We Grew Together

The goal of the project was to to extend future applications of polypore leathers as well as preserve the dying tradition of the Amadou handicraft through innovative material experimenting. The research material was collected during one-week stay in Corund which is the origin of Amadou crafts. The objects are formed by highlighting the qualities of Amadou material which is absorbent, anti-inflammatory and flammable. It is also fully natural, vegan and cruelty-free.

Mushrooms have played an extremely important role in all cultures around the world. They have provided us with nutrition, medicine, textiles and substances for shamanic ceremonies. They have caused strong feelings in people who have understood their world, as well as strong fears in those who haven’t experienced contact with this mystical organism. Through thousands of years these silent observers have carried culture, history and tradition.

Amadou is a suede-like material derived from Fomes fomentarius, a polypore mushroom growing on various tree species. Fomes fomentarius grows through the cracks in the the bark of a tree – covering the unprotected spots like a plaster. Amadou has been used for fire making for thousands of years and is proved to have anti-inflammatory and immune system stimulating effects. There is a long handicraft tradition in Transylvania around the Amadou material. It has been used as textile for purses, hats and other small items. However, the craft is now in danger of disappearing as the amount of families practicing it has been reduced from 70 to 7 during the past 30 years. The material has a lot of potential and the craft deserves to be preserved: these craftsmen are among the very few in the world who have knowledge about the Amadou craft.

My project aims to recognize and understand the cultural terms and frameworks around the Amadou tradition as well as to reflect on the influence it has on an individual and collective level. The research material I collected during my visit to Transylvania helps me to integrate cultural tools, people and theory into the objects I am designing. The properties of the material give me a framework in which to form the function and aesthetics of the objects. Through contemporary designs with a close connection to the tradition I want the handicraft to be preserved in a dynamic yet culturally sensitive way.