Textiles Made from Fungal Mycelium
Since Earth Day is this week, we have a little bit of an unusual BeWeave It for you today! Did you know it’s possible to make fungal textiles? Click here to check it out! Most of us are accustomed to thinking about mushrooms as food, but in an effort to create new, creative, sustainable textiles, many designers are creating fabric, whole garments, and more out of mycelium, the vegetative “roots” of fungus.
Some mycelium of interest to textile makers have fascinating properties, including the ability to repel water, kill microbes, and care for the skin. But most importantly, textiles made from mycelium are sustainable, in that they allow you to only make as much material as is needed for a garment, they can be easily repaired with more mycelium, and they are completely compostable. They’re a great possible alternative to petroleum-based synthetic textiles, which cannot be recycled efficiently and are environmentally harmful to produce.
As weavers, many of us are frustrated with the wastefulness and lack of care present in modern industrial textile production. Our solutions may including weaving more of our own cloth, taking more care to repair damaged cloth, and reusing cloth in other projects.
These scientists and designers come at the problem from a different angle, challenging our perceptions of what can be considered a textile. For example, rather than creating yarn from mycelium, fabric is grown in whole pieces.
It seems to me, however, that it would be possible to make yarn out of fungus. If they did, would you be willing to try weaving with it? I think I’d give it a shot!