So the first two towers we build were not the biggest successess. However, we intend to learn from the good and bad from each round of building. So based on what we learned from the last workshop we made ourselves some research questions. The biggest thing we wanted to change was the substrate the mycelium was grown on.
The substrate we had for the first workshop was sawdust. We prefer to have something with more substance, so we contacted one of the biggest mushroom farmers in the Netherlands. Who just so happens to grow his mushrooms and mycelium on straw. Straw is a very nice substrate for us, because it is already quite sturdy as it is. Add to this the strength that the mycelium brings and you get a nice material to build with. But before we could experiment we needed new material to work with.
So I rented a van and drove all the way to Uden, which is a little town somewhere in Noord-Brabant. There I visitied the multiple warehouses of John Verbruggen, who was so kind as to provide us with material to experiment with. Back in amsterdam we could start with some of the things we wanted to test.
First off we put two blocks on top of each other, just the way we received them. To see if they would grow together.
Next up we wanted to see if we could mold the material in smaller bricks that we then pressed. The main thing was seeing if they hold the shape and will grow together when connected.
We also wanted to make bigger bricks that we pressed. For these bricks we used varying sized pieces of mycelium, to see if there was a difference in the way they grow and speed at which they grow.
In about 5-7 days we will evaluate the different samples.