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Scientific Name: Ganaderma Applanatum 

Common Name: Artist's Fungus or Artist's Mushroom

Local Names: Conk, punk, hickory jack, goopides, bracket fungus, shelf fungus, monkey chairs, bear breads.


Description: These mushrooms are part of the polypore family of mushrooms. There are about a dozen different polypores, but only one can be used for art work. They all grow from the sides of dead or dying trees.


History: Early Indians and pioneers would scratch pictures or words on the nice white under surface. The markings would then turn brown and become permanent. Some museums have pieces with burnt in pictures done by Civil War soldiers. I have updated the art by using modern acrylic paints, but I also make burnings much like the original art.


Location: The best picking is in large old forests particularly in northern Pennsylvania. They are best picked when no leaves are on the trees. It is legal to harvest nuts and mushrooms from national and state forests.


Treatment: Once dried the fungus becomes just like a piece of wood. It will not deteriorate. The backside is shellacked for a nice appearance, and the final painting is varnished to protect the paint. Neither is necessary for preservation.

Art:
Each creation is a unique original painted entirely by hand. The shape and form of the subjects must be blended into the contours of the fungus. Surface bumps and holes must also be worked into the overall design. The rough and porous surface is a difficult painting canvas. Many problems must be solved to create the right effects.


Custom Creations: E-mail special requests to bermadeast@verizon.net.  Most subjects cannot be done smaller than shown, but larger sizes are available. Pets cannot be done. Being practical, a pheasant, barn, fence, dog and a tractor cannot be painted on a 6 inch $39 fungus.