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All sculptural works are grown from an unseeded mycelium and clay.

"Interconnected: what is remembered lives”

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“Interconnected: what is remembered lives”


Through a sustainable practice, extinct flora and fauna are reanimated in an installation grown from mycelium come to life in a forest of augmented reality.


Currently on view with the Minnetrista Museum and Gardens, Muncie, Indiana, 2023-2024.

It was a swell and web, a shared breath, a shared silence. Engaged and present with each other, the young male deer and I shared the moment. He stood at the edge of my yard, nibbling on low hanging tree leaves. I felt a deep sense of calm, the feeling of being in the presence of greatness. The universe stared back at me. The water, wild, and wilderness are a sanctuary for us all. I savored my time with this sentient being on my birthday. I looked away and back; he was gone. A rattling tree slowing its wave as the deer passed through. A moment later, I ran to the front of my home to see him in my neighbor’s yard, nibbling. I sensed something was wrong.  As I turned to walk away, I heard an awful cry. A car roared out of nowhere and killed this little boy. His exit on this earth was sudden, a little death which made a heavy and large impact on my soul.


I stood over him and looked into his vacant eyes which were alive a moment before. His body was broken. His thin legs and hoofs were bent in ways that prevented him from ever standing again. Blood came out of his ear. I cannot remove the moment of loss from my mind. It was my birthday. My mother-in-law put her arms around me. I felt such a loss. Deep inside, I know that every life is worthy to live free in this spaceship we call home on Earth.


Our shared look had ripened my vision. I felt a presence of something greater. I had reached the limits of my longing and kept going to decontextualize these complicated emotions. I spent a month growing him back to life. Through mycelium, I shared his spirit and grew his bust as a tribute to nature’s reminder that life is equanimous, and as humans we should see that all animals we share space with should be treated as our neighbors. He is now my angel. Though his young life ended quickly, he left an imprint on me and inspired this sculpture to life. I do not want to surrender to making more roads, putting up fences, and keeping Earth’s children out. He will never leave me, and I will always remember him.  He was my birthday gift that year.



Read the interview with Arrowmont

Image: Gatekeepers, exhibited with Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN, 2023.

The Gatekeepers project was born out of my firsthand experience living through the Northern California Caldor wildfire in 2021. After the loss, you see how it affects an entire community. I am an artist of solutions. The Gatekeeprs project is a response to what is happening to the world around me. When I work with mycelium, it cleans the air while it dries. Mycelium is plant material, capable of immense contributions to humanity.  For over ten years, innovations through the use of mycelium have been made in all consumer sectors, including alternatives to leather, food, packaging, and construction. The mycelium material I use is (a substrate made by Ecovative and as an alternative to toxic resins, oil paints, terpenoids, and various other chemicals. The material I use will decompose if left out in the rain, or it can live forever in inside in cool and stable conditions.


The Gate is 5 feet by 4.f feet x 28 inches and has been grown into an archway that acts as a transitional space to a generous and magical kingdom. I call this archway The Gate. Those who choose to protect our wild-lands, wildlife on land, and in water are called gatekeepers. The Gate has been grown entirely  from mycelium, the same substrate that fruits mushrooms.


The Gatekeepers project took over 2,000 grow hours, 3 years, developed in 4 cities, 260 pounds of mycelium and is full of over 2,000 seashells.  Working with living material like mycelium is empowering. Experiencing climate change firsthand creates a shift inside of you. Feeling helpless is an awful feeling, but this is my way of advocating for a healthier world. By creating solutions through my work that will continue to inform on the urgency of continued stewardship. I am contributing to the healing of community and the planet. By embracing the natural world and its generous kingdoms, I have allies. The work I co-create is meant to serve all humanity, to inspire youth to become the next generation of gatekeepers, and to motivate others to create using healthier materials for a healthier world.


I created this project so that others could feel that sense of wonder and understand that continued sustainability, conservation, and preservation of the natural world must be moved to the top of our list as urgent. Bio Art raises awareness of the challenges facing our communities affected by our growing climate crises.. By sharing my work, I am actively participating in the development of solutions. Inspiring youth to become more deeply involved with their local gardens, museums of conservation and botanical gardens is a great way to initiate the first steps towards stewardship. Just as Jane Goodall says in her new book "Hope", every bit we do helps.  This body of work was partially funded by the Tennessee Arts Commission.



The Caldor Fire was a large wildfire that burned 221,835 acres in the Eldorado National Forest and other areas of the Sierra Nevada in El Dorado, Amador, and Alpine County, California, in the United States during the 2021 California wildfire season. I lost several paintings in the fire, but losing my work in a wildfire cannot compare to the loss of a home or watching the effects of climate change. This was the same year I lost my father to complications of Covid-19. When something is taken from us or we lose someone we love, its hard not to feel a sense of emptiness. In my years of Dharma practice I found that healing begins within. Inspired by fire, The Well-Within 22" w x 27"h was grown from unseeded mycelium. It took 23 days, 554 hours to grow. There are 43 bricks, 9 panels, and numerous species of seashells. The project was meant to act as a community project to rebuild together one brick at a time. To paraphrase Charles Darwin's findings in his book On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, it is in community cooperation and compassion that we are able to survive and thrive. 

I used mycelium as a method of message. The message is in the materials used to create The Well Within. Using mycelium in construction is a profound way to reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels. Mycelium is a sustainable resource. An article published on September 6, 2022 by NATGEO details how mushrooms are inspiring engineers to build a better future. In a recent podcast with Mushroom Revival,  U.K. biologist Merlin Sheldrake shared that mycelium, which has been with us as a living material for more than 10,000 years, shares 50% of human DNA. Next time you pick up a mushroom from the ground, pause and consider what lies beneath. Keep in mind that the mushroom only represents a tiny part of the larger organism. The mushroom is simply the fruit of mycelium. Mycelium is a vast fungal network that is woven through the soil under every step we take and has held planet together since the beginning of time.  All mycelium based projects have been "Grown with Ecovative™ Technology".

© Maria Schechter All Rights 2024.

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