In Invisible Lines, Trevor Musgrove makes a spore print. If you’d like to try it, read on.
Mushrooms release spores, which are tiny, round, reproductive bodies, which you can literally “capture” in a print. Take a mushroom and gently remove the stem—you don’t want to damage the mushroom, but you do want to make sure the thin veil of flesh covering the gills is open so that the gills are exposed. Put the mushroom gill-side down on a piece of paper and cover with a glass. Wait 24 hours, lift off the glass, and carefully pick up the mushroom. You should see the spores released in a pattern.
If the spores are white, you won’t see them on white paper and should try placing a new mushroom on a piece of black paper. Some people make spore prints on half black/half white paper to cover either possibility.
Grocery store mushrooms do not work well because they aren’t fresh. Your best bet is to pick a mushroom in the wild, one in which the veil has already begun to open or has opened. You should wash your hands after handling the mushroom, but don’t worry about toxicity exposure…mushrooms that are poisonous to eat are okay to handle with appropriate caution.
If you want to keep your print, make sure to spray it with fixative.
Some people are allergic to mushroom spores, so be appropriately cautious and don’t sniff the spores. –Mary Amato