When I returned to check on the gel plates, I saw some interesting results, varying from obvious spread marks and feathery swirls to beautiful fantasy landscapes.
Above: Lycoperdon Perlatum (Common Puffball) sample
Above: Pleurotus Ostreatus (Common Oyster Mushroom)
The Common Oyster Mushroom gave a fluffy, cloudy pattern, and with the combination of the sample in gel, looked like a bird of some sort, with a brown eye.
Above : Sample of Mycena Galericulata (Common Bonnet)
The most beautiful were from the samples of liquified Boletus Subtomentosus. One sample had been spread over jelly, the other sample had been mixed with “broth”, a protein additive to feed the bacteria.
Above and below: Boletus Subtomentosus (without protein broth) – Looks like a snowy landscape on a moonlit night
Above: Boletus Subtomentosus sample with added protein “broth”
What I believe gave these samples (and the Common Oyster samples) an advantage over the others is the fact that they were spread using a glass rod spreader, as if one were making a crepe. This is the method I will use in future when I try out any more samples, as it covers the whole dish as opposed to a few spots here and there.
I’m in awe of these beautiful pieces of nature’s art, which appear as if drawn in pencil on off-white paper. To me, they are an imaginary landscape, where distant towers or tall buildings balance precariously on a steep hill within a rugged hilly landscape. What is even more remarkable is that both plates resemble a similar landscape, but the latter looks as if it is further into the distance. The moon lights the scene, casting magical moonbeams over the kingdom….or perhaps we are looking at the scene through falling snow, the white spots giving a sense of perspective with their variations in size. Perhaps this is a picture of Dunsinane Hill, and the Hill fort where Macbeth lies waiting, anticipating his future, and the spots are the foot soldiers heading towards him to seal his fate. These landscapes certainly have a magical, even supernatural quality, and makes me feel that something special has grown from a small sample found in Birnam Wood.
I almost feel as if these gel plates could be used as a sort of divination method, a bit like the ancient art of scrying, where the past, present or future could be told using such tools as crystals,glass, mirrors, water, fire, or smoke. Such images are likely products of our imagination or subconscious, although some believe that they come from spirits, gods or demons. According to http://witchesofthecraft.com the symbol of the bird in scrying means ascension, good news, or bird headed beings. Although I couldn’t find hills, I found mountains which means obstacles or a specific area (Dunsinane Hill perhaps?) This element of foreseeing the future also ties in with the prophecies in Macbeth. I feel that this experiment links to my theme in a few ways – the site-specific gathering of the fungi, the images they have produced, and the unpredictability of the images, shapes and patterns, which may be interpreted by my imagination or that of others.