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Decaying Thoughts

Decaying Thoughts is a workshop exploring how growing mushrooms from spawn on cherished books can be a means of embracing the act of letting go. Each participant was encouraged to bring a book of personal significance, one that they wished to memorialise. These books become hosts for the organic growth of mushrooms and their pages gradually lose legibility. As the books transform over the course of a month, so will our connection to the contents. Conducted on the 28th of October with 6 participants, Decaying Thoughts is one of a series of workshops in the Re/Generation exhibition in Stichting Kunstwerkt.


Sterilising the books

First we sterilized the books with boiling water to kill the unwanted bacteria and create a humid environment for the mushrooms to grow on. After the books had cooled, we sprinkled yellow or grey oyster mushroom spawn between the pages. Then we placed the books in plastic bags, where they would stay until they were fully inoculated with mycelium . After a month the book could be moved to a plastic box to be kept moist and the waiting game continued. 


Adding spawn to the books


Over the course of a few months the participants and I kept in contact by sending each other updates of the mushroom growing process and how the the changes affected us. After weeks of patient waiting variously shaped mushrooms started emerging on the books and it was beautiful to be able to undergo the process of transformation together.

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