by Jennifer Donovan
Seri Robinson doesn't like mushrooms. And she's drastically allergic to both wood and fungus.
So why is she doing her PhD research on spalting, a process that produces unique patterns and vivid colors in wood by turning certain fungi loose to decay the wood? And why does she go home from her lab to spend hours more in her own woodworking shop, turning spalted wood into works of art?
"Wood is a biological material, and it can be used to create aesthetic beauty," explains the graduate student in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. "It's science, and it's art." Working with it gives her so much joy that she willingly invested in an industrial- strength air filter to help control her allergies.
It's also a field of study that grew out of a lifelong obsession with . . .