Mycelium Coat Hangers

Sarah Becker, Interdisciplinary Sculpture, Spring 2023

Project Overview

I made some test tiles using PoHu with Hemp Hulls, PoHu with Straw and Pink Oyster with Hemp Hulls. Hangers are a reoccurring form in my practice. It is a simple and common utilitarian object that is beautiful designed to hold clothing, yet is often made from unsustainable materials (such as plastic and metal). When hangers are holding clothing they are an ’up-right’ stand in for the body. However due to their two-dimensionality they make the absence of a body all that more apparent.

Hangers are found in a domestic context, which makes them readily accessible. The connection to domesticity, the home, the body, and unfortunately the rights to reproduction. Due to sexism, shame, lack of resources, lack of access, poor medical treatment, racism, poverty, conservative ideals, and more hangers have (and still are) used vaginally in abortion attempts. This is known as the Coat Hanger Abortion. Coat Hanger abortions can cause permanent damage and in many cases death. With the 2022 reversal of Roe v Wade many folks are becoming unable to access reproductive health treatments, with even seeking an abortion being a punishable offense. Coat Hanger abortions have never disappeared, becoming most prevalent in the 1950s, yet now in 2022 this practice is on the rise. For folx who attempt a Coat Hanger abortion and require medical treatment due to injury they can be held liable for murder and sentenced to prison.

My hope is that we can grow a future in which we protect the people already living, to make it a safer place for those to come. Decay is needed for growth and nothing exemplifies this fact more than mushrooms.

Mycelium Hanger Tile with PoHu, Rose, and Hemp Hulls
Porcelain Test Tile Hangers


This project is currently inconclusive. However I did learn a lot:

  1. Mycelium loves plant matters. The hemp hulls are smaller particles so it worked better for packing into my molds, however because the particles were smaller (and my mold quite thin) it made the final outcome fragile. 
  2. I would be interested in combining materials with different densities and sizes (IE Straw AND Hemp Hulls together) to increase the particle packing and strength. 
  3. The Pink Oyster fruits the literal cutest mushrooms imaginable. 
  4. I would make my molds thicker and be interested in testing different material combinations. 
  5. Mycelium did not like dried noodles at all. 

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