2007 || sonja bäumel
Can a fungus replace leather?
Formes Fomentarius is a parasitic fungus which is often named horse’s hoof fungus or tinder fungus. It can be found in North America and Europe, typically on birch, but also on beech.
The starting point for this project was the leather production process especially the tanning process which is harmful to the environment. I researched for an alternative more eco-friendly material and found this fungus which was used in the past for for small items.
My research showed me that the useful so-called Trama-layer can be found on top of the fungus just below the outer skin and above the pores. My material research and the process demonstrated that it is not possible to replace leather with the fungus but you can reduce the use of it and apply it with its material advantages and applicate it on special products. The fungus material gets softer the more you touch it; when the material is wet it is shapeable and it has great water-absorbing abilities. It is a sustainable material made by nature, after you cut it, it re-grows.