Is the material durable and firm enough to last and stand on its own as a transparent, hollow sculpture? Can the material last for a specific period of time and is it possible to influence and predict the exact material lifetime? Could the material eventually be strong enough to match and possibly replace fibreglass?
Caroline de Roy is an artist fascinated by transparency and by network-structures, such as street maps and systems like for instance the blood vessel system. Those two aspects are also the main focus in exploring the possibilities of working with mycelium, aiming to implement the material for forming/moulding/growing hollow structures/sculptures, as thin and transparent as possible.
So far, Caroline has explored the possibilities of turning the opaque,white mycelium in a more transparent material. Acid, like vinegar makes the material more translucent, but also leaves a brownish film behind. Fluid paraffine also leaves the mycelium translucent but the surface remains rather greasy.
Utrecht Universiteit has developed a transparent, mutant mycelium strain. Currently the mycelium is too thin and brittle, and that makes it very hard to work with it.
However, making the material wet makes possible the fact of shaping it. Caroline is currently growing large mats of mycelium which she will try to mould/shape/grow or print into round and anthropomorphic shapes.
She is attracted by the fact that mycelium eats itself. As no thing is meant to last forever, it is fascinating to imagine that after a specific time mycelium sculptures can go back to earth, and therefore the sculptures she created can vanish!