Guelph Mushroom Foray   Guelph Mushroom Foray

Guelph Mushroom Foray, 2015
Relational performance, Guelph, Ontario

In collaboration with Toronto-based artist, Diane Borsato we facilitated a mushroom foray for her art class at Guelph University. The relational performance took place on October 5 at the outskirts of Guelph Arboretum Nature Reserve and explored the parallels between mushroom hunting and art making, such as acute observation, patience and curiosity. We introduced the basics of mushroom hunting: key morphological features (overall stature of the mushroom, gill attachment, size and color as well as the importance of smell and noting the immediate habitat, possible tree associations, and substrate on which the specimens grow); how to collect and care for the mushrooms while in the field; and sustainable picking practices. We discussed edibility, toxicity, taxonomy, commons names and folklore, and swapped experiences of being in the woods with intentionality. We also explored the relationship of mushrooms to forest ecology and the important distinction between the mycelium as organism and the mushroom as fruit.