(bright upbeat music) - Well, we are heading up into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest with the hopes that we'll find a variety of different mushrooms.
So this is a really cool spot right up here.
(soft upbeat music) Okay, Pahto, good boy.
I've always had a real interest in mushrooms and as a young kid, was very curious about them.
There was this moment in time where I was out hiking and all the mushrooms were just fruiting and it was like I was following the yellow brick road of mushrooms.
And it just really inspired me and down the rabbit hole I went and I've never come back out.
(soft upbeat music) (soft upbeat music) Come on, Pahto.
So when we think about the fungi kingdom, we're thinking about this incredible interconnected network underground in the soil that help keep forests healthy.
(soft upbeat music) We're walking everywhere, we're going and we're not considering what is down below to enable what we see above.
And it's just a whole amazing kaleidoscopic world underneath.
(soft upbeat music) And out of that, fruits these mushrooms and some of these mushrooms are filled with pigment that we can coax the color out of to dye fiber and fabric as well as make a variety of paints and inks.
I think I might have found something.
So this is an admiral bolete, aureoboletus mirabilis, and look at all that color down in there.
See that yellowy orange?
And in these tubes, that's where all the color is located.
Pahto, let's go.
(soft upbeat music) There has been a history of using mushrooms for dye back to at least the 15th century and we're really lucky here in the Pacific Northwest because it is truly a mushroom paradise.
(soft upbeat music) Okay, this is awesome.
What we've found here is a pycnoporellus and it is a dye mushroom and it likes to grow on logs often with snow.
And you can see here it's full of color and it's just quite a beautiful mushroom.
(soft upbeat music) Mushrooms come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
(soft upbeat music) We think of kind of the classic mushroom with a cap and gills under it but some of these mushrooms even have what we call teeth.
Oh, wow, look at this.
We found hydnellum regium.
This mushroom is a tooth fungi, its common name up in Alaska is bear poop and it happens to be near elk poop.
So this mushroom produces a beautiful, deep, dark, black, blue, green.
And when we turn it over, look at the beautiful spores, these little teeth.
So we can definitely take this home and cook it up.
(bright upbeat music) I love making color for mushrooms and it's as simple as steeping the cup of tea.
I created the mushroom color atlas which documents, at its current form, about 30 mushrooms and all the colors that are derived from them.
And it's a resource and reference for people curious about color that comes from mushrooms and the pallet from the fungi kingdom.
(bright upbeat music) So here we have pycnoporellus, one of the mushrooms we found.
It's the first time I've experimented with this and we're going to add it to the mushroom color atlas.
It's dried but I'm gonna go ahead and grind this mushroom up.
(grinder whirling) All right.
And now I'm going to add it to some water.
So now this is ready to go be cooked for about an hour.
(soft upbeat music) Look at all that colorful liquid.
I have nine different fabric swatches to get a range of colors and they will all take up the color a little bit differently.
We'll put them back on the burner for about another hour and use the heat to bond this color onto the fabric and we'll pull 'em out and see what color we get.
(soft upbeat music) (soft upbeat music) All right.
So here we have all of the different swatches.
We can see already we're getting some really nice oranges.
This is the silk here.
We've got wool and linen, all revealing different shades of colors.
All from the pycnoporellus mushroom.
Often I take that soluble dye bath that I've immersed something in and I transform it into a pigment.
And it's a really simple process for doing that where we're adding some basic minerals and capturing all the color in that dye bath.
And we'll start to see that pigment gather and then separate.
(soft upbeat music) Sometimes it can take hours to get all the pigment down to the bottom.
And once it has settled, we're gonna strain it.
(soft upbeat music) And once it dries, we've got this nice solid pigment.
(grinder whirling) I'm gonna add some gum Arabic and I'm gonna mull that and that will transform it into watercolor paint.
(bright upbeat music) (soft upbeat music) So in my work, I'm really interested in exploring the deep geological time and using these fibers and threads that have been imbued with the colors from the mushrooms.
This is part of a series looking and exploring the things that we can't see, the strata, the geological soil and the formations that are underground and how that has impacted what we see above.
For me, the fungi kingdom covers both of those realms and so I love being able to bring that together into a piece.
(bright upbeat music) I'm creating a lot of this and using it in my pieces.
And then I'm also teaching different workshops to anyone who wonders about the fungi kingdom through creativity, color, design, and art.
Tonight you're going to make a mushroom color chart.
This is a blue chantrelle and they make blue-greens.
Teaching these workshops is really, really rewarding because you get so many different people that are coming at this from different perspectives.
- I am initially into mushrooms from the culinary aspect.
- [Julie] But they're are all gathering around this curiosity of mushrooms.
- I'm gonna shock some of you, I don't like mushrooms and I've tried really hard.
(soft upbeat music) - You're allowed to be hot and sloppy.
I'm low and slow so you know.
Oh, goodie, look at the regium.
Oh my God, we're getting pink, I've never gotten pink.
(bright upbeat music) - Oh, yeah.
- You can see them start to have this magical like smile and enthusiasm for this world that they are now starting to learn so much more about.
(bright upbeat music) So that is always rewarding.
(bright upbeat music) (bright upbeat music) And then of course, my goal is that they take some time, they go out in the forest and learn the science side.
Look at this little siuills.
They learn the mycology, they learn the identification and so forth to kind of further the work that they're doing.
It's not a dye mushroom but it's a happy mushroom.
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