I love working with Hypomyces lactifluorum as it yields such diverse colors. It is very sensitive to anything acidic which can easily strip the color and leave spots. I always use stainless steel spoons, cothespins, drying racks, etc. so it never touches any wood.
I met Erica Clark in Packwood at a Mushroom Dye Retreat in October 2020. It had been one heck of a year filled with the challenges of COVID. In walked this bundle of sunshine. Her smile said it all, her enthusiasm was infectious and her sense of humor kept us all laughing. We had such a fun time foraging, cooking and making crafts. We kept in touch after the retreat and I was able to visit Erica on the Oregon Coast where she lives.
On one visit I was headed down to see my parents and the Lobster and Velvet Pax Foot were out in her area. She graciously said come on down and I will show you my lobster patch and then we will look for Tapinella. Her cute little ones were in tow and they had a fun time finding Lobsters. They gifted me their finds and Erica gave me a brown bag full of fresh Tapinella atrotomentosa! I said no way, you have to keep them. She said she had only gotten a grey from them and wasn’t a fan. I told her about the Mushroom Color Atlas and that I would use them in my studies. Since then Erica found more T. atrotomentosa and we traded tips on how best to dye with this finicky mushroom and at last she got a lavender purple!