Niche / 52 Forms of Fungi || #27

Burnt orange bolete is the final species that inspired an installation for Niche at Martin Park Nature Center.  I can't believe the exhibit has almost been up for a month!  I will be a little sad to take it down this weekend, but early next week I'll share some photos of the full installations for those of you who don't live near Oklahoma City or weren't able to make it out there.
In honor of the closing of my exhibit, I've also made a few additional burnt orange boletes which are now posted in my Etsy shop!  A little piece of Niche for your very own home… Check out the listing here.
As a forester and arborist I'm relatively familiar with the nature of the relationship between mycorrhizae and tree roots.  I've heard/read all about how they benefit one another and how that symbiosis works, but there is little pointed out in my arboriculture resources about the fruiting bodies of the mycorrhizal fungi… It's been fun learning more details about some of these species and "putting a face to the name" in terms of different species of fungi that benefit trees by increasing root surface area, thus aiding in the absorption of water and minerals.  Nature is just too cool, you guys.

52 Forms of Fungi || #20

This mushroom holds a special place in my heart.  While I have no idea what species it is, this is a replica of one of my favorite mushrooms that I encountered on my visit to the Pacific Northwest last summer.  We were on a coastal trail surrounded by ferns and, well, mosquitos, and there was an eerie darkness under the trees near the creek bank where it was found.  I won't forget that moment for a long time.  Blackish red russula?  What do you mycologists think?  The actual mushroom was a little more reddish than my interpretation.

This structure was knitted as part of my 52 Forms of Fungi project, through which I will knit a different type of fungi for every week of 2013. Check out more of the forms from this project.



52 Forms of Fungi || #16

Aseroe rubra, or anemone stinkhorn, is one of those organisms where what appears to be land borne and sea borne collides.  Truly one of the wonders of nature, this beauty grows in the tropics as well as South Carolina (your confusion is as great as mine) where it has apparently been introduced.  The unique construction was a challenge but fun to create!
This structure was knitted as part of my 52 Forms of Fungi project, through which I will knit a different type of fungi for every week of 2013. Check out more of the forms from this project.

52 Forms of Fungi || #15

What happens when a friend emails me a photo of an unusual fungus found in one of your houseplants?  They can expect to see it shortly thereafter in knitted form, of course!  This is the yellow house plant fungus (yes, let's be descriptive as possible, shall we, taxonomists?) and it will often grow in inoculated potting soil that stays moist... which a lot of indoor plants don't like anyway... so maybe let it dry out a little bit and see what happens.  They are not harmful to the plant itself though; just don't make a stir fry with them as they are toxic.
This structure was knitted as part of my 52 Forms of Fungi project, through which I will knit a different type of fungi for every week of 2013. Check out more of the forms from this project.

52 Forms of Fungi || #14

When we had just arrived at the cabin for our weekend in southeast Oklahoma several weeks back, I was poking around in the woods with my camera and happened upon this really unusual, leathery, cup shaped fungus.  After a little research I came to find out that this fungus is called devil's urn, and it is one of the very first species to appear in springtime as the forest comes out of dormancy.  They really are a sight to see, with the brownish exterior and smooth, black interior.  The blend in very closely with their environment and are often found on downed tree limbs.
This structure was knitted as part of my 52 Forms of Fungi project, through which I will knit a different type of fungi for every week of 2013. Check out more of the forms from this project.

52 Forms of Fungi || #13

There are many types of coral fungi that are incredibly eye catching, so I doubt this will be the first species you see here.  This one in particular is known as Clavulinopsis corallinorosacea, and it is found in Australia.  I haven't been able to find much about this specific type of Clavulinopsis other than photos of it, so if anyone has information please send it my way!  But regardless, those colors!  Does this not look like some delicate sea life form that you would see on a snorkling excursion?  Lovely.
This structure was knitted as part of my 52 Forms of Fungi project, through which I will knit a different type of fungi for every week of 2013. Check out more of the forms from this project.

52 Forms of Fungi || #10

Two in one week!  I am dead set on this catching up thing.  This maze-like clump is called northern tooth and it's found mostly on maples, which is the tree it's on here.  You typically see it associated with wounds though, so I fibbed a little bit on that.  But in my defense, this is a terrible looking maple that was unfortunate enough to have someone plant it DIRECTLY underneath an overhead electric line (don't do that people!  ever!  unless you want your tree pruned in a very tragic way).  And in defense of the tree's feelings here, it's not ALWAYS terrible looking.  This little guy does have wonderful fall color; I just always feel bad about it's misfortunes as I'm jogging by...  Along with the other 5 maples planted in line with it, ALSO under the utility lines.  But I digress...

Here are two links to more information about northern tooth.  I typically like to post the Mushroom Expert profiles with each of these forms, but for some reason it didn't have any photos showing the growth habit that is portrayed here, so that's why I included the second link.

Northern Tooth....... one  ||  two

This structure was knitted as part of my 52 Forms of Fungi project, through which I will knit a different type of fungi for every week of 2013. Check out more of the forms from this project.



52 Forms of Fungi || #8

Parrot fungi!  These two are a couple of variations on this species which really stuck out to me when I was flipping through my Audubon mushrooms field guide.  Apparently they are edible and grow near conifers across North America.  The actual mushrooms are very glossy and slimy looking.  I experimented a little with using a gloss spray, but it didn't work out on the knitted material at all, unfortunately.  I'll keep brainstorming on this aspect, since I'm sure it will come around again with a different species.
It's funny, I'm noticing that after I complete a phase of this project the pieces end up on display somewhere in my house.  The enoki mushrooms are sitting on our mantel, and I just put the little parrots in my Norfolk pine in the living room.  The jack o lantern fungi are still hanging out on my knitting shelf, because I'm working on a larger installation for them -- more details on that very, very soon!
These fungi were knitted as a part of my 52 Forms of Fungi project, where I knit one different type of fungi for every week of 2013.  Check out some of the other forms I've knitted so far.

52 Forms of Fungi || #7

Enoki mushroom!  We're getting a little culinary this week.  This is the cultivated appearance of the enokitaki mushroom, which is orangey brown in the wild.  I always love looking at them in the grocery store, because just one little clump seems to have hundreds of tiny stalks and caps. For the sake of trying to stay on track with this project, I decided against going full scale... maybe another day.
They're just so neat looking.  I've never eaten them before though, have you?  Can anyone recommend a recipe?
Check out some other posts from the 52 Forms of Fungi project, where I knit a different type of fungi for every week of 2013.   In April, I vow to catch up!


BIG THING #2 aka 52 Forms of Fungi || #4

You might recognize these little guys from my Decomposition seriesColony I and Colony II.  Well, they are making an appearance again because of the second big thing that I alluded to last week... a third installation will take place this next week at Momentum: Art Doesn't Stand Still in Oklahoma City.  This is the first time I have taken part in a juried exhibition, and I am very honored to have been selected for participation.  All of the Decomposition phases have thus far taken place in an existing natural setting, so another unique aspect of this installation is that I am recreating a natural environment to use for placement of the knitted fungi replicas.  It is challenging, but also exhilarating.  It incites the same response in myself that I seek to encourage in observers... attention to detail, awe at natural complexities, and an awareness that there is so much more going on around me than I could ever in my lifetime begin to fathom.
I learned how to use a sander today, which to my delight was actually pretty fun.  This made me happy because woodworking is a long term aspiration of mine... so at least now I know I don't hate one of the main components!  In any case, if you live around the Oklahoma City area I hope you can come out to the show, this Friday or Saturday from 8 to midnight, at 50 Penn Place (across the street from Penn Square Mall).




52 Forms of Fungi || #3

This form of fungi is a polypore known as Ganoderma lucidum.  Presence of these conks around the base of a tree suggest internal decay, the extent of which should be investigated further to determine degree of risk for failure.  So while they are beautiful, they're not such a great sign... However, they have been shown to have healing properties and are produced for herbal supplements.
The fruiting bodies themselves vary greatly in color and shape.  For this piece I went with the more brightly colored variation, but you will likely see more variations throughout this project.  I've been working on multiple forms of Ganoderma over the past few months, tweaking the pattern and colorwork and trying to come up with a result that I'm happy with.  This one is getting there, but I still have some work to do.
By the way, if you ever see these conks in the woods you can break them off and bring them home for decor.  The tissue is very woody and will not get smooshy or oozy or anything like that - I've got two on my fireplace mantel that I've had since 2007!








52 Forms of Fungi || #2

I had a question from Misti recently about whether I record the patterns for these pieces that I'm working on as I go.  The answer is YES, I write them down in case the result is something that I really like and want to duplicate.  For instance, I am already in the process of making more of the forms depicted in this post for a larger installation.  If any of the pieces have potential to be incorporated into the Decomposition series, I've gotta have some record of what I did!  In any case...

52 Forms of Fungi #2!

This polypore was inspired by some conks I saw out in a natural area recently.  The ones I looked at were white in color, but I was purchasing yarn recently and this shade of Knit Picks Palette, called "Pennyroyal", grasped my attention and I knew I had to do something with it.  A project idea came to mind and this is the first piece for that project.  I've been using the Palette yarn A LOT lately, and it's quickly becoming a favorite for these types of projects... so many great colors!

This is the first "fungi" that I've attached only temporarily to a living tree, so it was fun trying out a way to do that (which worked pretty well).  On that note, no trees were harmed during the installation of this fungi!  Although, there was a power-walker who kept circling the nearby trail and was giving me some really funny looks.  It made me giggle to myself a little bit... I can already tell that this project is going to be a lot of fun!  Are you ready for more?

View more posts about the 52 Forms of Fungi project.







Decomposition: Stacks

Here is the final product from my installation of Stacks, the next phase of my Decomposition series.  For more information about this phase, or to watch the behind the scenes video, check out my sneak peek post.  You can also see previous phases of the series at Colony I and Colony II, and the Decomposition: Colony sneak peek post.

The Decomposition series is a study on the intricate textures of fungi and how they blend in to their natural environment. At a glance and from a distance, these knitted replicas meld in as a part of the magnificent cycle that transforms living plants to detritus and further into minerals that nourish other living plants as they draw these minerals up from the soil. For instance, when viewing the installation at a distance, the pieces appear natural and as though they are meant to exist there. However, on a closer encounter one sees that these are not fruiting bodies at all. The delicate knit stitch stands out and draws you in for closer inspection, much like the intricacies in the texture of fungi draw me in. These elements spur on a stream of questions that carry me meditatively in to a place of introspection. While this is a personal project, I hope that it excites the same way of thinking amongst its viewers, elevating to a greater level of awareness of one's surroundings.

Stacks was inspired by a common fungus found on young and thin barked trees, called split gill fungus.