Biodesign Work in Progress

“Why don’t you just make it?”

If I want to work with mycelium and see how it grows and interacts with mediums then I might as well grow some myself-so I did.

Oyster mushrooms have one the easiest and fastest mycelium growth, so I picked some up from an Asian supermarket and after slicing them up  with some soaked cardboard I left them to grow happily*.

Set up:


Setting up my mycelium experiments at the ASCUS lab at Summerhall (see
  1. Found some cardboard with corrugated insides
  2. Ripped it up
  3. Soaked it in water for 20 minutes
  4. Make layers between corrugated cardboard, slices of oyster mushroom and flat cardboard in a plastic box


Four days, seven days and fourteen days

After four days hyphae had formed and were running down the corrugated cardboard. Seven days after the inoculation and the mycelium was growing happily, constructing a spongey circular around the original mushroom sample. Mould grew and spread between days seven and fourteen; probably due to the lack of sterile conditions under which I first inoculated the cardboard medium. Also, from checking on the mycelium growth without being cautious about sterile conditions meant bacteria would easily have flown in.

Positive outcomes:

  • It’s easy when you know how
  • Relatively simple process
  • Could be done with different mushrooms to see a variety of mycelium strains

Negative outcomes:

  • Need sterile conditions, could be difficult to do at home
  • Oyster mushroom mycelium is feathery, so not very strong, to continue might be good to find another more dense and strong mycelium to grow

Next steps…

  1. Find a collection of mushrooms from around Edinburgh
  2. Grow their mycelium on different mediums and document growth
  3. Speak to professionals about the best way to go about my project

*using the instructions from


By Joanna Spreadbury

Being based in Scotland gives me the creative drive to look at the local resources, people and landscape in order to inspire material exploration and development. I am interested in the process, application and explanation of both contemporary and traditional craft techniques in wood, textiles, glass and ceramics. Please feel free to contact me for collaboration enquiries