mushrooms

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Design

Shaped Like a Mushroom Cap, This Sustainable Pendant Lamp Is Grown from Fungi

November 7, 2022

Kate Mothes

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

All images © Myceen, shared with permission

Fungi isn’t usually something we welcome indoors, but Estonian studio Myceen sees home decoration a bit differently. Focusing on furniture and interior design products, the team has found an enlightening application for mycelium, the fibrous root-like system produced by fungus that spreads below the Earth’s surface and gathers nutrients. “B-Wise” is a sustainably-grown pendant lamp (you read that right!) that combines one of nature’s most resilient materials with recycled byproducts into a light fixture that looks like it was just plucked from the soil.

The production of each piece begins with combining organic waste materials like sawdust and straw into a mold along with the mycelium, giving the organism five weeks’ worth of food to promote expansion. After that, the lampshade is removed from the mold and dehydrated to prevent any further growth.

You can see more work from Myceen on its website and on Instagram. (via Yanko Design)

 

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

A pendant lamp made from organic material and textured with mycelium.

 

 

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Art

Deadly Plants Squashed Under Plastic by Artist Ant Hamlyn Question the Paradox of Preservation

September 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Daffs,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters. All images courtesy of Moosey Art Norwich, shared with permission

The botanical works of West London-based artist Ant Hamlyn are studies of dichotomies and paradoxes. Polarities of the organic and synthetic, comfort and danger, and preservation and destruction emerge from his sculptures, which are comprised of playful, stylized interpretations of natural life pressed under sheets of acrylic.

On view as part of his solo show Tread Softly, Hamlyn’s most recent pieces include yellow daffodils, nightshades, and a pink flowering cactus that, although alluring for their blossoms, are extremely harmful if touched or ingested in real life. This sinister undertone pervades the body of work, which broadly addresses the precarious boundary between life and death. All of Hamlyn’s squished fabric specimens, for example, are depicted at their prime while being suffocated under a polyurethane coating and plastic panel. The artist shares:

When I think about the past time of ‘pressing flowers,’ I think about how when we crush a flower to preserve its beauty, we essentially destroy it to preserve it. These works are at once a celebration and a critique. The human relationship to flowers is a complex one in the way they symbolise love and loss simultaneously. For example, we give dying flowers to each other both in celebration and in grief.

If you’re in Norwich, you can see Tread Softly through October 8 at Moosey Art. Otherwise, head to the artist’s site and Instagram for more of his squished botanicals. (via It’s Nice That)

 

“Fly Agaric,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

“Deadly Nightshade,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

“Pink Flowering Cactus,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

Left: “Thistle,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters. Right: “Red Dragon Fly Trap,” 60 x 50 x 8 centimeters

“Lily of the Valley,” 60 x 50 x 8 centimeters

 

 



Design

Piece Together Nature’s Tiny Wonders with Miniature Jigsaw Puzzles from Nervous System

April 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Nervous System, shared with permission

The innovative team over at the Catskills-based studio Nervous System (previously) released a new line of miniature jigsaws that match organic shapes with similarly natural subject matter. All spanning less than eight inches, a spotted mushroom, mottled moth, fern, succulent, and blooming begonia comprise the collection that’s a small but challenging display of the planet’s tiny wonders. Each puzzle is encased in a plywood frame and has approximately 40-45 pieces with one whimsy cut in the shape of the larger form. Nervous System plans to add to the series in the coming months, and you can shop the puzzles shown here on its site.

 

 

 



Art

Through Bronze Mushrooms and Gilded Cicadas, Xiaojing Yan Links Chinese Legend and Nature

March 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Tiger’s Embrace” (2021), painted wood. All images © Xiaojing Yan, shared with permission

The wide, reddish-brown fungi known as lingzhi, or reishi, has long been revered as the mushroom of immortality, said to grant eternal life to anyone who consumes one of its spores. This ancient belief founds some Chinese legends and is also a mainstay of Xiaojing Yan’s practice. Based in Toronto, the artist has created a body of work that’s broad in medium and subject matter, ranging from small sculptures installed in circular formations to bulbous paper lanterns with rotating parts. Each piece, though, hearkens back to Yan’s experience as a first-generation Chinese-Canadian and her interest in the way the formidable power of nature continually intersects with culture, art, and lore.

Displayed in precise patterns, both Yan’s 2014 work “Lingzhi” and 2020 installation “Fairy Ring” are comprised of bronze mushrooms finished with a turquoise patina. The texture is enhanced, the artist shares, to mimic concentric tree rings and prompt questions of aging and time. “I arranged them onto the wall in the way that bracket mushrooms would grow in steps in nature,” she writes.Against the white wall, these hoary objects appear to float in space. Bronze is often associated with monuments, images of power, or eternity and creates tension with lingzhi’s delicate nature and mythology.” In conjunction with immortalizing the fungi in alloy, Yan also uses the actual spongy spores in other pieces, including in coating busts and sculptures with the fleshy growths.

 

Detail of “Fairy Ring” (2020), bronze with patina

Similarly focused on symbols from nature, Yan’s more animalistic works involve gilded cicada exoskeletons suspended as a winding staircase and an animated series of cocoon-like sculptures that twirl in a circular motion. “Tiger’s Embrace,” a recently carved wooden sculpture, nests alternating depictions of the cat and a human figure in diminishing forms. Commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum where it’s on display through January 2023, the piece celebrates the Year of the Tiger and is the first in a series of all twelve signs in the Chinese zodiac. The hybrid work, which blurs the distinction between people and animals, “is also based on the Chinese custom of dressing children in tiger hats for good luck and protection,” she says. “The warrior’s lion skin hat turning into a cute baby’s tiger hat can’t stop me from pondering over self-transformation and adaptation.”

Yan has exhibitions slated for Paris, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Nevada in the coming months, and she is currently working on a project supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Explore a larger portfolio of folklore-infused pieces on her site and Instagram.

 

Detail of “Song of the Cicada” (2017), cicadae exuviate, filament, gold paint, 7.2 x 9 x 13.5 feet

“Song of the Cicada” (2017), cicadae exuviate, filament, gold paint, 7.2 x 9 x 13.5 feet

“Tiger’s Embrace” (2021), painted wood

“Fairy Ring” (2020), bronze with patina

“In The Shells” (2019), paper, reed, uv coating

“Lingzhi” (2014), cast bronze

 

 



Art Craft

Embroidered Sculptures Recreate Lifelike Mushrooms, Lichen, and Fungi in Thread

February 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Amanda Cobbett, shared with permission

Amanda Cobbett suspends a singular moment in the fleeting lives of fungi by stitching their likeness in thread. The textile artist photographs and gathers specimens that she brings back to her Surrey Hills-based studio, where she finds fibers to match pale green lichens and golden chanterelles. Using a free-motion embroidery technique on a sewing machine, she then stitches multiple layers onto a piece of dissolvable fabric that, once the organism is complete, is washed away to leave just the mushroom or mossy bark intact. As a scroll through her Instagram reveals, the resulting sculptures are so realistic in color, shape, and size that it’s difficult to distinguish the artist’s iterations from their counterparts.

Currently, Cobbett is preparing a collection that will head to the Artful Craft exhibition at Make Southwest, which opens on April 2. (via Lustik)

 

 

 



Art

Minuscule Landscapes and Tiny Creatures Nestle Inside Painted Pennies and Other Coins

February 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Bryanna Marie, courtesy of Abend Gallery

Within the confines of a coin, Bryanna Marie paints quaint cabins, idyllic landscapes, and whimsical mushrooms with spotted caps. The Tucson-based artist’s fascination with miniature canvases started back in 2014 when she painted a 3 x 3-inch piece, and she’s since gravitated toward smaller spaces, ending up with the 1-inch diameters of pennies and other currencies. Rendered in oil paint, each work corresponds to the coin’s origin. “For instance, I’ll use an Irish penny for their rolling hills, or a Euro to paint my trips to France,” she shares.

For more of the artist’s miniature creations, visit her site and Instagram, and shop available pieces at Abend Gallery. (via Escape Kit)