Fabulous Fungus Art

A common parasitic wood fungus can become your easel for delicate works of mushroom art.

| September/October 1979

  • 059-mushroom-art.jpg
    Four fine specimens of mushroom art. A tidy little home business can be built around decorating selling such designs. All that's needed are some bracket mushrooms, an engraving tool (a sharp nail or even a dry fountain pen will do), and some polyurethane varnish to protect them.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 059-mushroom-art-02.jpg
    Pick "living canvas" artist's fungus in late autumn or winter.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • 059-mushroom-art.jpg
  • 059-mushroom-art-02.jpg

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.






topeka-fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

October 19-20, 2019
Topeka, Kansas

Join us in the heart of the Midwest to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.

LEARN MORE






Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. 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 $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters



click me