Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Pisolithus tinctorius

it's a curious thing, this fungus. the scarf i have [dyed by Nalda Searles in Western Australia] is a mustard yellow/brown.
and i've variously used it [the fungus, not the scarf] at home with rainwater to make yellow and brown [in non-reactive vessels] and purple [in a milo tin]

while tidying up after the workshop at Wattle Point i simply stacked the 'tea bag' containing the cooked fungus on top of the sample landskin muffler i had made to show the class the steps. the muffler had been sitting in an aluminium bowl with a bit of salty lagoon water and a few dogspikes purloined from the trackside on my way thither [demonstrating a means of pre-mordanting].
i hadn't wanted to hurl the dyestuff because it still had great potential. waste not, want not.

an hour or so later i looked under the bag, saw the muffler with bright yellow stains on it [see prior post]  but beginning to brown slightly at the edges. then i pootled off to sit on the jetty with a glass of red bubble-water to enjoy the lapping waves, the dimming light and the myriad jellyfish wobbling along under the surface.

when i returned to continue my packing i absentmindedly hurled the muffler into the washing machine to spin out the drippy stuff. sloshing things are tricky to transport [don't worry, i have that tea-bag safe]. you can imagine my surprise when it came out more pink than brown.

the woolly bits didn't pick up colour [wool needs warmth to dye] but the silk certainly did. not quite sure what's happening here chemically, but there's a similarity with coreopsis dyes...they turn pink with added alkali. on the other hand no alkali was added here, so it could be the effect of oxidisation, methinks.

oh and another note about fungi...i always thought this one was the mature version of the puffballs we used to cook with butter, salt and pepper and happily told my students, however according to this website that might not be the case!

definitely not, if you read this! mea culpa.

detail of the landskin muffler
incorporating a smattering of Jude's interweaving of fabric
[pop over to Spirit Cloth on the side bar to see where that can go]



  1. Thanks for this - I'll keep my eyes open for them. I think I have seen some actually. Need to take a notebook with me into the forests - more for the 'nosebag'. Gilly

  2. there were thousands over at Rylstone (poor sandy soil)when we lived in the bush there, they used to punch their way up through the bitumen. quite out of this world-ish. didn't know they could be useful then tho, what a pity. is it in your book how to extract the dye?
    the landskin muffler looks just superb...k.

  3. mushroom season slowly comes in this part of the world but oooh longing for a couple of late summer days after all the rain (nothing compared to Pakistan though)

  4. no Kaite
    isn't in the book
    but here's how i would usually do it. the spores [dye] are very hard to wet, so i carefully place the whole fungus into a "tea bag" sewn from densely woven silk or cotton [less chance of breathing them in]. if you think of it, add a stone to the bag so it will be forced under the surface of the water. simmer/steep in a potful of water for at least a day. immerse cloth and heat gently, allow to cool in dyebath, spin out and dry the item in the shade
    the teabag full of fungus should be good for quite a lot of dyeing, it's strong stuff

  5. this is really 'hocus pocus' - such a wonderful outcome of such a strange fungi..

  6. What an incredible colour India. I have not had that much luck with fungi, but I may have to have another go. Thanks


  7. i spotted that smattering right off. if there is one thing i have here it is mushrooms and fungus. a feel a field day coming.

  8. the smattering proves particularly satisfying when performed on prefelt and then fulled after stitching....

  9. i did so much mushroom and lichen dyeing 20+ years back! i'm feeling a pulling back in time.

  10. thanks india, i'll copy it down and pop it into The Book. I can feel a trip to Rylstone coming on. kaite

  11. i love the thought of The Book being used to add notes

    whilst in New Orleans recently i wandered into the Kitchen Witch
    brilliant cooking book store. a San Francisco recipe book fell open at the chowder page, covered in splashes and with pencil notes. all the other pages were squeaky clean, chowder must have been all they ever cooked [but could never remember how to]

  12. It looks like an aerial view of some strange land. I love all the different shades of grey.

  13. First thought with this post was THANK YOU for the larger photo (that picture thousand word thing...)
    Next thought: saving your 'shroom recipe.

    GORGEOUS cloth!

  14. "seems to favour disturbed places"
    Your landskin, on the contrary, is just beautiful.