Growing mycelium into a face form

I started this process weeks ago with 2 faces. One had a great mushroom flush within 2 weeks, but the body/construct was crumbling so I discarded it for recycling (composting another work which is outside in the garden). It seems the growing medium should have much more paper and wood bark to act as food (cellulose for the oyster mushrooms which was inoculated into the medium. I also think this would then become a denser object which could keep its form. I am considering exposing it to heat and seeing if it would help with hardening this, but that would kill the growth of mycelium. My question is if I could innoculate it again. Would the medium be sufficient for the mycelium to feed on it? I am taking to mushroom growers to assist my use of medium and process of making mycelium. I envision making moulds into which mycelium can grow to become 3d forms/sculptures which I can then take out, expose to heat and then be able to show as a complete sculpture made from mushrooms.

Fig. 1

Working with and researching the idea of what is means to be making art with a living material.

It took me to think about a recent article I read in Materiality: Documents on Contemporary Arts. Here Tim Ingold writes an essay: Making Culture and Weaving the World (2000) . He discusses how we look at making as objects of human culture, but what about nests, hives and dams? He looks at weaving and how birds create.

I am thinking about imprints (mark-making) we leave as a theme of ongoing reflection and research. As artists, we use tools, like our brush strokes and compare or work with how the (non-human) also leaves an imprint. I am using mushrooms to contribute to a work I started to do in an OCA tutor lead session earlier in this year, but never resolved the work. It was done with charcoal and an eraser about the ideas of drawing through repetition and iteration. I found a few mushrooms scattered in the garden. They are called Agaricus californicus, a saprobic mushroom and also mildly toxic, according to my app. I placed them onto the drawing and hope their dark spores will bring interesting marks to my drawing.

The images below show the process over three days .

The outcome after I sprayed it with fixative, 17 October 2022

I used the same mushrooms to make only spores on Japanese paper. Here I intended to create a composition. These works are 46×31 cm.

I can add my paintings of mushroom spores, done with mushroom ink (Coprinus mushrooms) and hang them vertically alongside these envisioned panels. I need to consider the size of the panels – think about repetition, series, flow, colour, materials used, the surface on which the work will be done, and the surface to which the panels will be attached. Considering panels with mushrooms I have mostly brown/dark brown to black/ white or beige/pink spore print to consider and this would imply the use of white and black surfaces. This could be paper (Japanese and or velour is considered, but archival paper such as Hannemuhle is also considered) I need to source a supply of black paper.

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