" Exposing susceptible individuals to strange Reishi sometimes causes them to commit art ..."

Exposing susceptible individuals to strange Reishi has occasionally caused them to commit art ...


We're planning to run a contest this year: a Strange Reishi Growing Contest. We will announce it officially in early spring.


In the meantime, if you have a better name for it, please leave a comment to let me know.


At The Imaginary Farmer we consider  Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) an under-utilized artistic resource. As I hope these images suggest, by manipulating the mushroom's growing conditions you get completely unexpected variations from the standard shelf- or bracket-fungus form.


DSC00733     DSC00372

                           Reishi in shelf-fungus form                                                                Strange Reishi


mymstalk-0072     DSC00499

                                                                  More Strange Reishi


Some number of polypores, like Reishi, have this indeterminate growth habit. Other fungi, like gilled mushrooms, have a pretty standard architecture - stem (stipe), cap, gills - and from the beginning they reflect this structure and try to progress toward the mature form. The indeterminate polypores form the normal shelf if they can, but along the way they will meander in just about any direction, thickening and narrowing, twisting and turning, seeking the best location from which to unload their spores. As a result, they can produce a huge range of weird forms, so we ask, why not enjoy the possibilities?


I think we may have two categories, at least, for contest entries. One would be simply photographs of live Reishi grown in interesting forms, like the ones here. The other would invite objects - works of art - made using live or dried Reishi.


I think the prizes should certainly include publishing photos of the winning entries on our web site. We should have an award event - maybe a virtual event, taking place over the web. We have to think about what material rewards we can muster that would be appropriate.


So here are my questions for the peculiar persons out in the world who would consider such a thing:

What should we call the contest?

Do we have the right categories?

What would be an appropriate prize in any category?