Alexis Williams

 

Mushrooms click on images for more

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Mycology is the study of mushrooms.  Mycophilia is the love of them.  Alexis uses the act of exploring the forest as a pilgrimage to unveil truths about biology and our place within the ecology of the earth. She is particularly interested in the ecology of our own bodies.  As a mycological artist she aims to work against mycophobia, to encourage appreciation and to increase acceptance and support of innovative myco-technologies into society. By showcasing mushrooms in her work as wondrous, powerful and useful forces she hopes to invite her viewers to take an interest in cutting edge mycological trends and the potential for new symbiotic relationships with mushrooms. Since she started studying mycology in 2008 she has collected and observed thousands of species of wild mushrooms. She is interested in developing new ways of delivering mycological knowledge and rethinking how science can be expressed through art. Her mycophiliac practice has led to the development of a large series of prints made with mushroom spores, guided forest walks that teach wild mushroom appreciation to artists and a smart phone app: the Mushroom Oracle that delivers motivational advice alongside simple biology lessons.

 

 

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The Mushroom Oracle
Free smart phone app download for Android

The Mushroom Oracle is a tarot deck for artists, scientists and spiritual explorers that draws from biology and mythology to deliver words of wisdom from the mushroom spirits. It teaches the survival strategies that mushrooms learned from surviving several world wide mass extinctions. This deck uses lessons from mushroom biology to give advice on healthy intentional living. It focuses on knowing when and what to let go of, when to push forward, when to seek guidance and inspiration and when to meditate and be calm.
The deck was created by an artist and amateur mycologist to join the forces of art, science and spirituality. It features 34 digitally manipulated macro photographs of wild mushrooms, each leading to advice and a biology lesson. The cards are formatted to fit a tablet or a phone.

myophilia

 

 

Mycophilia

A crative non fiction paper on Mycology.

yastogram

 

 

Yestogram Self Portait

2013

Made durring a workshop with Lucas Czjzek hosted by the Finish BioArt Society at Pixelache in Helsinki. The white layer of the image is baker's yeast growning in an agar plate, the black is the charcoal colored agar where the yeast has been killed by exposing it to UV light

cordyceps egg

 

Modern Mycoology

How, But not Why, to Grow Mushrooms in Egg Shells or Using the truth to tell a lie, Using that lie to tell the truth

2013

contamination art
 

Contaminations

2013

Working with mushroom cultures is a delicate process. The fungus is encouraged to grow on a nutritious medium inside sterile petri dishes. The environment would be very comfortable for many organisms if they were accidentally introduced.

The air around us is filled with microorganisms. We are all covered in them. Bacteria, viruses, tiny single celled explorers moving around looking for a nice place to colonize. The air is filled with unimaginable quantities of fungal spores released by moulds growing in our homes or that were released by mushrooms on the other side of the planet that have been riding around on the wind, on the backs of insects, animals and ourselves.

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Mushroaming with the Artist 2013

This unusual guided hike through the Morgan Arboretum hosted by The/Le Sensorium taught appreciation and encouraged inspiration by the mycology of the forest. Participants were invited to step off the path where the group experienced making decisions with intuition and their senses, using an arsenal of art and science tools to see, smell and taste the forest from new perspectives. Alexis introduced he public to the world of fungus, facilitated conversations about their forms and life cycles and described and illustrated some of the practical uses and industrial applications of mushrooms and fungi including her own dye and ink making practice, as well as her printing and cultivation projects.

Alexis uses the act of exploring the forest as a pilgrimage to unveil truths about biology and our place within the ecology of the earth and the ecology of our own bodies. As a mycological artists she aims to work against mycophobia, to encourage appreciation and to increase acceptance and support of new innovation and integration of mycotechnologies into society. By showcasing mushrooms in her work as wondrous, powerful but controllable forces she hopes to invite her viewers to take an interest in mycology and new mycological trends.

pukaskwa art

 

 

Pukaskwa National Park
Artist in the Park Residency

2013

Guided mushroom walks and appreciation workshops

Print exhibition in the visitor center

mushroom

 

Mushroom Moon

David Attenborough Video Haiku 32 & 33
2012

Video Haiku made by remixing David Attenborough's natural history films.

Dharma
 

Dharma; Everything Survives by Going Round in Circles

2011

This set of digital prints and hand written mantras makes a poem that lovingly describes mycology. Half of the images are digitally manipulated macro field photographs transformed into fantasy organisms. The other half are a set of meditational mandalas made with repeated handwritten lines of poetry written in ink made entirely from wild mushrooms.

artist Conks

 

 

Artist Conks

2010-11

The Artist conk, Ganoderma applanatum, is a medicinal polipore mushroom whose spore surface permanently changes color when touched imediately after harvest, so it is possible to draw on them with any tool.
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Ember's Moving Mushrooms

2011- ongoing

Time lapse and real time video observations of wild mushroom growth.

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Phone Books to Mushrooms

2011

Discarded phone books were pasteurized and used as a substrate to grow gourmet, medicinal and glow in the dark mushrooms. The books were used as bricks to build living sculptures in community gardens and music festivals that provided food for the communities they served.

Originally commissioned by the Ottawa Art Gallery, the project won several grants including the Om Reunion Project Art Grant, The Ottawa Awesome Foundation Grant and The Mechatronic Award for Innovative Excellence.

 

Mycography

 

 

Mycography

2008-11

These wild mushroom spore samples were taken carefully to preserve the shape of the mushrooms, a method traditionally used in species identification and cultivation. I collect hundreds of wild mushrooms every day to use in my spore prints on glass.  My favorites are large scale multi-layered pieces, which are impossible to photograph because they are reflective. These images are scans of prints small enough to fit on the scanner bed. This project lead me to learn to cut and solder glass, a technique I will continue to experiment with this summer.

 

diaries

 

 

The Mushroom Diaries

2008 - 2013

Hopefully, sharing the passion and adventures that come with wild mushroom foraging, will encourage others to indulge in their own passions.

walks
 

Guided Mushroom Walks
2011-2015

Guided walks in local forests aimed at artists to use mushrooms as a source of inspiration and pigment for dyes and drawing. Will be posted again in the Fall.