mushrooms

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Craft

Mushrooms Peek Out from Whimsical Vessels Crafted by Ceramicist Abby Dawson

July 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Abby Dawson, shared with permission

Based in southern Michigan where she runs Divine Pine Studios, ceramicist Abby Dawson creates sleek mugs and bowls sprouting with dense pockets of fungi. Adorned with three to four red-capped spores, each whimsical vessel is sculpted on a wheel or by hand, and very few are recreated. The ceramicist sees her fully functional vessels as both an intimate way to connect with others and as a reminder of environmental webs, describing her work as “inspired by repetitive patterns in nature and the commitment to art as a spiritual/therapeutic practice.”

Dawson is releasing a new collection of spore-laced vessels this weekend, and follow future releases on Instagram.

 

 

 



Science

Oyster Mushrooms Sprout from The Pages of a New Book About Fungi

May 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image © Merlin Sheldrake

Biologist and author Merlin Sheldrake is using a particularly self-referential marketing strategy for his new book Entangled Life. In a recent Instagram post, Sheldrake announced the mycelium-based project’s release with an image of the text literally bursting with fungi. “Here it is being devoured by Pleurotus, or oyster mushrooms. Pleurotus can digest many things, from crude oil to used cigarette butts, and is also delicious. Now Pleurotus has eaten Entangled Life, I can eat the Pleurotus, and so eat my words,” he writes. You can purchase your own (untarnished) copy from Bookshop.

 

 



Animation Illustration

Fluttering Moths Radiate Whimsy in Twinkling Gifs by Vlad Stankovic

January 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All gifs © Vlad Stankovic

Sydney-based illustrator and graphic designer Vlad Stankovic (previously) has a gift for crafting playful animated scenes. His recent “Piccalilli Moths” project—which was commissioned by Preen, a Los Angeles-based design and architecture firm, for a Culver City restaurant—features sparkly moths that are surrounded by insects and beetles with fluttering wings, twinkling mushrooms, and muted plants that sprout in the background. Created with watercolors and colored pencil before being transferred to Photoshop, the whimsical gifs “were printed using lenticular printing, a technique where the image gives an illusion of depth and movement when viewed from different angles,” the artist said in a statement about the project. Check out Etsy or Society6 to purchase some of Stankovic’s similarly charming illustrations and prints.

 

 



Documentary Science

Fantastic Fungi: A New Film Explores Earth's Vast Network of Mycelium and Mushrooms

December 17, 2019

Grace Ebert

A new film considers how mycelium and mushrooms have created an often-unseen network, similar to an underground internet, that has connected all living beings for the last 3.5 billion years. Featuring conversations with food journalist Eugenia Bone, mycologist Paul Stamets, and writer Michael Pollan, Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us dives into how the diverse underground web creates the soil necessary for plants and trees to root. “It’s amazing what we don’t know about mushrooms. They really are a frontier of knowledge,” Pollan says in the film.

Fantastic Fungi explores seven benefits of the organisms, including those dealing with biodiversity, innovation, food, arts, and mental, physical, and spiritual health. Screenings are scheduled worldwide through February 2020. Follow updates on the film directed by Louie Schwartzberg and the broader fungi movement on Instagram. (Thnx, Laura!)

 

 



Design

Mushrooms, Cattail Reeds, and Agricultural Waste are Reimagined to Construct "The Growing Pavilion"

October 31, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographs: Eric Meander

That’s not a giant glazed cake you’re looking at: The Growing Pavilion, which was created for Dutch Design Week is constructed with mycelium panels. Set on a timber frame, the panels are grown from mushrooms and then covered in an organic sealant originally developed by the Inca people. Cattail reeds comprise the floor and the interior and exterior benches are made using agricultural waste, for a fully eco-friendly structure.

The Growing Pavilion was designed over the course of three years by Pascal Leboucq and Erik Klarenbeek’s bio design studio Krown Design. In an interview with Dezeen, Leboucq explained the importance of scale in the project: “There are a lot of bio-based materials but they can be hard to recognise at first, and they often stay at sample stage. I really wanted to make a bigger statement, so that a lot of people can discover this fantastic material.” Mycelium panels are lightweight and are good insulators for heat and sound. With further ideation, Leboucq and Klarenbeek think that the material could last outdoors for a few years.

Discover more innovative designs from Dutch Design Week 2019, which was held in Einhoven, on the festival’s website. (via Dezeen)

 

 



Photography Science

Spectacular Mushrooms and Fungi Documented by Photographer Alison Pollack

October 28, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Cookeina sulcipes, Tropical Goblet. Location: Colombia

Photographer Alison Pollack’s subject of choice is usually hiding in plain sight. To find the minuscule but magnificent fungi and Myxomycetes that she shares on @marin_mushrooms, Pollack drops down to hands and knees with a magnifying glass. “The smaller they are, the more challenging they are to photograph, but I absolutely love the challenge,” Pollack tells Colossal. “My goal is to show people the beauty of these tiny treasures that are all around the forest but barely visible unless you look very very closely.”

Pollack, who is a mathematician by training and “computer geek” by trade (she is now retired from an environmental consulting career), relishes the technical and creative challenges of being a self-taught photographer. She seeks to create compelling artistic beauty with her images while also depicting scientific details in sharp focus. Pollack explains that focus stacking allows her to capture the depth and texture of her small subjects, sometimes incorporating upwards of one hundred photos to create a single image.

To increase the breadth and depth of her discoveries, Pollack travels nationally—and sometimes abroad—to find more fungi and Myxomycetes during her native California’s dry season. She also invests in relationships with other mushroomers, attending weekend gatherings to learn from her peers. “I would love to be able to travel more to different parts of the world to look for and photograph mushrooms and myxos,” Pollack tells Colossal. “Australia and New Zealand, and tropical regions, have mushrooms and myxos that really call to me, and I hope to be able to travel to those areas some day. But every walk in my local woods is a mycelial adventure!”

You can explore more of Pollack’s previous fungi finds on Colossal and follow along with her latest discoveries via Instagram. Pollack also offers prints of her photographs; if interested, contact her on Instagram as well.

Didymium squamulosum. Location: Mt Tamalpais, CA. Composite photo to show detail on both the stipe and cap with sporotheca.

Ascocoryne sarcoides and Trichia. Location: Trout Lake, WA

Willkommlangea reticulata. Location: Fairbanks, AK

Phillipsia domingensis. Location: Colombia

Physarum. Location: Fairbanks, AK

Crepidotus crocophyllus. Location: Pt Reyes, CA

Physarum. Location: Mt Tamalpais, CA

Leocarpus fragilis. Location: Fairbanks, AK

Mycena strobilinoidea and Clavulina. Location: Gifford Pinchot State Park, PA