Fungi and Art compilationFungi and Art compilation - Alice Walker



This was the Dream Team for our first Fungi Foray and Art Extravaganza: the charismatic Renee Watson, who NRNers will remember for her brilliant lock-down Tiny Talk on adventures in the world of fungi, and Alice Walker, inspirational initiator of all things creative (and very fine artist). The Dynamic Duo said they'd been wanting to do something together for ages and their Workshop mushroomed into something inky and extraordinary: 


Volvariella caesiotincta eynsham fishponds_crop 25.09.22 1Volvariella caesiotincta in situ.
Photo Renee Watson


In the drought-wracked Fishponds, where no fungi were thought to be surviving, Renee found us haresfoot inkcaps that reminded her of Paris, Dryad's saddle and then, to her own astonishment, Volvariella caesiotinctaIt is only the second record of this species ever found in Oxfordshire. Growing on rotting wood this rare fungi has a beautiful shiny silver cap, with pink gills. Renee was insistent that 'upskirting fungi' was the best way to indentify them.


Volvariella caesiotincta eynsham fishponds_cropped_25.09.22 3Volvariella caesiotincta 'upskirted' by its discoverer.
Photo Renee 'Its MyCology' Watson



Young NRNer, Felix Godsall, writes eloquently of both the science and art of fungi that he experienced on the day:

"I learned things which I probably never otherwise learn.   I was expecting it to be interesting, but it was 10 times everything that I thought. 

I learned about different sorts of mushrooms - gilled mushrooms and polypore ones, which have tubes underneath where they release spores. Renee showed us some of the places you can find them and told us some different names of fungus like 'Dryad's Saddle'.  We also might have found a rare mushroom.

In the Art session I learned from Alice that you can make ink out of several natural things including ink cap mushrooms, oak galls and walnut shells. In the art session got to have a go with using all those inks making art inspired by mushrooms and spore prints. It was very creative, and I experimented with making the ink run across the page like mycelium. Other people drew detailed pictures of fungus with the natural inks or made potato prints inspired by mushrooms too.

I would really recommend the fungus walk and making it was really interesting, fun ,and interesting and brilliant. More young people could come on these days because they’re really interesting. "