2012 VMS Annual Mushroom Show

I traded away a shift at the gallery this weekend so that I could make the VMS Annual Mushroom Show at Vandusen Botanical Gardens. Cas & I have been meaning to join the Vancouver Mycological Society since we moved to the city, and we finally had our chance at the show. We’re now card carrying members and are looking forward to the first meeting and talk.

The mushroom show was packed with incredible specimens (and not just fungi :p) as the weather was excellent and Vancouver boasts a huge number of myco-nerds* and enthusiasts. I snapped shots of some of the cooler schrooms, but there were hundreds of samples to check out.

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My favourite display was the table on dying. I’ve been trying different substitutes for ink in my journey to reduce my footprint whenever possible. I typically work with an ink blend made up of acrylic, india, and chinese ink, which is water based, but still leaves behind waste that eventually ends up down my drain. I’ve tried some tea staining and while I like it for washes it’s never concentrated enough.

Enter mushroom colouring. The woman at the booth does yarn and fabric dying. She had two hot pads heating mushroom reductions on site, and after only 3 hours, the dye was dark and dense. She had displayed two reference books, Mushrooms for Colour and Mushrooms for Dyes, Paper, Pigments & Myco-stix, both by Miriam C. Rice (Illustrated by Dorothy M. Beebee), and NEITHER available at the library. Looks like I could get one of them on Amazon (ugh) but the other looks like it’s pretty out of print. Should you see one of these bad boys in a thrift shop or garage sale, be sure to tweet me please!

She kindly suggested I look into Phaeolus Schweinitzii (Dyer’s Polypore) as it is local and prolific in BC. However, before I start harvesting, I’m going to attend a few meetings so that I’m doing it ethically, and legally. I don’t want to poach on someone else’s harvesting grounds, nor do I want to disturb a habitat before I know more about the species. But I’m pretty stoked to start trying out mushroom inks in the new year, not to mention going on walk-abouts with knowledgeable mushroom lovers throughout the year. Time to get my hiking boots repaired and water proofed.

Mushrooms ho!


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