At the 14th IFFF Symposium in Sweden in 2010 it was decided to begin an IFFF Yearly Newsletter to keep us all in communicdation between Symposia. Representatives from each participating country would submit articles about the fungal fiber arts in their country, and it would be published here, on the IMDI Website, in PDF form, for easy printing, and also as individual pages with graphics for easy reading online.

International Fungi & Fibre Newsletter 2019

In this newsletter we have contributions and images from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and the USA. I hope you enjoy reading about our fungi fun and exploration. My thanks to Dorothy Beebee for putting this on the mushrooms for color website.
With best wishes,

Trisha Gow, Newsletter Co-ordinator


SWEDEN ~ Liza Johansson

This year I have taught about eatable mushrooms and I also talk about fungi for dye at a folk high school in Sweden. There was a group of young girls who became very interested in pigment from mushrooms when I showed that you can dye yarn and paint with the pigments. These girls would start a group and want to dye together and they started immediately the same day! They had never before heard of using mushrooms in this way! I have also had a mushroom exhibition in another place of Sweden where I have shown eatable mushrooms, poison mushrooms but also what fungi you can dye with and use for pigment for painting. Many became interested and had many questions about this. The interest is great when you start talking about it. In recent years, I myself have become interested in counting in wood. My next challenge is to use fungal pigments on wood. This is certainly interesting for many craftsmen.
I have been experimenting with some and hopefully I can share this during the symposium. Now I´ve started to translate my book ”Pigment and Paper from Fungi” to English and hope to have it for the next symposium 2020!

best wishes, Liza


SPAIN, Gran Canaria, the Spanish Contingent

Last year’s mushroom season in Gran Canaria was especially abundant in
Gymnopilus penetrans and G. spectabilis as well as the always generous Pisolitus tinctoreus. We put up a demonstration on Fungi dye during the local mycological fair held by the Sociedad Micológica de Gran Canaria where we showed off what we learned and did in Norway. We are still working on the book on Nilia Bañares’s experience dyeing with mushrooms that will hopefully be finished by next year. We would like to make a call out to any natural dyers in Spain working with fungi. Our email is tintesconhongosES@gmail.com.

Photo of Nilia Bañares by Palma Christian.


DENMARK ~ Jytte Albertson
Tapinella atrotomentosus dyeing with dried mushrooms
I had 140 g dried mushrooms in the dyepot.
From left : dyebath 1-2-3-4 No mordant. Temperature 62-63 degrees C.
From left : dyebath 5-6-7-8 Tin mordant.
Dyebath 9 tin mordant with a little iron added( gave a little darker colour than dyebath 9)

I think it is nice with the purples, but I have not done any lightfastness tests yet. And it takes a lot of mushrooms. All dyed with fresh Tapinella atrotomentosus.
From left : 1 and 2 no mordant 65C 50 min. 3 and 4 no mordant 95C.
I had the temperature at 65C for 35 minutes and the yarn had a really dark purple. Left it for coffee and when I returned the dyebath was boiling, and the yarn had turned dark brown ( ! hm )

The last skein yarn ( tin mordant ) got a nice pale green colour.
This was my first try with tapinella on yarn without mordant. Has anyone
succeeded to achieve purple with dried tapinellas?
Greetings, Jytte


CANADA ~ Ann Harmer

We were blessed with a wonderfully rainy mushroom season for the 2016
Symposium on British Columbia’s West Coast, but the next two summers were so dry and the autumn rains so late that the dye mushrooms were hard to find and few in quantity. Fortunately, this year we’re back to our typical rainforest conditions, and the fungi are popping out everywhere.
We have a presence in the Sunshine Coast Fibreshed, a group that encourages sustainable fashion, particularly throught the use of local fibres and natural dyes. We plan a workshop for interested members of that group some time in the new year.

Ann Harmer had put just enough fungi aside to give one workshop in the
spring of 2019 for a fibre arts guild on Vancouver Island, so perhaps we can expect some new converts at IFFS 2020. Undaunted, Muriel Prior has used the mushrooms she purchased at IFFS 2018 in Norway to dye enough fibre for another colourful sweater, which we can expect to see next year in Port Townsend! (Photo by Muriel Prior)


USA ~ Alissa Allen

Bountiful Fall Harvest in the Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest has had an incredible year for dye mushrooms. After a cool summer with plentiful rain followed by a damp but not overly saturated fall, we have seen more of the blue-green dyers (Thelephorales) than ever.
Hydnellum regium, Hydnellum peckii, Hydnellum aurantiacum group,
Polyozellus spp, Boletopsis spp and Sarcodon spp have been fruiting in
abundance. One group of folks in Washington reported harvesting 70lbs (30k) of Sarcodon spp in one day!! Phaeolus schweinitzii, Tapinella atrotomentosa, and Hypomyces lactifluorum have also been reported in massive quantities. I has yet to be seen if the dye Cortinarius will make such an appearance, but are ever hopeful.

We are encouraging people to stockpile dye mushrooms to offer at the
upcoming International Fungi and Fibre Symposium. In years past, dye mushrooms have been for sale in the boutique on a first come, first served basis, which can be disappointing to folks at the back of the line. At the 2020 IFFS we plan to offer dye mushrooms in a silent auction. The asking minimum price will be paid to the seller, but the balance of any higher bids will go directly to the IFFS “seed fund” to cover the upfront costs for the next event. You can read more about the 2020 IFFS at http://mycopigments.com/2020iffs/ Please be sure to sign up for announcements by clicking “contact us” at the bottom of the page. Happy holidays and happy hunting to those whose mushroom season is just getting started!

Alissa Allen


ENGLAND ~ Carole Thorpe

Irene and I gave a talk to the Cambridge Guild on Fungi Dyeing early in the
year, which was enjoyed by all. A great many question and interest shown. I wish to mention Irene Taylder, who died in February, she was a very close friend and, I think I am right in saying, she has attended every symposium since 1993 in Scotland. Not only will she be missed by a great many fungi friends, she was a true a loyal friend to me and I miss her so much.


Dyed silk stained glass windows by Carol Thorpe and Irene Taylder


BELGIUM ~ Marina Lamsens,
Flanders, Belgium

‘Mushrooms everywhere!’
An abundance never seen before . We wander through the woods with a camera “to catch” the autumn fruit bodies of the hidden mycelia . We do not have baskets with us to collect specimens because... It is forbidden to pick them: nature protection rules So we continue our mushroomdye-experiments for small projects with the material we brought from Norway or abroad.
Foto by Marina Lamsens: Hapalopilus - happiness - Pyrenees, 2019, samples
Marina Lamsens

Last year 2018 we were very lucky to visit a wonderful travelling exposition “ fungal futures 3”, in Ghent, Belgium. Mycelium art-mycelium science-mycelium steam mycelium architecture and building. (the Netherlands) Science, art and design working together! There were workshops and a competition. We thought of Ninela Ivanovas designs People were invited to work in an innovative way with mycelium: www.fungalfutures.com
www.glimps.bio/bootcamp www.dewereldvankina.be, Officina
corpuscoli, e.a

Foto by Marina Lamsens: Kristel Peters shoes - Fungal futures, 2018

In Brussels, “Nuances de plantes “ organized a congres: ”Du pourpre à la
pourpre”. Two days of purple workshops, conferences and exhibition. Annie, Maggy and me contributed with purple dyed (also lichen) fabrics in the collective artwork.

Foto by Marina Lamsens: Color purple collective work, 2018

Fotos by Marina Lamsens: Samples of Maria Boto ordonez, 2018

Maria Boto Ordonez showed us in the congres the exciting experiments with bacteria that create color! She does research in the Experimental Biolab for Art and Design KASK School of Arts Belgium, Ghent.

So, living in this small country, we hear young people talking about
mushrooms, alternative dye processes and mycelium ! Almost whispering and spreading the mysterious mushroom knowledge, we dream about healthy forests, plenty of mushrooms and we are waiting for the “benediction” to harvest them !!
Kind regards from Flanders, Belgium,
Marina Lamsens


SCOTLAND ~ Marilyn Caddell

Greetings from Scotland. It is hard to believe that it is 26 years since we
hosted the 6th IFFF symposium here in Edinburgh in 1993. Back then the Scottish Fungi Group had a good number of members, which has sadly diminished. We really miss Jeanette McKeown, and also Irene Taylder who died earlier this year. On the plus side we have welcomed Veronica Collins. Over the years, sometimes together with Irene and Carole Thorpe from England, we have made group exhibits to take to the various IFFF Symposia. Recently the Tolbooth building in Lanark, the town where I live, was renovated and made into a community hub and exhibition gallery. I suggested that it would be great to put on an exhibition of our work for the general public to see the fantastic colours that some fungi contain – if we can find the right ones!

This we did from August 25th to 9th September, calling the exhibition “Fabulous Fungi Dyes”. Four of us set it up – Trisha Gow, Su Grierson, Veronica and myself. As well as group exhibits and some of our own work we received items made by Fiona Moir, Irene Taylder, Carole Thorpe and Anna King. Plus posters from Liza Johansson in Sweden showing her use of fungi dyes for making paints and Ninela Ivanova from Bulgaria (now living in England) showing her fungi dye use in her fashion design.
Our first group exhibit was a 7 foot felted Magic Mushroom to take to the 1995 symposium in Sweden. We joined the Scottish Felters and spent a fun weekend creating it. The basic mushroom shape, white with a red cap, was covered with a myriad of small fungi shapes and was a kaleidoscope of colour.
Then for the 1997 symposium at Lake Saranac in USA we decided to make The Fungi Quilt. Seven of us took over 400 hours to make it! The central panel is made up of 9” wool squares dyed green, yellow, gold, orange and purple, with the stitching representing Scottish thistles and the traditional Luckenbooth motif. The centre square has our initials, the date and Hale Bop – the comet that went across the sky that year.

At the 2001 symposium in Finland we dyed 15 silk scarves . The aim was toget as strong a colour as possible from the dye baths.

They hung from the ceiling on two wooden frames and looked stunning, the shimmering silk highlighting the beautiful colours.

Some years we made individual items with a common theme e.g. using only
one mushroom to obtain all the colours; each having four 4” blocks of wood to cover the surface in fabric/felt as a set; and making sporrans to take to Australia in 2003, wearing them to the dinner on the last night.
Other individual exhibits included the following Trisha Gow - beautiful tapestry woven pieces “Dye Sampler” and “Mushroom Landscape”; Veronica Collins - Tapestry woven hangings “Shetland Sunset” and “Wood Wide Web”;Anna King - boxed Rolls of Fungi Colours Fiona Moir - Pin Wheel Weave Stole and long scarf in shades of purple and Irene Taylder and Carole Thorpe - dyed silk stained glass windows.

Marilyn Caddell – felt “Fungi Fantasy” and 2 embroidered flower pictures
We invited Ninela to give a talk about her work with fungi “Fungi for Material Futures”. As a designer she is interested in sustainability and zero waste fashion, and using mycelium structures to produce textiles. She is working with a furniture maker, Sebastian Cox, who has a small area of woodland. They are experimenting with using bracket fungi and mycelium to make furniture instead of chopping down trees. She gave a slide presentation of this work at the last symposium in Norway, showing the stools and lampshades they are producing.

We had lots of lovely comments in the visitors’ book at the exhibition. All The folk who came to see the exhibition were totally amazed by the beauty and wide range of the colours that certain species of fungi can yield – from the subtle greens and yellows to the vivid reds and purples. When I give talks to groups I always get the same reaction, especially when they see Hapalopilus nidulans – how can a small brown bracket fungi give such a vivid purple colour? Do we know how it was discovered that it would react with ammonia to give purple? Was a piece on the ground, an animal urinated on it and someone noticed the reaction? Or was a mushroom expert testing different fungi with acidic and alkaline solutions? Cortinarious semisanguineus is fantastic, too. Two colours in one small mushroom, red in the cap and orange in the stem. So many potential colours. As our exhibition title says - Fabulous FungiDyes indeed!
We are really looking forward to seeing you all next year in Port Townsend.
Marilyn Caddell


The IMDI (International Mushroom Dye Institute)

The IMDI mounted an exhibition at the Ford House in Mendocino, CA, celebrating the landmark research of Miriam C. Rice in fungal fiber arts!


IMDI menbers Nancy Denison and Dorothy Beebee at mushroom dye display in Ford House (Photos by Jill Surdzial)






2017 International Fungi and Fibre Newsletter

News of the Danish dyeing group by Jytte Albertsen, Denmark

In December 2016 and January 2017 some in the group were experimenting with varying the concentration of mordants. We tried 4 different mordants : alum, tin, iron and copper. We did all the mordanting at room temperature for 24hours, and at 85C for 45 minutes. Starting with 10% and then going down to 0.5% ( except tin that started at 2% and came down to 0.5% ). The dyeing was done with Phaeolus schweinitzii in separate glass jars for each of the 10g yarn. The dyeing was done at 85C. I can send more details from the experiments if someone is interested, and I will bring the dyed yarn to Norway. It it difficult to explain the difference in colours in writing, better to see it and have it in your hands!


In April 2017 we had a workshop on the mushroom dyeing of cotton. Sagarika Devi
from India was the instructor of the workshop and we learned a lot. There were 16
people in the workshop and we dyed different kinds of cotton with 2 different
mushrooms : Cortinarius semisanguineus and Phaeolus schweinitzii. Thank you
Sagarika, it was great to have you living in Denmark, and have you take part in the
Danish activities.

In May 2017 we had a workshop in papermaking of polypores. Liza Johannson came down from Sweden, and we had some great days with her in Denmark. We had been collecting polypores all winter and dryed them so we had a lot. We gathered in Hornbæk in North Sealand and about 25 people participated. At the end of the day we all had some very nice  paper in different colours to take home. Thank you Liza. It was a great day.

In September 2017 the mushroom society had an exhibition in Rådvad, and the dyeing group demonstrated dyeing and papermaking and showed some of our mushroom dyed creations.
I hope to see all of you in Norway in August 2018!


Memories of Janette McKeown , by Marilyn Caddell, Scotland

Sadly we have only recently learned that Janette died a few months ago. Many of you will remember her and her daughter, Eleanor, in a wheelchair. Janette was widowed many years ago and as she put her son through agricultural college she asked Eleanor what she would like to do. “Go round the world in 80 days” Eleanor replied. Well, it took rather more than that, but the two of them travelled extensively to many countries, including most of the fungi symposia venues since the Scottish one in 1993.

Janette & Eleanor

Janette is second from the left in the front row of the photo

Janette (far right) was a very talented needlewoman, spinner, weaver, felter and also a
judge of floral art. My favourite memory of Janette is of an afternoon spent with Janette and two other ladies also in their 80’s. Just listening to them talking was magic! Janette was wonderful friend and I will miss her.



Trisha Gow in Scotland presented the IFFF NEWSLETTER 2016  with individual contributions from many countries represented in the IFFF.


(Articles from Newsletter # 1 are also available on their country's individual pages. All materials are covered by International Copyright by the contributors.)

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