GIY Maker Spotlight: Chris Sweeney
What kind of art do you create?
As far as mycelium is concerned, I create forms with 3D printed molds I’ve designed using Morphi. My background is fine arts, painting, so all of my designing comes off less than someone with a design background. I like to use a variety of mediums in whatever I create, so I use the mycelium as my form for interactive designs to house my lighting elements. I am working primarily with Chibitronics Chibi Chip, which I use to code their LED stickers on a flexible 3D printed disc I created using semi-flex filament on my Ultimaker printer. I will also be doing another version using Bare Conductive’s Light Up Board, either using their paint, or Proto-Pasta’s conductive 3D filament.
How did you start working with mycelium?
I started using mycelium after I saw Corinne Takara using mycelium to make LED lights, and then a chandler. She was kind enough to share her process. Corinne used Ecovative mycelium, so that’s what I used. I was blown away at what beautiful and expansive forms she was creating, so I had to do it right away to experience it in my designs.
What do you like about working with mycelium?
I am very eco-conscious, both in my art, design work, as well as my personal life. For myself, I really enjoy the process, both personally and in my work as a design teacher at Charter High School of Architecture and Design, here in Philadelphia. I love the texture, weight, and strength of the mycelium, especially with the lighting. The mycelium skin gives off such a warm glow. I really love it. I also love using my 3D printing to create forms for the mycelium to grow into the shapes I design.
What is your goal as an artist?
I have many goals as an artist, but in regards to the mycelium, it is to have both an expressive and functional piece people can enjoy. I am working with both code-able and sensory designs. My new work bridges the gap between art, design, tech, and biology, which I am both proud and super excited to be work on with this avenue of creating with mycelium. One end goal I would like is to sell these kits to the public, but especially to educators, and students interesting in creating and making their own designs. I also would like to make a special series of these lights for people with physical disabilities so that they can not only enjoy the lights, but make their lives easier to use lighting, as well as be eco friendly.