Saturday, February 19, 2022

Polypore Paper

 Good Morning!  It's been ages since I've updated, but I've made some fun discoveries from my kitchen conceptions that I'd love to share with you!  I don't want you to have to wade through a lot of fluff so I'll just jump right in today with my method for mushroom paper!

Red-banded polypore are abundant in the PNW (but please, always use sustainable foraging practices!), although from my research, I understand that most bracket fungi work wonderfully as a paper!  I usually find them on the sides on dead, standing fir, but sometimes on larger downed trees.  The young ones pop off pretty easily, but I've had to use a mushroom knife older varieties.   This small one was easily harvested and relatively easy to dice.

Once I got it in and rinsed of excess dirt, I spent a minute shaving off a bit of the black topside.  I didn't get everything, but I was looking for minimal variance in the color of my paper.  I diced the remaining conch and poured boiling water over it, letting it set until cool with the goal of loosening up the fibers.

I prepped a makeshift paper mold.  Not ideal, but it worked in a pinch.  My main focus is ink making, but I might be focusing more on paper now, too! 

After the soak.  I ended up refreshing this waster before blending, since I wanted as light of a color as possible without bleaching.

Blended a couple cycles.  I suppose if you wanted to go at this very traditionally, you could have strained off the water after soaking and used a mortar and pestle?

The pour.  Yeah, it definitely looks like sick at this stage!  *Note:  I'm quite certain this isn't proper papermaking procedure, just the best I could do with the research and resources I had.  

I found giving it a shake only made the material bunch up together, so I had to carefully pat even by hand.

Drying on a paper bag in front of the fire.  Hm, it's a little lumpy, so I simmered the remaining for about a half hour.

But, WOW!  Look at that flexibility!  

I should mention that I tried a few ways of drying: on the screen, on the bag, and pressed between the two, at least until I could easily get the screen off. 

Page #2 dried, held up in front of the fire.  Much more consistent and even thinner than the first!  I thought about trimming the edges, but I kind of like the look as they are.

I got three pages out of that little polypore, plus enough pulp in the freezer (trying to break it down even further) for a couple more!  Next, to see how it takes to ink!  Mushroom ink, naturally! =)

Thank you all for reading through!  Below are links to more resources on the topic:

"The Organic Artist" by Nick Neddo:

Mother Earth News article on mushroom paper and ink making:

Fungi Perfecti's article on mushroom paper making:

No comments:

Post a Comment