This hat’s going to Sweden!

Mushroom hat

This hat dried just in time for me to take it along with me to the International Fungi & Fibre Symposium in Gysinge, Sweden. Its base is made of conk (Fomitopsis pinicola), with turkeytails (Trametes versicolor) and dyer’s polypore (Phaeolus schweinitzii) for the added colour and texture.

I hesitated to pack this in my suitcase, fearing it might get crushed or lost, so the safest way to transport it was on my head. It’s surprisingly sturdy and attracted a fair bit of attention, but I do need to find a better mold – I molded this over a bowl, and it ended up being a bit too wide and a bit too shallow. I made some “hat bands” of felted wool, which helped with the fit, but I still have to screw it on my head until it fits securely!

Sweden in another week!

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5 thoughts on “This hat’s going to Sweden!”

    1. Sorry for the delay in responding – I didn’t check my blog while I was away. I thought about trying to reshape the hat after it had dried, but I think it would be very difficult to squeeze a larger shape down into a smaller one. Better that I find the right-sized mold to begin with. The hat now belongs to a Swedish mushroomer who was very happy to get it!

  1. I am wondering about the implications of wearing a potentially toxic substance close to the brain. A number of mushroom produce neuro-toxins which can be excreted and absorbed through time.

    Also wondering about discussion regarding environmental implications of mushroom gathering and wild crafting (which I have a total weakness for). Do you know of anywhere I can explore those topics?

    Beautiful blog!

    1. Thanks for your comments. The conk that I use for the base layers of the hat (Fomitopsis pinicola) is technically edible, although in reality too tough to eat, so I assume it’s safe to have close to the skin – I put a waterproof coating on the hat, which would also protect it from conk-eating bugs.

      Responsible mushroomers pick only the fruiting body (the mushroom itself) without disturbing the mycelium, the main part of the organism that grows underground or within the affected wood. It’s also a good idea to leave a few mushrooms in place, so they can release their spores and grow new mushrooms, and to tread as lightly as possible on the forest floor. Mushrooms will come back in the same places each year (weather conditions permitting) if their habitat is treated with respect.

      I like David Arora’s books for identification and for his discussion of mushrooming; Paul Stamets’ opinions are well worth exploring.

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