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RTL Today – Sustained Song: Learn about French clover making music from mushrooms

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Leave the mushroom spores in a mold for a few weeks and they’ll turn into a puffy, brie-like substance, says Rachel Rosencrantz, a lottery who cares about sustainability and manufactures biomaterials.

Once the mycelium, the root-like structure of the fungus that produces the mycelium, mimics the rind of a well-ripened cheese, Rosenkrantz dries it into a lightweight, biodegradable building material—in this case, the body of a guitar.

The musician trained as an industrial designer began her career as a stringed instrument maker about a decade ago, and in recent years has incorporated fungi and other biomaterials in her quest to produce greener plastics. Free tools.

Rosencrantz laughs as he offers his analogy to fromage blanc which is also a nod to his French roots; The designer grew up in Montfermeil, in the eastern suburbs of Paris, and now lives near Providence where she teaches at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design.

The basement workshop below her sunny, plant- and book-filled apartment is her crafts home and doubles as a science lab, growing materials like kombucha skin to make banjo heads and using fish skin to make cleaning tools.

“In the design world, everyone works with biomaterials, it’s exponential,” the 42-year-old told AFP from her studio.

“It’s no longer like a hippie solution,” she continued, referring to BMW, which used flax fibers in the construction of the dashboard, or Hermès, which used leather derived from mushrooms for its dashboards and the linings of its bags.

“It’s not pie in the sky like it was five years ago. It’s actually very tangible.”

– ‘maybe’ –

Traditionally, luthiers made guitars with woods such as cedar, rosewood, mahogany, and ebony, depending on the desired tonal qualities.

Sure, wood is biodegradable, but issues like excessive forestation have pushed manufacturers like Rosenkrantz toward more sustainable options, reclaimed wood, and local wood sources.

Referring to the Manhattan Conservatory, she said: “Do we really need to use the same genres as 400 years ago, because who really plays music like 400 years ago? A few Juilliard students.”

“I think it’s an industry because it’s craft-based and there’s a lot of ‘how things ought to be’,” she continued, adding that woods such as poplar wood or bamboo have long been neglected but may offer new opportunities.

“What if it was a matter of making guitar parts that were still good, so that entire machines wouldn’t be thrown away? Rosencrantz said.

“We have to keep our eyes open and see the potential of different things.”

– mushroom sound –

The mycelium, the fungal network that lies beneath the fruit that we know as mushrooms.

It is easy to grow, easy to shape and replace even if it begins to fall apart, and can be made into acoustic and electric tools.

Is it wise? Layered and finely tuned, Rosenkrantz’s mushroom guitar is not quite the same as a traditional guitar.

It’s a little nasal – but it’s full of possibilities.

“The idea came when I was researching packaging, where mushrooms were used as a substitute for polystyrene,” which “is known to be a good conductor of sound, because it’s filled with air,” she said.

The designer found that his pie conducts the sound as well, “but it has a different tone. So it’s unlike anything else before.”

“It’s just a new sound,” she continued. It will not replace rice because it is not rice. »

I’ve found that mushroom textures in general work best with electric arrangements: “There’s a normal pickup, so it sounds like a regular electric guitar, and there’s another pickup in the mushroom as well.”

“So you can then vary the amount of mushroom bran that you want.”

– ‘Help the cause’ –

Some Rosenkrantz custom guitars are entirely made of wood, while others incorporate more experimental biomaterials.

Considering the time it takes to build a unique guitar from scratch, their kits start at around $6,000.

But when it comes to the mushroom-based prototype, “My dream is for a big company to say, ‘Let’s do it, $50, every kid can have one,'” Rosencrantz said.

“Some students don’t have the means to buy an instrument… What if that was a solution? Fender, if you hear that,” she said, smiling.

Much of Rosenkrantz’s work is curiosity-driven: she keeps bees, trains them to build artwork on the guitar, and provides them with the backbone of the instrument, the part “that directs the sound and gives a certain solidity to the instrument”.

She explained that the strut mimics the top bars of a beehive, and “the bees communicate through the comb at 309 Hz, and that’s in the range of guitars.” “So we’re going to make a honeycomb that’s a natural sound diffuser.”

And it worked: the bees built combs along her hull, ate their honey in the winter, and left Rosenkrantz with a clean, humming guitar.

She said the project is less about future use and more about “hair”, another test for finding biomaterials with acoustic qualities.

It’s an exploration she hopes will help build a more sustainable future: “I’m trying to help the cause in some way.”

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