…”From that day in October on I have tried growing mushrooms, not yet sure for what use. It is a very precise recipe, and each kind of mushroom has its own specifications when it comes to a certain diet and material to grow on. Out of everything I have tried, I only managed to grow the King Oyster on a very big piece of straw and crumbled mycelium from the King Oyster. By cooking the straw for about ten minutes, it becomes more or less sterilized. Then, wearing gloves that are also bacteria-free, I put bits from the King Oyster mycelium in the straw and mix it together. A plastic bag is steamed above the cooking water and then, holding the bag sideways so least bacteria will enter, the bag is filled with the mixture. Afterwards I tape the bag to close it off. The bag is then put it a dark and warm place for awhile.
…..”It was then when I found out there is a species, the Tinder fungus (Fomes fomentarius) that can be made into a kind of leather, being chamois. Especially in Eastern Europe it is still used to make hats and aprons.
Recipes were scarce and most of them had potassium carbonate as the main ingredient. In search of a more natural and traditional recipe, I found a German recipe saying I should use urine, fire ashes and some kind of bark that I was unable to translate. I decided to use clove because of its strong scent instead. After a long search in the forest I found a couple of small Tinder funguses.
Cutting the Tinder fungus was very difficult. After having done so, I put everything together in a pan and let it sit for a month. Everything was grey and soaked when I opened it again, but it did not come out as I had hoped. I though the pieces would be soft and able to be mashed into a bigger piece of ‘fabric’ by hammering them into a shape. Nothing of this was true. So I washed the fungus and let it dry in the sun, hoping I could use it once I find a better recipe.
Meanwhile, I became interested in tanning fish. …. I researched recipes and tried some of them. One of it was a Alaskan traditional method. Best was to use the urine of a boy infant, but otherwise that of a boy who’s voice had not yet lowered. Not having those available, I decided to collect my own urine again, as I was doing so for the Tinder fungus project anyway. By letting it sit for a few days, the ammonia level would rise.
After this would be the case, I took a bowl. Half of the bowl would be filled with urine, half of it with water. Having cut the !sh in the right shape and having scraped the big chunks of meat off, I put the !sh skins in the mixture. I let them rinse for a few hours. After that, I washed them and scraped the remaining fat and flesh off. Then I laid them in the sun to dry.
….Making precise patterns would become a necessity, while I wanted to keep the design open and decide by handling the material. So I had to find another way to create more possibilities of sewing on and working with the leather. On the internet I found a recipe stating I should make a mixture of half oil and half a bit of egg yolk. I tried to put the fish skins in it. When I washed them, it was very hard to get the egg yolk off and some stayed on the skins. They came out very orange and not flexible and shiny as what was written in the description of the recipe. The skins did not even became softer than without.
I then tried another recipe. First I would cut them, take the meat off and put them in the urine. Then dry them, then rinse them in soap water and then let them dry again. The skins came out wrinkled and felt like paper. By beating them though, I could make them soft and ready for use. The beating process takes rather long, an hour per fish skin, but the fish skins become soft and feel like a ‘real’ fabric.
Now still I am in the process of beating the skins, since I produced more than 80 tanned skins…..Nonetheless I first want to finish the fish skin project. Important is, now I know how the create a proper material to work with, find a use for it.
full report of Eric Peter: http://ericpeter.blogspot.com/2012/05/mycelium.html