Mushroom Dyes at the 3nd Annual Cordova
all of her research, adventures, and experiences with mushroom
dyes and polypore papermaking, Miriam C. Rice found a new
direction to focus her work with mushroom pigments - making
drawing sticks or "crayons", which she called "Myco-Stix®".
Miriam experimented with many different kinds of media
as binders and came up with 3 that satisfied her. The concept
was first introduced to the public at the "10th International
Fungi & Fibre
Symposium" in Rovaniemi, Finland in August, 2001, and
she has written up all of the instructions in her recently
published new book "Mushrooms for Dyes, Paper, Pigments & Myco-Stix",
2007. She encouraged me to teach this class in Cordova.
Rice making Myco-Stix
The " Myco-Stix" workshop
was held in Cordova the day after the Polypore Papermaking
class. The day turned out to be brilliantly sunlit and so warm
that we moved the whole workshop outside into the sunlight!
No point in being stuck inside a dark classroom during such
glorious Alaskan weather!!!
USFS building was another non-stop center of fungal activity
during the Festival with the mushroom displays, lectures, mushroom
cultivation, and visits by classes of the local school children
from the school around the corner. USFS folk were prime movers
in organizing the Cordova Fungus Festival, with many creative
knitters and mushroom dyers among them.
MAKING "MYCO-STIX" outside
on a sunny day in Cordova!
(Photos by Amy O'Neill Houck)
with Dotty at "The Net Loft" ~ Anyday!
during, and after the entire Fungus Festival, "The
Net Loft" became our haven and refuge
where Dotty Widmann graciously and warmly always welcomed
any stray mushroom dyer, and
she always had a dyepot ready to go onto the hot-plate for
our foray finds and whims! It
was as if I just picked up where I left off last summer!
Though we had no "official" mushroom dye workshops
planned at the Festival this summer, the dyepots were going
non-stop, and mushroom forays dreamed up at a moment's notice,
folks always stopping by to see what was dyeing.
a small table on the back porch of The Net Loft, Dotty W. always
had pots and hotplates ready to go at a moments notice. For
small batches of mushrooms, the "canning jar method" using
large canning pots proved once again to be the most practical
and energy-saving way to do many sample experiments at the
returned from fungi forays, sorted, and visually "identified"
our precious cargo, trying to
sort out, describe, (sometimes very creatively) a multitude
of orange-gilled Cortinarius sp. mushrooms by subtle
nuances in color and structure of caps, gills, and stalks. The
Dyebaths would have the final word as to which pigments were
so tantalizingly hidden! Sadly,
no red-gilled Dermocybes were collected on these trips.(They
always wait to appear until my plane has left the ground...)
reddish patches of pigments(?) almost visible in gills of an orange-gilled
Cortinarius (D. cinnamomea?)
again, I offer my sincerest thanks to Erin Cooper for
and inviting me to teach the "Papermaking" and
and to Allen and Susanna
Marquette for being my most gracious
and generous hosts at their home in Cordova, Alaska! ~
by Allen Marquette and Dorothy Beebee)