Friday, July 21, 2017

Urban mushroom diary - summer 2017 - 3

About this series:

It is thrilling to make mushroom spore prints because you never know how they will turn out. The age and freshness of the fungus, the thickness of the layer, the temperature, moisture and airflow inside the house all make a difference. From nowhere a multitude of shapes, details and colours appears.
Long "exposure" times will produce ghostly shapes of dark suns, black holes and silent explosions. The spores themselves are microscopic and invisible. Just a thin layer of very fine dust.
Short "exposure" times will produce botanical details. Many sources say that making spore prints is a reliable method to determine mushrooms, but that's not true. It just adds one more data-point: the colour of the spores. The shape of the gills and their attachment to the stem can be determined without making a print.
I have not made prints of mushrooms with pores yet. They are rarer than gilled mushrooms and I hesitate to collect them. I found the white on white spore print the most fascinating, it makes a vague and clear spectre at the same time. But the deep browns and blacks are fascinating too, with their velvety darkness.
I was surprised to discover that spore prints can be used to distribute and sell hallucinogenic mushrooms. Similar techniques were used by the artist Klaus Weber to grow mushrooms that can penetrate asphalt.

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