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MMSS: Mushrooms- Unique Natural Dyers
April 3, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Monthly Mushroom Speaker Series: April 3rd
Mushrooms: Unique Natural Dyers
by Susan Hopkins
This prsentation will be an introduction to various species of wild mushrooms that have been found to contain a rainbow of colors. Using a combination of dried mushrooms, handmade items, digital slides, and books, I will show the variety of color and share the excitement I have found in using mushrooms for color.
Mushrooms as a source of color is not unknown over the last 400 years, but the recent interest and experimentation started in 1971 with the late Miriam Rice and her friend Dorothy Beebee in Mendocino CA. There is now an international group that holds a Fungi-Fibre Symposium every two years mostly in northern Europe. This is a chance to hunt and try new mushrooms for dyeing, to see the creative efforts after the dyeing, and to meet with those whose passion for mushrooms and fiber is contagious.
Although mushroom identification is not a simple task, there are three major groups of wild mushrooms (plus several oddball varieties) that can be recognized for their use as natural dyers. Knowing where and when to look for the best mushrooms helps narrow the field for the beginner as well as the experienced hunter.
I would like to demonstrate mushroom dyeing on a small scale. I will bring a precooked mushroom bath ready for a small skein of mordanted wool – and then start my talk by putting the wool in the bath and turning the heat on. By the end of the talk the wool is dyed and ready for display. My Power Point talk will concentrate on the mushrooms used to obtain the best and most interesting colors.
Susan learned to identify fungi as a member of the New Jersey Mycological Association for the last 37 years. She has attended most of the NEMFs and several NAMAs often helping with sorting and identification. After attending the 1993 International Fungi-Fibre Symposium in Scotland she became a “dyer”, learning the use of various fungi to dye wool. Even before becoming a “dyer” her main group of interest to study has been all of the tooth fungi particularly Hydnellum, Phellodon, Sarcodon. After retiring in 2009, Susan now lives in the Adirondack Mountains of NY learning the local fungi flora and continues to do many lectures, walks, and demonstrations on fungi and mushroom dyeing.