Recent Textile Design graduate, Georgie Gerrard, has created a collection of sculptures using the mycelium of reishi, an ancient fungus nicknamed the ‘mushroom of immortality’ due to its purported health benefits.
Mycelium is the root-like structure of a fungus that consists of a network of threads, called hyphae. Fungal colonies of mycelium are often found on or in soil but can also thrive in other places, such as rotting tree trunks.
Inspired by her geologist grandfather, Georgie wanted to harness mycelium’s ability to bind to substrates to create solid materials to showcase its sculptural and functional potential and highlight the tie between people and place.
“Mycelium uses whatever substrate it is in as a nutritious medium to form a web-like structure. I found it poetic how mycelium connects and binds together with materials using its branches and wanted to explore this in my pieces”, Georgie explained.
“My project is conceptually based on my ties with family located in different corners of the country, and even on the other side of the world.
“I came across hundreds of my late grandfather’s film slides from geology field trips and family holidays, in which he relentlessly photographed geological features, rocks, fossils, etc. The love of his subject brought me to think about how family can tie you to a place.”