What do you and Mycelium Made do?
Hello, my name is Amanda Morglund. I am the Founder of Mycelium Made where I form a collaboration with fungi to recycle waste materials. I produce zero waste, made to order loungewear and accessories from Mycomaterials and recycled textiles.
Additionally, I research Bioremediation applications of Fungi and I am currently breaking down cigarette pollution with my targeted strain of Pollutant eating mushrooms. The fungi decontaminate the toxins in the cigarette butts and produce a block of material that can be cultivated for packaging or insulation.
With fungi we can recycle a vast amount of our waste sources including agricultural offcuts, textile waste and pollutants like tyres. This process is called Mycocycling and can be done with your household waste as well.
From this process, we are creating leathers, mould blocks, shoe soles, packaging, insulation and more.
Do you need a specialised lab or is this something that people can do at home too?
I work in an established lab space to produce my materials with the requirements I need but the process of recycling your waste resources at home is achievable as well, even for people unfamiliar with cultivating mushrooms. A community group like Mycommunity the Applied Mycology Lab is a great space to get involved with using Fungi to recycle your waste. They have great digital workshop events to get you started.
I form a collaboration with fungi to recycle waste materials
Can you plan this process or is there a lot of natural variation?
Ultimately it is a living organism you are collaborating with so there are some considerations for nutrition, environment and which species is paired with your waste stream. You can adjust the outcomes of your Mycomaterials through the cultivation process by adjusting the humidity, oxygen flow and temperature to encourage your Fungi to produce the results you are after.
How did you come up with this idea?
My process is adapted Applied Mycology Cultivation Techniques modified to work for my tailoring process. There was a lot of fabulous waste resources around during my training in Fashion Design that I wanted to find a purpose and value for. Throughout my degree and since I have been experimenting with the range of Mycomaterias that can be produced and how to best work with them. This process is great because it fuses together cut and snipped fibers into new structural forms. With biofabricating technology we can rescue a vast amount of our valuable resources from landfill rapidly.
What makes Mycelium Made special?
Each piece made at our studio is highly customizable in collaboration between the client and myself. Every piece is unique with extensive hand embellishment and crafted detailing throughout. With fully Mycocycled packaging, an individual investment garment and a starter culture to get you cultivating at home you can feel good about the entire cycle of this process. The mycomaterials are lightweight, insulating and water wicking, grown to order and contribute to solving Australia’s waste challenges.
There is a short documentary that covers the process and what we do available to view below:
What did your business look like before COVID 19 and how has that changed?
We were conducting a lot of in-person workshops for beginner cultivators prior to lockdown.
The live format of those events was really special and we had a great time connecting to our local community and fostering curiosity and love for what Fungi can achieve. We participated in VAMFF just days before the lockdown restrictions were put in place so it has been a strange transition time.
Currently, we are transitioning to producing digital workshop content, I’m hosting the series on Patreon. I wanted to recreate that awesome interactive and connected style I had before so I am working on Studio hangouts, Sketchbook Tours, and of course the Cultivation workshop series.
During the restrictions, I have been hard at work in my space to bring some exciting projects and events to the community for the end of the year and leading into 2021.
Who is your team? What were your backgrounds before this?
I am a one person team at Mycelium Made.
I have been working on custom made garments for almost 10 years and have been developing Mycelium Made for the last 5 years. I have participated enthusiastically in Sustainable Development conferences and events for many years but it is most exciting seeing circular technologies grow and develop into tangible solutions to some of our most challenging environmental and social issues.
With Fungi we can recycle a vast amount of our waste sources including agricultural offcuts, textile waste and pollutants like tyres.
Are there any apps or technology that really helped you make this transition?
The accessibility of DIY cultivation practice and the beginner cultivation communities online really helped me get my start in combining the fields of Fashion Design and Mycology. They are a fantastic and generous community of passionate individuals. So very low tech approaches in the beginning like building a Still Air Box to cultivate in or a Shotgun Fruiting Chamber really helped me get my start with experimenting.
Community lab spaces like Bioquisitive in Brunswick allowed access to lab equipment and experienced Mycologists that brought my practice to new levels and I have a lot of love for these Community Education Spaces.
What has been the most challenging aspect of this time?
Access to funding is always a huge challenge in any small business but especially so during this time.
The feeling of finances holding up this crucial research can be very frustrating but I am excited to use this time to scale up the process and have some beautiful Mycomaterial products ready to release very soon. The limitations of travel and interaction has just encouraged us to get crafty and reuse what we have lying around.
Have there been any 'silver lining' surprises?
Yes, I have seen a wonderful amount of enthusiasm from the community around the cleaning up of cigarette pollution and keeping our waterways cleaner. I am really enjoying connecting with passionate individuals that are using their time to collect pollutants and send them to us for processing with fungi. Thanks to the Northsiders that have already gotten on board.
How do you see your business evolving in the future? Are there changes you've made that you will continue with when things go back to 'normal'?
We’re looking to expand our recycling capacity and establish connections with local manufacturers to process their discarded materials.
I will be continuing the adoption of digital content to learn cultivation and connecting with other artists and citizen scientists to collaborate.
Finally we are refining our Mycomaterials for commercial release in 2021.
Are there any business decisions that you have made with sustainability in mind?
I believe any modern operation should be circular at heart and consider the impacts of sustainable decision making throughout. I believe learning from the way Fungi do things will be crucial to transforming our outdated manufacturing system