Studio

Wild Mycelium Project


I have been exploring the feasibility of using wild-collected, native fungal mycelium to create textiles and sculptural work. I received Arts Council England (DYCP) funding in August 2021 to develop this project further. The following documents some of my work to date.


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Cloning process


Small samples of fungal tissue are removed from the fruiting bodies (mushrooms) found growing in deadwood. These biopsies are grown on nutrient agar in petri dish producing mycelium that forms the basis of the materials I am growing.


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Growth processes


Once mycelium has proliferated across the nutrient agar, it can be induced to grow through other substrates such as wood shaving. I am exploring a range of different means to grow mycelium, but broadly they are either sculptural or in sheets.


Photos document the growth stage of a cylindrical structure (white) and the same structure after it has been dried and preserved.


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Mycelium can also be encouraged to grow within a mold. These photos show how mycelium packed between two bowls will grow together forming a mycelial bowl. This structure was also induced to grow fruit.


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Much of my current research has been experimenting with creating sheets of mycelium, that could function as a form of textile. Once preserved, the fungal 'skin' has a leather-like appearance. The pigmentation, durability and the appearance of secondary structures is dependent on the species used.


Several images in this gallery show mycelium that has grown through materials such as fine mesh and a cotton T shirt, creating a hybrid textile.


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An additional aim is to explore how to induce fruiting with different species so that these structures can form part of the sculptural or textile works.


Queer environments


I have been exploring how plants, fungi and invertebrates can adapt and even thrive in environments that differ from those we might expect. As the environment continues to change due to our activities, it could become necessary to explore novel ways of lessening the detrimental effects we have on the natural world.


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