August 9, 2020
Today we joined together in a small group to observe and discuss fungi in Pacific Spirit Park. As we wove in and out of the edge of the trail, we observed many small wonders through 30x and 60x hand lenses, pondering cause and effect, parasitism and succession, symbiosis and communication, the richness imbued by language, and the false concept of the individual in an entangled world. We concluded with a sensory meditation with a surprise guest – a chicken of the woods mushroom.
July 22, 2020
Today, we spent the afternoon crafting some mushroom paper mache puppets inspired by our local fungi. It felt wonderful to connect with some lovely community members in-person for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. We had great conversations while making a king bolete, a birch bolete and two Amanita Muscaria.
June 13, 2020
As a way to focus on our bodies while the physical distancing measures are still in place, we offered an online session about the similarilties between the fascial network inside of our bodies and mycelium, the body of fungi. We explored these concepts through simple embodied exercises. We also shared a few movement scores and meditations that can be done independently in the forest.
Here is a file we recorded for you to listen to on your own time. Find a quiet place in the forest to stand for 15 minutes. Close your eyes and listen!
May 10, 2020
Today we offered a virtual fungi and art walk to the community, which included information about the patterns of the spring mushroom season, basic mushroom identification skills, honourable harvesting practices, and resources for learning about mushroom identification. We presented a video we made on the Spring Mushrooms of the Coastal Temperate Rainforest and offered an Embodied Writing Exercise for participants to do on their own in the forest. We invite you to watch the video and to try the exercise; instructions are included below.
Embodied Writing Exercise
1. Go for a walk in the forest and look for fungi.
2. Choose a mushroom and sit or stand beside it. Observe it with your senses.
– Observe it with your eyes. Notice its shape, colors, textures, the way it reflects the light, and any other details you may see.
– Observe it through touch. Notice its textures, orientation, density, temperature, and any other detail you may feel.
– Observe it through smells. Notice its scent, the scent of the earth or wood it grows from, the scent of the air around it. Notice if the smells bring back any memories.
– Observe it through sounds. Notice if you can produce any sound or vibration while touching it gently. Place your ear near the mushroom and listen. Hear the wind. Hear the birds. Notice all of the surrounding sounds, near or far.
3. Write for at least five minutes. Describe this mushroom from your embodied experience. Don’t edit yourself, let it flow.
4. Give this mushroom an original name, inspired by your experience and writing.
5. Take a picture of your mushroom and try to identify it, using the app iNaturalist, reference books and/or online resources.
6. Compare the scientific information you find about this mushroom (ecological roles, biology, edibility, medicinal properties, etc.) to the embodied knowledge you gained through observing and writing about this mushroom.
April 26, 2020
While the community centre remains closed due to the pandemic, we offered a mushroom gardening online workshop to an eager group of over 30 gardeners from around the neighbourhood. We also created a log raft inoculated with nameko mushrooms in the community garden of the Kitsilano Community Centre that will hopefully fruit mushrooms to be harvested in the fall. Responding to a desire to share our knowledge with the broader community, we created a series of videos covering different mushroom cultivation techniques, from log inoculation to log raft and shaggy mane mushroom beds. Click here to view these videos.
March 9, 2020
Today we met with the preschool kids and read two of our favorite kids mushroom books: The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel and Mushroom in the rain by Mirra Ginsberg. We sang a little mushroom song and enacted the life cycle of mushrooms through movement.
March 7, 2020
We spent this crisp morning crafting and sharing DIY mushroom cultivation techniques with an attentive group of mushroom lovers. Each participant chose a mushroom culture (turkey tail, oyster, lion’s mane, nameko, or luminescent panellus) and inoculated a jar filled with sterilized sawdust substrate. From there, they learned simple knotting techniques to create their knotted hanging mushroom jar. They took their jar home and will observe their fungi grow and fruit over the next few weeks.
March 4, 2020
Today we hosted an intimate mushroom reading circle. We spent this sunny afternoon reading about mushroom identification, DIY cultivation, mushroom cooking, natural dyes, ecology, philosophy, embodied art, and more. We shared impressions of our readings with each others, over reishi tea and porcini flavored popcorn. Here is a quote from one of the book we enjoyed:
Feb 15, 2020
We are grateful to have been sharing this rainy day with a wonderful group of mushroom enthusiasts, needle felting wildly diverse fungi with wool over lively conversations. Crafted local species included the famous Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria), a few Russulas (R. queletii, R. sanguinea), Boletus zelleri, the delicious Pacific Golden Chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus), Laccaria amethysta-occidentalis, and many more.
Feb 8, 2020
We launched The Art & Fungi project this week, engaging in great conversations with the residents of the Kitsilano Community Centre. We looked at fungi specimens through hand lenses, read mushroom children’s books and enjoyed some chaga tea.