comparison to these games, I feel as if the Kombucha leather kit had the same effect psychologically. The only key difference between the two was that an actual sustainable product was created by participating in Kombucha leather growing, which in my opinion is far more rewarding than any of the games. In addition to the psychological reward, I also learned that it is possible for me to create a material on my own and actually live a more sustainable lifestyle. I learned that sustainability can actually be very simple and that small efforts count, too. Lastly, I find that patience above all else is the most important lesson I learned from this project.