Thursday, June 04, 2015

Gloves and Mushrooms!

(Above:  Rusted vintage garments hanging on the clothesline at Wormfarm Institute, an art residency set on an organic farm outside Reedsburg, Wisconsin.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

I'm very happy to report that the weather in Reedsburg, Wisconsin has taken a turn for the best. No longer is the overnight low in the high thirties and the afternoons aren't spent trying to keep my fingers warm enough to stitch. The sun has been shining and my rusting experiments have been going well. Regular blog readers might be sick of more photos taken on the clothesline but that's the best way to share the work. Yet, I did try something entirely new!

(Above:  Collection of rusted, vintage cloth gloves.)

Gloves! My stash of vintage gloves has dwindled significantly. I layered all the white and off-white cloth gloves between rusty gears in my cast iron pot. The results are brilliant, if I can say so myself. There was, however, more room in the pot. So, I added two leather gloves … just to see what would happen. 

(Above:  Rusted and significantly shrunk leather glove ... definitely the eeriest one in the bunch!)

Now, many people will probably not be thrilled with this creepy little leather glove but I as so excited that I had to cook up the remainder, including two black ones.

(Above:  Assorted leather and suede gloves ... exposed to a vinegar and salt solution ... cooked in a cast iron kettle at very low temperature ... until stained and shrunk!)
I'm not sure if it was the vinegar and salt solution in which I soaked them or just the 200 degree warm oven into which I put the pot. Whatever shrunk them, I'm grateful.


 I have no idea what I'll use these eerie little things for .... I'm still thinking about that! Whatever it is ... I have the needed items!

(Above:  Two vintage bloomers rusted with pebbles tied into the fabric with wire and two tops rusted between various gears from farm tools.)

I wasn't sure if I could get enough pebbles tied into the material of the two pairs of bloomers but I did it. My collection of rusted vintage garments is indeed growing. I've got another batch sitting for a longer period of time … hoping for even deeper, darker tones. Fingers are crossed.


Today was also a FIELD TRIP! Betsy Arant, the Wormfarm Institute residency manager, took Angela (writer), Austen (visual artist), and me to Hidden Valley Mushrooms. I've never known how mushrooms are farmed and I wouldn't have guessed they'd look like this! 

We were told about the fact that mushrooms aren't plants, developing through photosynthesis. They are fungi which receive all their growth through their growth medium which is a biochemical decomposition process. Thus, the hanging blocks of compressed sawdust and contain everything the mushrooms need. 

As expected, the windowless room was keep cool and moist.


The owner has been growing mushrooms since 1992 … including white button, Portobellos, Crimini, Shiitake, and oyster mushrooms. 

He sells to restuarants, grocery stores, and in cooperation with other farmers selling shares in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs.


 He also sells direct to people like us ...


… and we got all these for $10! 


 Guess what's for dinner? LOL!

 (Above from left to right:  Angela Woodward, writer; Betsy Arant, residency manager; and Austen Weymueller, visual artist.)

And boy was it GOOD! 
I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.


Maggi said...

I can't wait to see the creations that come out from all this fantastic rusting.

Yael said...

Never thought about mushroom growing - so interesting, thank you for this information and the photos!
Oh and yes, Susan, what on earth are you going to do with these gloves? Following you now for a while I can be sure it will be surprising and awesome! :-)