Clothing bales with wasted garments under a compost heap

and brown beech mushrooms


Fashion is not meant to last. It’s adored only for the moment, nowadays all the more ephemeral. But we hardly think about where it goes once it’s past. The tale of an industry responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions is far from chic: globally millions of tons of textiles waste is created each year, almost two- thirds of clothing castoffs are heading directly to dumping grounds and another 10 percent are getting incinerated. Export to the Global South does not only ruin local markets, landfills overseas are heaping up. It can take up to 250 years for synthetic fibres to decompose. The contaminated fantasy needs an urgent metamorphosis.


Fungi: Nature’s decomposers & recyclers

Without fungi and the metamorphic process of decomposing our planet would suffocate covered under layers of dead material. Fungi are the great decomposers and transformers. They digest dead matter and bring it back to life. Fungi are also the great connectors. Underground mycelial networks of intertwined organisms are revealing a new story about the planet’s ability to cooperate and heal itself.


In 2021 & 2022 I'll make further research on the process of decomposing (donated) old clothes & fabrics with fungi & other microbes and organisms in compost environment.


It evolves from the first experiments I made

with mushrooms and a compost heap during

my residency at 'Kunst in der Natur', 2020

(see further below)






and other organisms and

micro-organisms in a compost heap


After a few weeks up to some months

natural fibres will almost completely

break down.


Synthetic fibres, such as polyester, leak chemicals and can take up to 250 years to

fully decompose...


 Fungal and bacterial filaments in fabric


  Detail on decomposed cotton 

 after just 14 days




Below the documentation of 

the first research I made


Mushroom & Mycelium



Residency: Kunst in der Natur, am Wachtberg, Waldviertel AT

On July 15th in 2020 I made a stroll through the Wachtberg

forest collecting 28 various fungi.


I wrapped up the different fungi findings

in an old sheet and buried it altogether

under a heap of Wachtberg compost and soil.


14 days later, on July 28th the mushroom flesh

was almost decomposed. Leaving it's traces

and spores, colouring the old bedsheet.

Mycelium worked through the cottonon it's

organic internet.




A symbiogenetic artwork

in collaboration with various fungi



Just after digging up

& washing off: 



July 28th:


Detail of the sheet with fresh fungi & sporangia drawings,

Just washed away rests of earth, fungi & compost.

Here drying on the grass.


result after only 14 days: 


The fungi,

and other life in the compost

ate parts of the sheet











Below the 28 mushrooms that I collected in the forest around 

that were drawing in & working through the white sheet:


I can not name all the mushrooms or fungi yet, also because some started to perish, but I'm studying on it.

Flesh of the earth 

Earth made


Maaijke Middelbeek, Fungi drawing, Symbiogenetic artwork


Detail of drawings in the corner - right - above


Detail fungi & sporangia below the center

Maaijke Middelbeek, Fungi drawing, Symbiogenetic artwork


Detail of the sheet, floor left side

humus soil with a St. George's Mushroom




Detail of the sheet with

fungi drawings

floor right side


humus soil with a

Boletus mushroom


My mushroom & mycelium drawings in the pavillon with visitors