Fretting Traces

A Creative Investigation of the Bark Beetle in the Context of Materiality and Human-Environment Systems

Julia Rhein

April / April - 2023

Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin

Bachelor of Arts


With regard to the spread of the bark beetle in recent years, this project explores the synergies of the forestry and timber industries. It establishes new paradigms in material utilisation through the development of a product line around the idea of fretting marks as natural ornaments, creating a new appreciation of beetle wood as a resource. Through a series of product proposals, I intend to demonstrate the broad spectrum that has resulted from my exploration of beetle wood as a material: A veneer for interiors; prints based on the German names of the beetle species’ Buchdrucker ("letterpresser") and Kupferstecher ("copperplate engraver"); a curtain that reproduces the fretting traces as a negative in a three-dimensional format. Narrative urban furniture such as a bench that uses logs to show weathering processes and create habitats for insects, and a constructive reproduction of the marksin floor tiles where dirt forms part of the design.