Gray Seep

Detail of a large art installation piece by MJ Seal made from sackcloth stained with charred bones that resembles a giant cluster of dark gray puffball mushrooms with extending roots emerging from a wall
“Gray Seep”- Original art piece by MJ Seal. Sackcloth, bone black and PVA glue, approximately 6’ x 6’. C. 2021
I had this idea for a project that would look like a mass mold or puffball fungi growing out of a wall. I specifically wanted it made with sackcloth and ashes. So I stitched up dozens of the vaguely octopus like forms out of scraps of sackcloth and soaked them in dilute bone black paint. Bone black is made of charred animal bones and it acted like a dye giving them all a near uniform dark, warm gray hue. I added some glue to the mixture to stiffen up the fibers a bit.
After stitching these together I pulled out and frayed the threads along the edges giving them the appearance of having little roots and tendrils reaching out.
Thousands upon thousands of these little “roots” reach out forming a vast network of loose threads
I had tons of loose burlap threads leftover after the stitching and fraying process so I dyed them to. They fill in any empty spaces in between the “fungi”
They are quite animated looking
This installation piece is intended to hang vertically so I’m going to have to find some way to attach it to a wall. Luckily it’s made up of many lightweight components so I think Velcro will probably do it.
With the larger shrooms growing at the center and smaller ones along the edges with reaching tendrils this really looks like an expanding cluster of fungus. I am liking these pieces made up of pieces- they are easier to transport and I can arrange them to suit whatever environment they end up in.


    1. They kind of formed a very organic grid pattern by accident- the nice thing about working with a piece that’s in pieces is I can switch parts around with ease- since I’m not totally sure if the pictures I took are what I really want it to look like!

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