Mushroom Books

Growing mushrooms onto paperback books:

These are the books that I used for this project:


To explore another way of expressing my feelings towards violence against women throughout history. By using old books this was a way of showing this, and I specifically selected books with stand out titles that depicted my subject of violence, murder and the police. (TI also included the bible as I wanted to see the effects that the mushrooms would have on the leather cover)

I used a selection of paperback books to grow mushrooms onto, using a mushroom growing kit.

I selected the books for their titles, not the contents. I feel that if people haven’t read the books then they are less inclined to understand my intentions with this work.



Fingerprint idea:

Compile a blank grid and place it on the backs of the female toilet doors. A private space/sanctuary, for women. Ask if they feel scared, anxious, concerned when out walking alone or in an unsafe area (elaborate and word better).

For each person that leaves a fingerprint, I will make a 3D printed mushroom to display around my portrait. Each mushrooms depicts another victim of the daily anxieties we face. The ink on their fingers is a network, our connection, our unseen bondage through our daily struggles. Relatable to the underground network of fungi, we are all connected with this feeling and that is what I want to show within my work.

Fingerprints are used in crime scenes. They are entirely personal, and yet unidentifiable on sight alone.

Mushroom/mould growth on objects

Growth idea:

Create 3D printed or paper heads in order to grow mould or mushrooms on them. Depicting the slow decay of humans, yet at the same time, the beauty and renewal of life. Also try it with paper back books/printed photographs.

3D printed heads: coat them in Agar solution when it is nearly set to created an encompassing film of product to enable the growth of moulds. To keep it in a safe environment, encapsulate it in a glass dome:

HÄRLIGA Glass dome with base, clear glass, 27 cm - IKEA

Paper sculptures: create sculptures of heads using compressed paper balls, using a Dremel to carve out the facial features. Using the same techniques as used for growing mushrooms onto paper back books, attempt to see if it will work using the paper sculptures:

Grey Oyster Mushroom Book Spawn 50g | Suttons

Paper back books/photographs:

Grow mushrooms onto paper back books using some kits I bought. Selecting books about murders of women, or known murderers of women such as Jack the Ripper. Using the heat press, print my female portraits onto thick paper/card and attempt the same method using these, to grow mushrooms onto the photographs.

Ideas for Semester Two

Preliminary ideas to work on throughout semester 2/3:

  • Pencil illustrations, explore the link of mushrooms and female anxiety/suffering. Try and introduce colour to work with it more
  • Paintings/pastel drawings of detailed parts of mushrooms, explore the colours and textures. Explore the relation/similarities to genitalia
  • Create textural collages of the tiny worlds of fungi/moulds/lichen
  • Explore mushroom prints, onto photographic film or drawings
  • Make more models in 3D printing, clay, paper
  • Explore the idea of growing mould/mushrooms on books or figures/photographs
  • Explore the theme of networks, roots, growth
  • Explore the idea of making mackets/dioramas of murder scenes or related areas to depict the relation of mushroom growth and murders

Personal Goals:

  • Try working with colour more
  • Explore the abstract side of my work
  • Try new mediums and styles: pastels, thick paints and making marks
  • Do not other think or plan, try your ideas out as they come!!

Artists to explore:

  • Li Hongbo
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Horst Kiechle
  • Lee Ellis

Mold Growth

Second, the mold spores must have a source of food to grow on. Mold can grow on a variety of household substances, from rotting fruit and vegetables to wooden panels or fabrics. Mold is sometimes found growing on inorganic substances like plastic or steel. When this happens, the mold is still feeding on an organic substance that is on its surface, such as the oil leftover from a person’s fingerprints, organic fibers or residue from an organic cleaning substance.

Light is not one of the key resources mold needs to grow. This is because, unlike plants, mold is not photosynthetic and doesn’t use light to generate energy. In fact, light from the sun can inhibit mold growth and even kill it, so many molds thrive and grow better in dark environments.

Mold is a fungus that exists both indoors and outdoors, but not all molds are toxic. Many are harmful, but only a few types of mold can cause potentially serious injury. Most simply cause symptoms similar to those of seasonal allergies. Some, however, can cause more serious illnesses, such as pulmonary edema, brain damage, and emphysema. In some case of prolonged exposure, death may result. The common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Alternaria.

How Mold Grows and More: Your Mold Questions Answered