Reindeer Moss

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01/27/2022

Long before preserved moss is installed on a wall in your office, it lives a much different life.  Despite its name, reindeer moss is actually a type of lichen- a composite organism comprised of algae, cyanobacteria, and various fungi species.  Although that sounds scary, it is actually a common and benign life form, and can be found scattered on forest floors throughout the sub-Arctic mountains.  It is spread so far and wide that it functions as the primary food source for reindeer and caribou during the winter months, hence the name "reindeer moss".

 

To create a moss wall, reindeer moss must first be preserved properly.  To begin this process, it is scooped up in large quantities from the forest floor and shipped to processing locations around the world.  The moss is cleaned, trimmed, and treated with mild chemicals which encourage a supple texture.  The moss is then saturated with a dye (often similar to fabric dye) and heated to at least 100 °C, while submerged in a water/glycerin mixture.  This preserves the moss's texture and color.

 

After treatment, the moss can be shipped to places like NPK! After receiving a moss shipment, our designers sort through the moss again, removing any leftover twigs or discolored pieces.  Once settling on a design, we begin applying the moss by hand, piece by piece, to a backing (often felt), which is used to hold the entire piece together until it is time for installation.

 

Over the years, we have created some very unique moss art! Due to reindeer moss's color options, the sky really is the limit when it comes to designs.  Feel free to peruse our gallery of moss walls, or take a walk down memory lane with us and learn about a 2019 moss wall award.

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