Art From The Woods: Mushroom Etchings and Moss Graffiti
With the combination of the cool weather of autumn, and the dwindling harvest, you may be ready to put your garden to bed. But, this is the perfect time to take a walk in the woods and explore the foliage of the natural world.
Wild mushrooms and moss are often associated with moist fertile fall plants in the Northeastern U.S. Mushrooms and moss pop up all over the woods, especially during a rainy fall. Enjoy the beauty of the season by collecting mushrooms and moss for these inspired natural art DIY projects.
Tree mushrooms with their sculptural fragileness grow on live and rotting trees and can be etched on. Tree mushrooms are also called Shelf or Bracket mushrooms (because of how they attach to the tree). These mushrooms can be carved using a sharp object. The masterpiece can even be displayed on its own since a Tree mushroom can often stand on its own edge.
Mother Earth News explains the process of etching on shelf mushrooms, “It’s best to pick the tough, woody polypores in the late autumn or winter months … and then to dry the well-shaped, usable specimens for a week or more before you draw on the undersides with a sharp nail, etching tool, or dry fountain pen.”
When dried, these mushrooms become almost as hard as a block of wood and will last for many years. I show a fine example of a shelf mushroom etching in this econesting post.
Another natural wonder found along wooded trails is moss. This lush plant often rises in moist places and cushions the rock faces that anchor the forest floor. Moss’ velvety texture is so beautiful that it must have been the inspiration for richly colored velour and velvet fabric. Did you know that moss could be painted with too?
Living walls seem to all the rage in garden design and decor. I find it delightfully whimsical to see words and murals painted with moss. It can make a garden wall come alive and look like it has flocked wallpaper attached to it.
When moss is spray-painted onto a surface, it creates a naturally organic paint. This is not at all like the eco-unfriendly traditional enamel-based aerosol sprays that are hazardous to the environment and your health.
If you love the look of this moss graffiti, try one of these recipes on a garden wall.