Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lichens and Mosses

Here is a terrarium I found online. I have decided to become a lichen enthusiast and do limited work with moss. You see, the whole school is scraped of lichen and dirt at the end of the school year (I suppose it does not grow much during summer, so they do it in spring and it is ready for fall). So yesterday I liberated some lichen from the railings outside the science library. The internet says it takes hundreds of years to grow, but I am pretty sure it grew to cover the middles of these metal bars in just 12 months, so I hope they will grow in a similar time on a tile. It also takes longer to grow from one lichen spore/flake than it does to grow from a lot, which is what I am going to use. They turn into dust when you brush them off to collect them, and then i am going to mix the dust with buttermilk and brush it on a tile from HD. I looked online, and tiles cost only a few dollars so I don't feel bad spending money even though I am trying not to do so lately.

While looking up info about lichens I was reminded of my love for mosses. Mosses need wet conditions, and they die rather than just going dormant, so I have never tried to grow moss but I am very interested in indoor tabletop fairy gardens, in which moss is used as groundcover. I saw this stonehenge online

and I am going to do one in a teacup! Because tea and stonehenge are some of the nicest things in England. I am very, very interested in microgardens as art.
Picture it: A row of 5 different patterned floral teacups, the first of which is a small cottage, then a small school, then a small house, then a large house, then a graveyard.

I think lichen has less potential in that area, but I am interested in a few other effects with lichen. One is that it makes things look old. I think it would be interesting to do a ceramic or cement sculpture that looks very current or depicts a current political figure, and then grow lichen on it to convey the sense that it is quite far in the future, like in the tv show Life After Humans where they simulate aging monuments. Or perhaps I can think of something clever to do with a gravestone. So far the only thing I can think of is buying yours early and then lichening it so that when it goes in there will be an incongruity between the date and the visible aging of the stone. That's not that rewarding or interesting in my opinion. I am a creative person. I can't say this is genius or anything, but it is at least something: lichen grows very well on limestone. Set a long strip of limestone into The other effect I like is that it is alive and very lightweight, meaning that for wall art it is ideal. That is what the tile is for, it will ideally be a set of 3 bright green 12x12 panels in a few years. Apparently lichen can only grow in clean air, so it would be a good indicator of air quality.

I am also interested in moss hung vertically on walls. Google "moss wall" and some of them are stunning. That is more intensive a project than the lichen tiles though because for a medium sized wall hanging I would need to build a frame, buy netting, water the thing often, and then keep it somewhere moist enough.

No comments: