Artists of Interest

Update to artists of interest:

Phoebe Cummings – clay sculpture. Works with clay to make lifelike natural displays, flowers, leaves, branches, moss. Each sculpture is dismantled with water and the clay is re-used again in the next work. I love this idea of renewal and using natural products; it links to her themes and gives an encompassing natural sense to her practice.

Artsy - Discover Fine Art

Phoebe Cummings - Contemporary Art Society

Amanda Cobbett – textile artists. Creates intricate and realistic versions of natural paraphernalia using embroidery. She says that we need to pay attention to the little things as much as the big, as when they are gone how will we ever know that they were there?



Working with Slime Mold

Diemut Strebe, an artist who’s worked at MIT since 2010, recently in an MIT residency program, has a lot to say about the United States’ failure to contain or even meaningfully slow down the coronavirus pandemic.

But she decided to let a single-celled organism called Physarum polycephalum, better known as slime mold, do the talking. In a new project titled “HYDRA,” Strebe and scientist collaborators at the Santa Fe Institute and Australia’s Macquarie University plopped blobs of slime mold onto a map of the USA — one on each of the first ten counties to hit 1,000 cases of COVID-19 per day. They allowed the slime mold to grow, extending its unsettling tendrils outward, in a biological mirror of how the coronavirus spread across the country.



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


Different sculpture materials

When considering mushrooms and nature in general:

I was walking along a beach collecting urchin shells, which are extremely delicate. I collected around 20, was very careful with them, and only two made it home in once piece.

The beach this day was particularly stormy, it was extremely windy and the sea was rough. Yet these little delicate spheres had weathered that storm, made it through the tides to come to this resting point on the shoreline.

This led me to consider the fragility of nature, how when we take it from its original space, it instantly becomes in danger. When I thought of the mushrooms I have been looking at, and how so delicately tiny they are that one touch could crush them entirely, or turn them to their liquid state.

I am now thinking of ways to mirror this fragility and impermanence within my work, by making some mushrooms from:

  • edible paper, as this is extremely delicate in itself and also, like mushrooms at the end of their time, the work will dissolve
  • icing, again it is fragile and not permanent and can be easily manipulated for the delicate parts of the mushrooms e.g the gills underneath
  • regular paper, again is delicate and could be seen as impermanent if left outside

Little Mushrooms handmade paper sculptures and dried flora image 7.       Meringue Mushrooms - Our recipe with photos - Meilleur du Chef

Could create the base for an interactive art piece. The addition of water/the effects of weather would shape this artwork and erode it as time goes on, could link back to the theme of women in society once again

Exploring the roots

Thoughts on how to explore the roots of mushrooms to show the hidden networks underground:

  • grow some in a terrarium
  • grow some in water? In a glass container?
  • similar to the idea of an ant farm

Could also use a glass tank and artificially create a “roots system”.

Could be lit? Taking on from glow in the dark mushrooms. Could also feed mushrooms with liquid UV and see if I can create my own glow in the dark mushrooms?

Artificial roots could be strings of lights, could spread out from the display.