Fabulous Fungus Art

A common parasitic wood fungus can become your easel for delicate works of mushroom art.
By Roger Bossley
September/October 1979
Add to My MSN

Pick "living canvas" artist's fungus in late autumn or winter.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Walden Effect joins Mother Earth News

We're gearing up for spring on our southwest Virginia farm, planning the garden, pruning the perenni...

Biological Mosquito Control Also Kills Fungus Gnats

Summit Mosquito Bits®, a popular biological control that kills mos¬quito larvae, is now also approve...

Make Giant Bubbles at Home

Learn how to make giant bubbles like a professional bubble artist at home with this DIY video. Compl...

Tips for Cooking Artichokes

These helpful tips will help you make the most of your artichoke recipes.

You can gather a beautiful mushroom called the "artist fungus" (genus Fomes) from fence posts, stumps, and dead and dying trees. Then when etched with your own artistic designs, these woodland denizens turned mushroom art can be sold for $5 to $10 apiece!

Most deciduous trees will ultimately fall prey to such parasitic bracket mushrooms (the fungi are characterized by hard-shelled tops and light, spore-covered, leathery undersides), but the members of the genus Fomes are most easily found in wet ash or beech woodlands.

When you harvest this natural art product, you are actually "doctoring" the forest, because one such living mushroom releases 30 billion spares in each 24 hour period of its six-month growth. These tiny "seeds" are carried by the wind to wounds in nearby trees and grow new, destructive fungi.

It's best to pick the tough, woody polypores in the late autumn or winter months and then to dry the well-shaped, usable specimens for a week or more before you draw on the undersides with a sharp nail, etching tool, or dry fountain pen. For light shades, apply only a little pressure to your instrument. Dark tones are obtained by making deep marks on the fungus' surface. The colors and shades, which range from buff to dark brown, will also vary with the abundance or scarcity of powdery spores.

When a sketch is finished, apply one or two coats of high-grade, non-yellowing polyurethane and allow each coat to soak in evenly. (The varnish will darken the picture, but only temporarily.) When it's dry, you can scratch the varnish to further emphasize the light areas of the etching. Your fungal artwork can then be hung by a small hook fastened in the top of the hard-shelled side, or—with three nails as legs—it can be displayed as a miniature mushroom easel.








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.