Cradle is a living mycelium sculpture; Oyster and Coral Tooth species. Mycelium is the mass of branched, tubular filaments (hyphae) of fungi. The different species are fed sterilised straw, soy and beechwood substrates which contain the necessary nutrients.

Installation day - no mushrooms yet!
Installation day – no mushrooms yet!

Cradle is still growing and possibly will sprout fruit (mushrooms) during the exhibition and display signs of myco-welding. Myco-welding is living ‘glue’; a white velvety growth that sticks the building blocks of mycelium together for durable construction. The blocks of mycelium for Cradle are aged between 6-18 months (Oyster) and 6 weeks (Coral Tooth).

Cradle sculpture sprouting mushrooms
Cradle sculpture sprouting mushrooms

Much mycelium naturally exists underground, is invisible and responsible for sustaining a symbiotic ecosystem. We are familiar with mushrooms, antibiotics, statins and chemotherapy drugs developed from fungi. In recent years, mycelium is increasingly grown for food, fashion, design, furniture, building construction, insulation and architecture etc. Much manufactured mycelium is grown using bi-products from agriculture and the food industry ie grain husks, coffee grounds which provide nutrient-rich substrates.

Sprouting mycelium and red wool
Sprouting mycelium and red wool

Myco-remediation is when mycelium helps eliminate non-biodegradable waste from the environment such as nuclear radiation, unrefined oil and plastics. For example, Oyster mycelium can digest PCB’s, cadmium, mercury, dioxins, synthetic dyes, E.Coli and oil hydrocarbons.

Cradle sprouting mushrooms - living sculpture
Cradle sprouting mushrooms – living sculpture

Cradle was part of a Royal Society of Sculptors group exhibition called ‘Casting Shadows’ at ACEarts in Somerset 2024.


Mycelium Works