Stephan Mitman is a contemporary studio artist who lives and works in the woods of Western Maine. Mitman’s studio practice is centered on lost-wax casting of unusual silver jewelry forms and pioneering jewelry fabrication designs and techniques with mushroom mycelium.
After earning a BFA in ceramics at Michigan State University in 1988, Mitman moved to Maine with his wife Christi, purchased 68 acres, and built a home and studio. In addition to making his own work, for over 3 decades, Mitman also taught K-12 art in Maine public schools, helping thousands of students discover and develop their creative potential.
In 2016, Mitman and his daughter built a larger art making space, the Silver Beehive Studio, next to their home. Until 2021, Stephan Mitman was a contemporary jewelry artist, working mostly in unusual cast silver rings… then he discovered mycelium!
“I read the book Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard and learned the incredible properties of, and the role mycelium plays in nearly all ecosystems. I was hooked. I started hunting for, photographing, drawing, and sculpting mycelium. Then I came across the work of an artist who built a chair out of mycelium and had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. If he can grow a chair, I should be able to grow jewelry! So, I built a laminar flow hood, learned about grain spawn and substrate mixes, and got to work experimenting.”
Over 1,000 grown forms later, Mitman is just beginning to understand some of the basics of mycofabrication. “Every batch lead’s to new discoveries. My mission is to openly share my creative and technical journey with this amazing organism for the benefit of other makers.”