This mushroom is an epic dyer! My first study was with an exhaust bath that had literally dyed 20 skeins of fiber. I let it sit and rot for 3 months and then dyed a yard of fabric. It created the most beautiful range of blues. Another 4 months later I revived the Sarcadon fuscoindicus dye pot and got an amazing range of greens and blues in this study. What surprised me the most was the blue on the linen. I feel there are a lot of similarities between this mushroom and indigo. It likes a very alkaline environment, performs best when fermented (rotted) and performs beautifully on cellulose fibers since they too love an alkaline environment. I wish I was a mycologist or chemist so I could really dig in and learn more about this beautiful dye mushroom.
When I got immersed in mushroom dyes through my discovery of Miriam Rice I was looking up additional resources and immediately learned about Alissa Allen and Mycopigments. I had dreamed of taking a workshop from her but my schedule was too hectic and never aligned with her workshop offerings. Year after year I would log into her site with the hopes this would be the year. It took years but we finally met in 2018 in Norway of all places! I had finally gotten into the International Fungi & Fibre Symposium. I was so excited to spend a week with a hundred mushroom dyers. I didn’t know anyone who was going to the symposium and was so excited that Alissa was there amongst about 10 of us from the United States. It was so fun getting to know each other and geeking out on mycology and mushroom dyeing. Alissa was so thoughtful she mailed me the rainbow of dyes we had created at the symposium because she knew I had missed the very last event.
A few years later Alissa organized a Mushroom Dye Retreat in Packwood and invited me to join. We foraged by day and dyed by night. Alissa was very excited to find some ‘fuscos.’ I had no idea what she was talking about. I learned she was on the hunt for an elusive dye mushroom, Hydnellum fuscoindicus. We indeed found them, what a thrill! I took the exhaust bath home and dyed some fabric for my textile pieces. I kept the dye bath around for many months and used it for the studies in the Mushroom Color Atlas. I can’t wait to find more and create more studies in the future. Thank you Alissa for your friendship and all things mushroom dye!