Thursday, January 14, 2010

a very awful smell

I have long been fascinated with natural dying. I remember reading about some of the ladies from the spinning group going to a conference in Europe where they spent a week foraging for mushrooms and other fungi and using these to dye.
On the weekend, I went for a walk along the river with a friend and we spotted some rather large interesting fungi, so I gathered up a bundle to bring home and play.

It was too hot on Monday to do anything so I left them sitting on the front porch, where they dried out very nicely. However, I forgot that my friend had also picked some, and she left them under her seat, my passenger seat of the car. Oh my goodness... by the time I went to use my car on Tuesday, they had had a few days of stewing in very hot weather (over C44). I could smell this smell from my front door almost. IT WAS DREADFUL. I have no idea what these fungi are, or were, but there is no way I could imagine cooking them up to dye anything. Much washing, spraying and adding of various essential oils has not removed the smell from my car, so I can only imagine what anything that was dyed with them would smell like. I can't seem to find many references for Australian fungi, and think these are some sort of toxic toadstool.I have included large images of the ones that dried out. Does anyone know what I may have collected?


  1. I think it's really difficult to identify fungi. I once went to a talk about fungi and the expert basically said, never eat anything!

    Maybe if you cooked them up they wouldn't smell as bad. I'm assuming your friend's ones were in a plastic bag - things always smell worse if they rot without air.

  2. I don't know what they are but I think you could still use them, just do it outside, with a strong wind blowing toward an annoying neighbour.
    I might be able to put my hand on a book about local fungi when I come home.
    I wonder what colours you will get. If they are just browns and yellows then it is probably not worth the effort because you can get the from better smelling plants. I like eucalyptus because you don't need a mordant and so you don't risk killing plants when you throw out your water.

  3. yes they were in a plastic bag, thank goodness. I would have hated to have this ooze all over my car. I think I prefer eucalyptus as well. there is this very nice aroma that accompanies the process. I cant imagine my neighbours letting me stay for long if I started brewing up this awful stuff.