Bonsai Fungi
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Bonsai, mushrooms, and art.

Bonsai, mushrooms, and art.

Apr 10, 2022

There is a lot of history and culture in the art forms related to the growing and caring for diminutive potted plants. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the artists who practice the patience and persistence needed to grow and care for a living piece of art. I personally have some traditional and non-traditional styles of bonsai trees that I hope to one day work into the Instagram art page.

Bonsai has never been descriptive of a specific species of plant, or a specific size, or even style. What bonsai always is though, is in a pot/container. Bonsai also evokes in many people feelings of miniature and smallness.

Mushrooms are many things, but they are not plants. Mushrooms are the reproductive organs of a subset of the fungal kingdom that produce fruiting bodies (mushrooms) to spread their spores. Simply put, all mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms. The fungus intakes oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide, just like you or I.

Although I do my best to grow plants, my true passion is in cultivating mushrooms. I cultivate the mycelium of the fungus in a sterile environment and combine it with a bulk substrate to spawn directly to the containers. I place the spawned containers into an environment controlled for temperature, light, humidity, and air exchange. By providing the right conditions one can enable and encourage the production of mushrooms. Every mushroom I photograph is grown directly from the container it is photographed in.

In case you haven’t followed it yet, I have a second IG account ( @bonsaiingfungi ) that is dedicated to the process of creating the grows. I would be interested to know if there is a particular part of the process you’d like to see!

So if you start with growing out of containers in artful miniature, and switch out plants with mushrooms, you kind of end up where I am... trying to bonsai fungi. Unlike some artfully grown plants, that can be passed from master to student over generations, some species of mushrooms can peak in beauty for as little as a handful of hours. Photography allows me to be able to capture a moment in the lifecycle of the fungi, and share it. Some might say the art is the photography, or the careful planning and care that goes into each grow, or even the careful curation of small and unusual containers... but for me, the art is all three aspects coming together and being able to share the end result.

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