2014-07-15 16.35.28

2014-07-15 10.19.56

Jon Salmon of Mycosense Mushrooms and Sara Huston of TLAAG. Oat straw, a coffee maker to pasteurize, some 70% alcohol, Pleurotus ostreotis spawn on grain

2014-07-15 10.19.46


DAY 3:

2014-07-17 09.57.42 2014-07-17 09.59.40

DAY 5:

2014-07-19 14.14.20 2014-07-19 14.14.08


2014-07-05 11.19.34

View of Swann Island from U of POrtland

So… my PDX project’s gone through some shifts in the last 3 weeks.

I lost my design partners, but gained them as consultants! and some great new allies have appeared.

I have a new name for the project, and a framework of a project that suggests a permanent floating studio, less of a sculpture-centric temporary artwork:


Floating Studio for Dark Ecologies (FSDE) is an art/science residency program and public artwork to be sited on a houseboat on the Willamette/Columbia Rivers (Portland, OR). FSDE integrates social practice, craft, and citizen science to address the confluence of social, biological and economic systems connecting climate change and river health.

FSDE residents will investigate the “dark ecology” of North Portland (“green” mecca and home to 11 long-term superfund sites) and examine the science, politics, poetics and pragmatics of the rivers.

At the center of the floating studio is a small chai house fusing curiosity, hospitality, and action. Guests will produce and drink tea mirroring the environment: geology (clay cups), water, plants (chai spices), and black tea (imported from across the Pacific). This intimate ritual connects local and global concerns of climate, citizenship and the ecosystem in order to imagine and shape the rivers’ future.


This means…

get a houseboat
modify, upgrade and customize
rent moorage

I met with the sublime and elegant Diane Hall, ED of the Bill Healey Foundation yesterday. She and her sister live on next-dock-neighbor houseboats. I got some tips on what to look for: old growth logs are best. You can really revamp a boat in a big way and even grow trees.



Yesterday I also met with Peter McCoy, the founder of Radical Mycology: he is a force in the remediation world. Open source, DIY, generosity model, passionate, theoretical, speculative, and really knowledgable.

Peter and Oliver Kellhammer will be leading a design charrette with me in PDX at the end of July, on using bio-remediating materials in architecture, art and design.


fishery collapses

As part of SSC’s inaugural tasting and brainstorm event, I made a new version of a jellyfish granita that Lucullan Foods and I developed at Rice U in March.

We decided to top the granita with a sweet sashimi – we wanted local geoduck clam, but couldn’t get any, so went with  Kampachi (“boutique yellowtail) which is responsibly farmed in Hawaii. I admit this isn’t the most rigorous menu decision.

The web page of, one of the aquaculture producers has some horrifying fishery collapse statistics, like this one:


I appreciate‘s commitment to responsible production. Their web site has extensive information. But there are serious oversights and gaps in the base assumptions that we must eat fish, that demand for healthy omega-rich seafood is escalating (population increases, access to global products to name just 2) , and that in order to save the ocean’s wild fisheries, we must farm and do so in ways that do not put more pressure on the ocean ecosystem. And as we move away from wild-caught feedstock (it’s getting scarce and prices have soared) for these farmed fish, we need to feed them a high protein substitute grown on land… like… SOY. Wait… isn’t that also a problem? Sounds like monoculture support or at least, elision of how soy aggravates land-based environmental poverty.


Lastly, when I savor my tiny, tony sliver of kampachi tonight, I want think about the life this fish had in this sea-bound ball:

open ocean fish “culture”

fired at cone 3


Beauty. 2106º

Ruth Frances Greenberg!

Cups from the river

Our first full try: from river clay to tea bowls.
Thanks to the generous Ruth Frances Greenberg’s vast talents and tools.


Eureka! Mycelium

I think we found our myco pal!!!!
Normal enough — when wearing plaid.
Sampan Super Chai‘s new friend, Jon Salmon of Mycosense Mushrooms, a PDX-based start up and supplier of kits and spawn inoculants “with the goal of enabling individuals to grow their own choice edible mushrooms right in their own homes starting with our Miraculous Growing Kits. For the adventurous mushroom enthusiast we’ve assembled an assortment of mushroom cultures and growing supplies that build on the do it yourself ethos we are so proud of here in the Pacific Northwest.”


I’d been searching for someone who would understand the (subterranean) landscape of growing mycelium materials, and would be up for working with us in a more scientific capacity than I possess (putting it mildly; I’m a haven for contaminants).  I posted a “collaborator wanted” listing on a variety of local and national sites, and perhaps it’s true that you need to be on the ground with the equivalent of a local phone book and a local mindset; some mycological Kismet helps too.

Next step: assemble equipment, get spawn, substrate and a more detailed protocol for pasteurizing, spawn selection, labeling, documentation, work flow, time frame.

TLAAG and I will be working at the White Stag Summer Residency by the Burnside Bridge through August…