Shed Velvet – Mycelium

Lily Xiao, Painting, 2023

Lily Xiao is a multidisciplinary sculptor and fabricator born in Chicago. They are attending the Maryland Institute College of Art, living and creating in Baltimore, Maryland. Xiao’s recent Solo exhibition in the Gateway Gallery, Faithful Rind, addresses fertility, loss, and transcendence. They have participated in numerous group shows, including at Ritual at the Gateway Gallery, We are Everywhere at Fox Gallery, and Sculpture Symposium at Middendorf Gallery. Xiao curated the exhibition The Space Between Us at Gallery CA, creating a community for BIPOC abstract artists. Their work in curation and sculpture has been reviewed in BmoreArt.  

Project Overview

In traditional Chinese medicine, powdered antler velvet can be used as a stimulant for male fertility. The collection of this substance is violent, a price to pay for virility. I am drawing the connection between this male centric substance and the pomegranate arils that freely shed from the break in the antler. Pomegranates, a symbol of female fertility is expelled from the object shedding velvet.


I chose to use the Pohu Mushrooms as they were the most quickly growing bunch. I made a relief sculpture of an antler from air dry clay, then created a vacuum mold and filled it with the inoculated straw/Pohu. I tented it with saran wrap, pierced it and let them grow, I sprayed it with water at the one week and two week mark.

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