This Christmas we are initiating an art exchange, on the theme of Mushrooms! Merry Christmush to everyone! The idea is for people around the world to make mushroom art, and send them to other Bloomers as Christmas presents. In a way we are activating our own mycelial networks by creating a worldwide mushroom art exchange. To add your name to the art exchange, email your postal address and your name (if you want to), to community@bloomnetwork.org (we figure this is better than setting up a google form). Make your art, and we will send you others’ addresses to send the art to.

THE ORGINS OF MERRY CHRISTMUSH 

Merry Christmush was an art project initiated by Australian Bloom newcomer Lumi Ricardi (they/them) after learning about the influences of Christmas from a Scandinavian perspective. 

“I found the story of the Sami noaidi (shamans) and what they did over the winter solstice period fascinating. They dressed in red and white like the Amanita muscaria mushrooms found in that area, and went to visit the World Tree, a large old pine tree. There they would eat mushrooms and gain wisdom to take back as gifts to their people, as well as blessings and gifts for the coming year.”

I created Merry Christmush to help people connect people to what Christmas time is about, and where the origins of our traditions have come from.”

Last year Lumi made 30 mushrooms from sun-dried clay and painted them all different colours of the rainbow. These were then given out to both friends and strangers, and conversations initiated about Christmas and people’s thoughts about this time of year.

Two of the Christmushes made by Lumi last year.

“A fun part of the story is that reindeers would ingest the mushrooms as well. This would give them a lot of energy and they would leap and jump about the forest, giving the illusion that they were flying. People were quite amused to hear the stories from Scandinavia and most people didn’t have any idea of where the origins of Christmas come from.

I think it’s a beautiful thing to encourage people to contemplate where we are now and where we have come from. It’s important to think about how meanings and symbolism changes through the ages, and pieces of the original symbols still remain, like the reindeer, the tree and the red and white colors of Christmas.”

Finally, Lumi invites everyone to enjoy the opportunity to be creative with Merry Christmush, and encourages people to hand make their christmushes. This way each one can be unique, made with care from their own hands and created with the intention of gifting it to someone else.  

“A great part about Merry Christmush is that you are creating the christmushes yourself. This ties into the idea of the World Tree and the gifts that the shaman brings back to his community, and to reflect and enjoy the gifts we give and receive from others. It’s important to acknowledge the interconnectivity of our communities. It’s the mushroom thing to do.”

Bloom Network has strong links with mushrooms via Mushroom City Arts Festival, an annual festival about mushrooms in Baltimore, which has been running for 8 years. This year, Robin Gunkel lead of Bloom Baltimore, convened the arts festival online, which featured a number of mushroom inspired artists. If you want inspiration for your mushroom art head to check out the following artists.

Arty books and zines about mushrooms

Join us in this fun art exchange to people around the world! 

HOW TO BE PART OF MERRY CHRISTMUSH

  1. Email community@bloomnetwork.org your postal address and your name if you want that shared.
  2. Make some christmush art (we are hoping 3-4 exchanges per person).
  3. Send your christmush art to the people whose addresses you are sent.