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Modern Mycoology: How, But not Why, to Grow Mushrooms in Egg Shells or

Using the truth to tell a lie Using that lie to tell the truth

By  Alexis  Williams

Mind control   Life  on  earth  continues  as  an  intricate  web  of   relationships,  not  a  balance  but  a  constantly   changing  struggle  between  living  organisms   for  survival.  These  organisms  live  amongst   each  other,  inside  each  other,  on  top  of  each   other;  each  species  influencing  the  experience   of  many  others,  each  playing  a  role  in  the  eco   system.     Toxoplasma  is  a  parasite  that  typically  spends   part  of  its  life  cycle  living  inside  a  rodent  and   the  end  of  its  life  cycle  in  a  cat.  To  facilitate  this   transition  it  affects  its  mouse  or  rat  host  to   behave  in  a  way  that  will  make  it,  with  parasite   inside,  more  likely  to  be  delivered  into  a  cat’s   intestines,  the  only  place  the  parasite  can  live   out  the  final  stages  of  its  life.    It  makes  its  host   less  afraid  of  cats.  It  makes  the  host  interested   in  cats.  Once  the  cycle  is  complete  the  parasite   is  often  transferred  from  a  cat  to  a  human  host.   In  these  cases  our  behaviour  and  personality  is   also  altered  making  us  less  anxious  about   dangerous  situations  and  more  likely  to  take   risks.  Human  female  hosts  become  more   intelligent,  affectionate,  social  and  obedient,   men  become  less  intelligent,  more  loyal,  frugal   and  mild  tempered  but  in  almost  all  cases  the   host  becomes  neurotic  and  insecure.     Many  parasites  affect  their  host’s  behaviour  in  a   way  that  puts  them  into  suitable  locations  for   different  stages  of  their  life  cycles.    Euhaplorchis   californiensis  is  a  fluke  that  causes  fish  to  jump   making  it  easy  for  wading  birds  to  catch  them   and  eat  them.  The  hairworm  begins  its  life  in  a   grasshopper  and  inspires  the  grasshopper  to   jump  into  pools  of  water,  where  it  drowns.  The  

hairworm then  swims  away  from  its  host  as  the   beginning  of  the  next  cycle  of  its  life.       The  Cordiceps  mushroom  is  another  parasite   that  controls  its  host’s  mind.    There  are   thousands  of  different  cordyceps  species  who   each  attack  a  different  host  species.  The   ophiocordiceps  infects  the  carpenter  ant  causing   it  to  behave  irrationally  until,  always  at  noon,  it   attaches  itself  to  the  underside  of  a  leaf  and   dies.    At  sunset  a  mushroom  erupts  from  its   head,  dropping  spores  down  and  infecting  new   ants,  perpetuating  the  cycle.    Healthy  ants  know   the  symptoms  of  an  infected  ant,  recognize  the   danger  and  banish  infected  ants  as  far  away   from  the  colony  as  possible.   Termites  have  several  levels  of  security  who   guard  their  queen  from  infected  citizens  for  the   same  reason.  Birds  abandon  infected  eggs  and   push  them  out  of  the  nest,  but  the  parasite   initiates  a  growth  on  the  outside  of  the  shell  to   deter  predators  from  eating  the  eggs  before  the   mycelium  has  fully  colonized  the  egg  and  had  a   chance  to  fruit  and  spread  it’s  spores.      

Perfidy Generally  we  believe  scientific  sounding  things.   TV  commercials  famously  appropriate  the   credibility  of  scientists  to  convince  consumers   that  a  product  is  effective  by  using  invented   scientific  words.      “Birds  abandon  infected  eggs   “is  the  point  where  the  above  information  stops   being  accurate  and  drifts  into  fiction.     Toxoplasmia  and  hairworms  are  real,  so  are   cordyceps  that  infect  insects  but  I  invented  the   Cordyceps  pennipotens,  the  flying  cordyceps   mushroom.    It  is  an  art  project  grown  in  an  art   studio  lab.       Originally  I  planned  to  grow  naturally  glow  in   the  dark  fungus  on  agar  inside  birds  egg  shells,   record  time  lapse  video  of  the  fruiting  event   that  would  break  the  shell  when  the   mushrooms  emerged  and  display  the  fictitious   cordyceps  in  a  natural  history  museum  style.   The  project  was  intended  to  represent  a  lie:   that  cordyceps  mushrooms  infect  larger  animals   than  insects,  for  example  birds,  implying  that   they  could  infect  you.    It  is  true  that  our   behaviours  and  personalities  are  affected  by   organisms  living  inside  us.  What  we  like  to  eat,   our  mood,  how  we  smell  and  who  we  attract   are  influenced  by  the  non-­‐human  organisms  in   the  human  micro  biome.  The  image  of  a   mushroom  fruiting  from  an  egg  is  a  metaphor.   The  risk  of  infection  is  a  theme  I  worked  with  as   a  performance  artist,  but  while  straddling   science  and  art  I  feel  I  have  a  responsibility,   even  if  I  am  creating  fiction,  not  to  instill   irrational  fear  or  discomfort  towards  nature.  I   do  not  want  to  add  to  the  cultural  pollution  of  

scientific misinformation  and  damage  the   public’s  understanding  of  biology.  I  especially   must  not  use  mushrooms  to  create  discomfort   in  the  viewer  and  in  turn  increase  the  viewer’s  

potential distrust  in  mushrooms.    As  a   mycological  artist  I  aim  to  work  against   mycophobia,  to  encourage  appreciation  and  to   increase  acceptance  and  support  of  new   innovation  and  integration  of  mycotechnologies   into  society  particularly  mycoremediation,   permaculture,  environmentally  responsible   building  and  packaging  materials  and  possible   power  sources  and  communication  tools.  By   showcasing  mushrooms  in  my  work  as   wondrous,  powerful  but  controllable  forces  I   hope  to  invite  my  viewers  to  take  an  interest  in   mycology  and  new  mycological  trends.    I  will   not  try  to  produce  confusing  natural  history   exhibits  but  instead  sculptural  work  that  is   aesthetically  pleasing,  conceptually  engaging   and  politically  relevant  while  sharing  and   reinterpreting  the  basic  science  that  I  learn  on   the  way.   Earnst  Haeckle,  German  biologist  and  author  of   Art  in  Nature  spent  his  life  studying  and   illustrating  organisms.  In  Natural  History  of   Creation  (1876)  he  exagerated  some  of  his  

embrionic illustrations  to  support  the   theory  that  in  utero  development  mimiced   evolutionary  development.    When  accused   of  fraud  Haeckel  argued  that  his  figures   were  schematics,  not  intended  to  be  exact.   Picasso  said  that  Art  is  a  lie  that  tells  the  truth.   He  was  talking  about  research  and  the   importance  for  an  artist  to  show  what  is  found   not  what  she  was  looking  for.   The  military  and  large  companies  hire  artists,   like  International  Fashion  Machine,  to   experiment  with  new  technologies  to  find   overlooked  applications  before  releasing  it  to   the  public  and  competition.    

The biological  fiction  of  the     Cordyceps  pennipotens    

hatch from  the  egg  and  liberate  its  spores,   infecting  grown  birds  and  repeating  the  cycle.      

Inspired  by  the  cordiceps  mushroom  who  fruits   from  the  heads  of  caterpillars  and  moths  after   influencing  them  to  behave  in  manners  most   beneficial  to  the  parasite  I  imagined  a   mushroom  that  would  control  the  behaviour  of   other  animals,  and  how  they  might  interfere   with  natural  cycles.    


I  invented  a  parasite  that  spent  its  life  inside  a   bird.  The  spore,  having  been  inhaled  by  a   female  bird,  would  colonize  the  fertilized  egg,   perhaps  sensing  the  infection,  or  perhaps  under   the  influence  of  the  parasite  growing  inside  her   the  mother  pushes  the  infected  egg  from  the   nest  on  to  the  forest  floor.  Although  the  forest   duff  is  a  dark  and  humid  place,  suitable  for  the   fruiting  of  mushrooms,  the  egg  and  fungal   spawn  become  vulnerable  to  predators.    The   fungus  initiates  a  defence  mechanism:   poisonous  growths  on  the  outside  of  the  shell   that  deter  predators  while  the  mycelium  thrives   on  the  inside.  Once  nutrients  inside  the  shell   run  out  the  fungus  produces  fruit,  mushrooms  

The  ephemeral  sculptural  work  consists  of  live   cultivated  mushrooms  grown  inside  cultivated   eggs  on  which  basic  crystals  were  grown.  The   work  is  a  fetishized  art  object  created  inside  an   artist  studio  biology  lab.      

Process Lab  set  up   I  began  the  project  by  building  a  clean  space  in   my  studio.  I  used  the  frame  from  a  tent  and   sheets  of  plastic  which  I  stapled  together  then   sealed  the  seams  with  packing  tape.  I  covered   the  floor  in  plastic.  There  is  something  a  bit   unsatisfying  about  building  a  space   impermeable  to  microorganisms  and  then   leaving  a  hole  big  enough  for  myself  to  get   through.  The  door  is  a  series  of  plastic  flaps  with   a  switch  back.  I  furnished  the  space  with  a   plastic  table,  flow  hood  and  HEPA  filter.  The   temperature  in  the  school,  which  I  cannot   control,  went  up  dramatically  as  I  began  to  build   and  since  mushroom  production  is  partly   initiated  by  cool  autumn  air  I  will  have  to   remove  the  eggs  from  the  safe  lab  environment   into  a  place  that  I  can  drop  the  temperature.  I   foresee  these  organisms  being  disturbed  by   their  transportation  on  the  metro,  but  expect   the  event  to  be  ritualistic  for  me  and  look   forward  to  it.     Oology  (wild  bird  egg  and  nest  collection)   One  of  the  first  and  regular  steps  in  this  project   is  to  collect  eggs,  a  once  respected  Victorian   scientific  practice,  now  illegal.    My  partner  eats   3  chicken  eggs  a  day  so  I  blow  them  empty  and   use  them  as  incubators  for  the  growing   mushroom  mycelium.    While  shopping  for  large   animal  veterinary  syringes  at  a  farm  supply   store,  to  fill  the  eggs  with  growing  medium,  I   made  friends  with  a  farmer  who  keeps  large   birds  who  gave  me  goose,  duck  and  emu  eggs   and  will  give  me  peacock  and  ostrich  eggs  when   they  begin  laying  in  the  summer.  I  expect  it  will   be  easier  to  fruit  mushrooms  from  larger   containers  but  still  plan  to  try  quails  eggs.  I  will  

show the  finished  work  in  petri  dish  nests  and   natural  bird’s  nests  so  I  have  been  collecting   abandoned  nests.     Sterile  technique   Working  with  mushroom  cultures  is  a  delicate   process.  The  fungal  mycelium  is  encouraged  to   grow  on  a  nutritious  medium  inside  sterile   vessels.  The  environment  would  be  very   comfortable  for  many  organisms  if  they  were   given  a  chance  so  great  care  is  taken  not  to   introduce  any  contaminations  but  the  air   around  us  is  filled  with  microorganisms.  We  are   all  covered  in  bacteria,  viruses,  tiny  single  celled   explorers  moving  around  looking  for  a  nice   place  to  colonize.  The  air  is  filled  with   unimaginable  quantities  of  fungal  spores   released  by  moulds  growing  in  our  homes  or   that  were  released  by  mushrooms  on  the  other   side  of  the  planet  that  have  been  riding  around   on  the  wind,  on    the  backs  of  insects,  animals   and  ourselves.     I  use  a  pressure  cooker,  alcohol  swabs  and  a   soldering  iron  to  keep  my  work  space,  tools  and   media  clean.    I  only  enter  my  clean  space  while   I’m  wearing  a  Tyvek  suit  with  hood,  gloves  and   dust  mask  to  keep  the  microorganisms  on  my   body  from  contaminating  my  cultures.   Whenever  I  leave  I  spray  bleach  on  everything.   Crystals   Having  never  grown  crystals  before  I  searched   the  web  for  instructions  and  wondered  if  I  could   use  an  egg  as  a  scaffold  for  crystal  growth.  I   found  many  simple  instructions  for  growing  salt,   sugar  and  borax  crystals  and  was  able  to  make   them  form  on  the  outside  of  the  eggs.    The   problem  was  that  the  crystals  added  further   fragility  to  the  egg  which  needed  to  be  sterilized   before  inoculation.  There  is  no  way  the  crystals  

could survive  pressure  cooking.  Also  it  was   possible  that  the  salt/sugar/borax  would  mix   with  the  agar  and  inhibit  the  mycelial  growth.  A   possible  solution  would  be  to  coat  the  egg  with   something  like  a  lacquer  to  strengthen  the   crystals  and  seal  in  the  toxins  or  to  use  the  salt   covered  eggs  without  pressure  cooking,  hoping   that  the  salt  would  have  killed  anything  living  on   the  egg.   Cultures   I  ordered  sterile  petri  dishes  and  mushroom   cultures  from  Carolina  biology  supply  and   Sporeworks  on  line.  They  shipped  the  live   specimen  to  my  door.  I  used  a  potato  dextros   agar  solution  made  from  agar  bought  in  china   town  on  the  advice  from  Anna  Dimitri.  The  agar   was  a  fraction  of  the  price  of  the  lab  grade  agar.   I  used  a  lot  of  it    before  noticing  that  the   Chinese  food  agar  is  mostly  sugar.  My  first  40   dishes  were  made  of  this  sweet  agar  in  which  I   tried  to  culture  three  bioluminescent  strains   and  10  old  edibles  that  I  expected  to  have  lost   its  virility.  The  old  phoenix  oyster,  like  its  name,   after  spending  two  years  in  my  basement  came   through  and  thrived.  Struggling  alongside  were   the  old  Hericium,  and  King  Strapharia.  The  new   ghost  fungus  worked  very  hard  and  managed  a   few  hyphel  threads.  The  honey  mushroom   mycelium  turned  brown  and  sent  down   rhyzomorphic  strands.    New  dishes  were   ordered  and  I  started  over  with  new   unsweetened  agar.     I  set  up  the  project  expecting  to  be  PCing  jars  of   grain  and  eggs  all  the  time  but  my  PC  gasket   would  not  hold  pressure.  Unable  to  find  a   replacement  gasket  I  used  a  pair  of  C  clamps  to   hold  tight  the  lid  on  the  old  pressure  cooker  but   the  pressure  blew  the  handle  off.  This  is  why   there  so  many  warnings  about  pressure   cookers.  I  traveled  to  Ottawa  to  use  a  friend’s  

All American  PC.      A  PC  is  an  absolutely   necessary  tool  to  work  with  mycelium  working   without  one  has  greatly  limited  what  I  can  do   with  and  how  quickly  things  get  started.   Shared  knowledge   With  this  project  I’m  trying  to  subvert  normal   artistic  and  scientific  experiments  and  make  the   work  exist  outside  the  science  and  art  worlds  by   making  it  open  source,  by  publishing  my  process   as  a  zine  and  by  posting  it  online.     This  project  was  supported  by  hundreds  of   google  searches.  The  internet  is  a  place  where   entertainment  and  research  meet  and  can  be   interchangeable.  So  I  ask  ‘does  it  matter  if  what   you  read  is  true?’  This  experiment  has  become   not  ‘Can  I  grow  mushrooms  in  an  egg?’  but   ‘What  happens  when  science  is  in  the  hands  of   an  artist?’  and  has  led  to  several  new  projects   including  much  less  literal  ways  to  tell  the   biological  fiction  of  the  Cordyceps  pennipotens   and  other  artistic  applications  for  growing   crystals,  mycelium  and  bacteria.                      

1 VA  045  

12 Seasonal  Affective  Disorder  light  with  timer  

2 Old  silk  screen  with  circus  logo  

for growing  bioluminescent  algae  

3 Terrarium  for  fruiting  mushrooms  or  keeping  

13 Sea  salt  for  growing  crystals  


14 Empty  egg  shells  for  incubating  mushrooms  

4 Pot  for  cooking  grain  to  feed  to  mushrooms  

15 Box  from  bio  supply  shop  

5 Luna  Moth  found  by  Mark  Combellack  

16 My  clothes  as  I  am  about  to  go  in  the  lab  

6 Mason  jars  for  sterilizing  grain,  eggs  and  

and am  wearing  an  anti-­‐microbial  suit  


17 Gyotaku  print  of  a  salmon  wearing  a  dress  

7 Pressure  Cooker  on  hot  plate  for  sterilizing  

meeting a  sparrow  

8 Bail  of  straw  for  growing  mushrooms  on  

18 Little  red  wagon  

9 Box  of  petri  dishes  

19 Collection  of  wasp  nests  

10 Microscope  

20 Collection  of  1200  butterflies  

11 Microwave  for  mixing  agar  

21 Mushroom  spore  prints  on  glass  

22 Butterfly  dust  on  cotton  

23 Books  on  mycology  

24 Tukami  matts  from  Hideki  

25 Toad  stool  

35 Digital  print  of  manipulated  macro  

26 Artist  conk  drawings  

photograph of  wild  mushrooms  

27 Garrison  creek  graphite  rubbings  

36 Gyotaku  print  of  goldfish  

28 Dried  oyster  mushrooms  grown  on  grain  

37 Quilled  phone  book  

29 Porcelain  rabbit,  first  test  as  crystal  

38 Bin  of  mushroom  cultures  

growing scaffold  

39 Bin  of  skulls  and  bones  

30 Jar  of  bees  and  horse  hair  

40 Sacred  geometric  drain  cover  graphite  

31 Boschesque  flowers  from  Fiona  Annis  


32 Gyotaku  prints  of  a  wood  pecker  

41 Locker  full  of  lab  supplies  

33 Spacecraft  from  the  playful  geometer    

42 Clean  room  

34 Spore  print  and  text  hand  written  in  ink  

43 Parasol  reupholstered  with  digital  

made entirely  from  mushrooms  

mushroom prints  on  mulberry  paper  

44 Stardrop  Asterism,  man  hole  rubbing  


Instructions   How  to  grow  Crystals  

To grow  crystals  you  need  a  very  concentrated     solution  of  water  and  a  soluble  crystal  like  salt.   Dissolve  as  much  salt  into  boiling  water  as  you   can  until  it  sits  on  the  bottom  of  the  pot.  If  you   leave  this  pot  for  a  few  days  or  weeks  the  water   will  evaporate  and  the  salt  will  reform  into  little   cubes.  If  you  place  something  in  the  pot,  or   pour  the  solution  into  another  container  with   an  object  in  it,  like  an  egg,  crystals  will  form  on   the  object  above  the  water  line  as  the  water   evaporates.  Only  use  enough  water  to  partly   submerge  the  object,  or  invent  a  way  to  dangle   the  object  above  the  water  level  to  completely   cover  it  with  crystals.  Borax  is  a  cheap  chemical   sold  in  pharmacies  for  treating  minor  cuts  and   burns.  When  dissolved  in  water  and  evaporated   it  creates  much  bigger  crystals  than  the  salt,  but   instead  of  the  crystals  being  formed  above  the   water  line  they  form  on  the  part  of  the  object   that  is  submerged,  so  it  is  better  to  float  the   object  in  the  liquid.  Borax  crystals  form  much   more  quickly  than  salt.     Leave  the  container  in  a  safe  place  where  it  will   not  get  knocked  or  shaken  for  several   hours/days/weeks  depending  on  your   patience/commitment  level.  You  can  add  fresh   solution  to  the  container  as  time  passes.  Other   cheap  and  easily  found  minerals  can  be  used   like  sugar  or  borax.              

How to  empty  an  egg     To  grow  crystals  on,  mushrooms  in  or  keep  for   any  reason  it  can  be  handy  to  blow  an  egg   empty  while  keeping  the  shell  intact.  If  your  egg   comes  straight  from  a  bird  it  could  have   salmonella  on  the  shell  that  could  make  you  sick   so  clean  the  egg  before  you  begin  with  a   sponge,  then  with  an  alcohol  swab  or  peroxide   to  kill  any  bacteria.  Hold  the  egg  in  a  support   like  an  egg  cup.  A  shot  glass  works  well.  Use  a   strong  sewing  needle  to  pierce  the  egg.    A  heavy   object  can  be  used  as  a  hammer  if  the  shell  is   very  strong.    Gently  make  a  series  of  piercings   to  create  an  air  insertion  point.      If  you  want  to   fill  the  egg  with  a  growing  medium  to  grow   mushroom  make  the  next  hole  on  the  same  side   of  the  egg,  otherwise  put  the  holes  on  the  top   and  bottom  of  the  egg.    Pierce  another  hole  at   least  an  inch  and  a  half  away  from  the  air   insertion  point  and  with  the  needle  break  the   egg  shell  to  make  an  opening  the  size  of  a  pea   or  two,  bigger  if  you  are  using  a  large  bird’s  egg   like  an  emu  or  ostrich.  This  hole  will  be  the   drain.  Insert  the  needle  or  a  skewer  into  the   drain  and  break  up  the  yolk.  Wipe  the  air   insertion  point  clean  with  an  alcohol  pad  or   paper  towel  as  egg  will  have  spilled  out  while   you  made  the  second  hole.  Clean  all  the  little   crumbs  away  so  they  do  not  end  up  in  your   breakfast.  Hold  the  egg  over  a  bowl  and  with   your  mouth  over  the  clean  air  insertion  point   gently  but  firmly  blow.  Position  the  egg  so  the   bigger  hole  is  below  your  face  so  you  do  not   blow  egg  into  your  eyes.  This  can  be  tricky  if  you   are  using  a  small  egg  with  holes  close  together   on  the  same  side.  Breath  through  your  nose   while  keeping  pressure  in  your  mouth  the  way  a   didgeridoo  player  does  to  keep  the  egg  from   spilling  back  out  your  valve  and  ending  up  in   your  mouth  if  you  break  contact  to  catch  your   breath.    



How to  make  an  emu  omelette     A  frittata  is  an  omelette  where  everything  in  the   omelette  is  fried  first,  then  the  egg  is  poured  on   top  and  once  the  bottom  of  the  omelette  is   cooked  it  is  put  under  the  grill  to  cook  the  top.     1  Preheat  oven  to  500   2  Chop  up  meat  and  vegetable:    sausage,   tomato  and  wild  mushrooms,  or  whatever   ingredients  you  prefer.   3  melt  some  butter  and  drop  these  ingredients   in  the  pan.   4  while  they  cook  blow  the  emu  egg  into  a  really   big  bowl.  If  you  have  never  blown  an  egg  do  it   before  you  start  cooking  as  it  can  take  some   time  to  get  right.     5  pour  a  splash  of  water  into  the  egg  and  a  little   milk  if  you  like.  The  water  will  make  the  egg   really  fluffy  when  it’s  cooked.  Splash  in  some   Worcestershire  sauce,  or  soy  sauce.  Hot  sauce  is   nice  here  too.   6  whisk  it  all  together  with  a  fork   7  pour  the  egg  mixture  into  the  pan  over  the   meat  and  veg.  use  a  wooden  spoon  to  gently   move  the  egg  around  so  that  there  is  always   new  raw  egg  on  the  bottom  of  the  pan,  but   don’t  turn  it  into  scrambled.   8  Slice  or  shred  some  cheese  and  sprinkle  on   top.   9  Put  the  entire  frying  pan  under  the  grill.  Close   the  oven  door  as  much  as  you  can  with  the   handle  sticking  out.  Stand  there  and  watch  as  it   will  only  take  a  minute  or  two  to  cook  the  top  of   the  egg.  Wait  until  there  is  no  liquid  and  the   cheese  is  melted  and  bubbling.     How  to  make  an  egg  into  a  spawn  vessel     After  pressure  cooking  the  intact  and  sterile  egg   shells  can  be  used  as  vessels  to  hold  agar  and   become  the  incubators  for  the  growing  

mycelium. If  you  put  the  holes  on  opposite  sides   of  the  egg  you  can  close  one  hole  with  silicon   before  sterilization.  This  seal  can  be  used  as  a   self-­‐healing  injection  port  when  inoculation   with  mushroom  cultures  but  mainly  will  keep   the  agar  from  spilling  out  before  it  sets.  Wrap   the  eggs  in  paper  and  drop  them  into  wide   mouth  mason  jars.  Small  mouth  jars  are  difficult   to  work  with  because  you  won’t  be  able  to  get   your  hand  in  the  jar  to  get  the  egg  out  and  will   risk  spilling  water  over  your  clean  work  space.   Fill  the  jars  half  way  with  water.  Gently  fill  the   jars  with  as  many  eggs  will  fit  holding  them   under  the  water  to  fill  them  with  water.  Use  a   piece  of  Tyvek  suit  or  a  coffee  filter  instead  of   the  metal  jar  lid  held  down  with  the  ring  and   then  cover  with  tin  foil.  Cook  at  15lbs  of   pressure  for  one  hour.  Let  the  jars  cool   overnight.  Keep  the  eggs  inside  the  jars  until  the   moment  before  you  fill  them  with  substrate.   Use  a  large  syringe  without  a  needle  to  fill  the   eggs  with  agar  through  the  fluid  evacuation   point.  A  chicken  egg  will  take  about  60ml  of   agar.  Cover  the  air  insertion  point  with  an  anti-­‐ microbial  filter  made  from  a  piece  of  paper  first   aid  tape  to  allow  oxygen  to  pass  into  the  shell   but  to  keep  out  contaminants.             How  to  make  agar  agar  as  nutritional  substrate     Agar  is  basically  Chinese  Jello,  but  instead  of   being  made  of  horse  bones  it’s  made  of  sea   weed.  It  is  used  by  scientists  to  grow  things  in   labs  because  it  solidifies  to  a  hard  jelly  at  room   temperature  and  does  not  melt  like  Jello.  It  is   mixed  with  a  nutrient,  in  this  case  potato  broth,   and  a  drop  of  honey  to  comfort  the  mushroom.       Boil  150g  of  potato  in  600  ml  of  water  for  about   an  hour.  Remove  the  potatoes  and  save  the  

broth. Add  13g  of  agar  powder  to  500ml  of   potato  broth  and  a  drop  of  honey.  If  you  double   the  recipe  do  not  double  the  honey,  you  only   need  a  tiny  bit.    Cook  the  mixture  in  a  jar  in  a   pressure  cooker  at  15lbs  of  pressure  for  an   hour.  If  you  do  not  have  a  pressure  cooker  agar   can  be  cooked  in  the  microwave.  Cook  for  2   min,  let  it  stand  in  the  microwave  for  30  sec   then  cook  for  2  more  min.  The  agar  powder   must  dissolve  for  it  to  work.  Do  not  stir  or  touch   the  mixture  once  it  is  cooked  to  avoid   contamination.  Use  immediately  by  pouring   into  petri  dishes,  or  injecting  into  egg  shells.     How  to  steal  a  wild  bird’s  nest     Oology  is  illegal  because  stealing  wild  bird  eggs   affects  the  wild  bird  population,  but  birds  only   use  nests  when  they  have  eggs.  Once  the  babies   have  flown  the  nest  the  nest  is  abandoned,   sometimes  they  are  reclaimed  the  following   year,  but  often  birds  will  build  a  new  nest.  The   nests  are  easily  spotted  in  the  winter  when  the   leaves  are  off  the  trees  and  there  is  snow  on  the   ground  to  give  you  a  boost  up  the  tree.  Nests   are  easily  found  along  roadside  fence  lines  that   an  also  give  a  helping  boost  to  reach  high  up   nests.  Many  small  tidy  nests  fall  apart  if  they  are   removed  from  the  tree  so  it  is  useful  to  trim  the   part  of  the  branch  that  the  nest  is  built  in.  Use  a   large  ratcheting  pair  of  cutters,  preferably  with   long  handles  to  extend  your  reach.       How  to  get  a  gallery  show   Most  galleries  put  out  a  call  for  submission  at   least  every  year,  some  of  them  post  on  their   websites.  Go  to  galleries  and  artist  run  centers   and  ask  them  what  and  whose  work  they   usually  show.  Do  Google  searches  for  calls  for   submissions.  Before  sending  an  application  read    

the gallery’s  mandate  to  see  what  kind  of  work   they  normally  show  so  you  know  what  work  of   yours  is  suitable  and  how  to  talk  about  it  in  a   way  that  will  be  easy  for  them  to  envision  your   work  in  their  space.  Usually  an  artist  CV,  an   artist  statement,  a  biography,  a  description  of   the  work  proposed  and  a  few  sample  images   are  expected  in  the  submission.  Keep  all  your   submissions  to  use  to  cut  and  paste  together  to   make  new  submissions.  Submissions  for  the   same  work  will  get  better  each  time  you  submit   if  you  tailor  it  for  the  gallery  each  time.  Get   someone  to  proof  read  your  submission  and  to   make  suggestions  on  how  to  improve  it.       How  to  make  a  zine     There  is  no  one  way  to  do  this.  Basically  a  zine  is   a  low  budget  self-­‐produced  bunch  of  pages   bound  together  somehow.  Beyond  that  the   contents,  the  design,  the  materials  and  tools   used  are  up  to  you.  To  make  this  zine  I  used   Word,  Photoshop  and  Indesign  to  create  a  PDF   file.  I  then  uploaded  it  to  and  took  it   to  the  local  print  shop.  I  work  at  a  digital   printing  lab  so  I  printed  the  centerfolds  myself   with  a  large  format  ink  jet  printer.  The  print   shop  printed  the  rest  with  a  laser  printer.  This   could  all  have  been  done  on  a  desk  top  printer   and  bound  at  home.  The  tricky  part  is  figuring   out  how  to  distribute  the  material.  Publishing  it   on  line  is  a  cheap  way  to  distribute  material.   There  are  many  print-­‐on-­‐demand  companies  on   line  that  you  can  up  load  to  and  your  readers   can  order  a  copy  directly  from  the  company  at   no  financial  risk  to  you.  The  copies  I  had  printed     will  most  likely  be  distributed  at  zine  fairs  and   gallery  shows  where  I  will  show  the  sculptural   work.    


“Inhaling the Spore: A Journey Through the Museum of Jurassic Technology.” Dir Leonard Feinstein. 2006. "Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature.” Harry N. Abrams. 1990 “The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home.” Paul Stamets, J. S. Chilton. 1983 “The Strength and Fragility of the Egg: Spring Hurlbut's Interventions in the Cassical Idiom.” Cynthia Imogen Hammond. 1996 "Radical Mycology | Spawning Mycelial Networks." The Spore Liberation Front. AK Press. Ed. 1.1 2010 “The Century of Artists' Books.” Johanna Drucker. Granary Books. Ed.2. 2004. “Ernst Haeckel: Evangelist for evolution and apostle of deceit.” R. Grigg. 1996.

“Carved Ostrich Eggs.” Eggsclusive12. 2009. “Grocery Store Agar Tek.” Helltick. 2007. “How to Grow Great Crystals.” Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. 2013. “Toxoplasma – The Brain Parasite That Influences Human Culture.” Ed Yong. 2008.


Modern Mycoology: How, But not Why, to Grow Mushrooms in Egg Shells or Using the truth to tell a lieUsing that lie to tell the truth

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