Thursday, May 11, 2017

Art Talk: Cri Kars-Marshall

Mycelium: Mushroom's Gift to Artists

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Cri Kars-Marshall shared her excitement about an uncommon medium for some of her recent art—a primordial substance with novel uses. Mycelium, the underground network of thread-like fungal cells of mushrooms, is lately attracting attention not just of scientists and engineers impressed with its flexible practical uses. Mycelium is also of growing interest to a range of American and European artists working in sculpture, photography, textiles, leather, architecture, wood, interior design, and even abstract painting.

Samples from recent experiments with mycelium

Because I've stumbled across something new, the potential uses of mycelium. I'm convinced it's something we'll hear more about in the coming decades. Some people call it the plastic of the future. And I think all of us, especially artists, may want to know about this. For some time now I've been interested in hunting for wild mushrooms. We've just had morel mushroom season, and it was a great year for finding lots of them. When in August last I saw in my neighbors yard, a huge growth of oyster mushrooms I got excited. I asked if I could take some pictures and take a small piece home. This started a wonderful afternoon of taking pictures with my Iphone; I first held them up to the sun, and then took them inside, and setup a lamp in my studio to take more images. At the end of the day I realized that the mushrooms wouldn't last for very long in my studio, and I cooked them up for dinner; but I also decided to learn more about how to grow them, so I wouldn't have to wait for another season to make more photos. I didn't realize that this decision would include a whole new discovery about using mushroom mycelium as an art medium.
Guests handling samples and asking questions about Cri's process

Take a look at this video to hear Cri's full talk.  

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