Fun With Fungi

I realise this is a bizarre title, but stick with me!

Those who follow my work will know that I have had an adoration for fungi for a long, long time. It all started when I took my children out for an October walk in the woods, and in an attempt to make things more interesting, we went on a hunt for mushrooms. When you spot one you have to shout “SHROOOOOMS!” We have a book we bring with us to identify them and I log them by taking photos.

Did you know that there are around 4 million species of fungi! Thats 600 times more fungi than mammals!

I absolutely cannot help but adore them because they look other worldly! It wasn’t until recently that the extent of my weird obsession was brought my attention and it was suggested that I study them for a series of work. Well, that was it. The beginning of something new and beautiful.

From mushrooms to moulds and sac fungi to aquatic fungi, there are so many variations. Their colour, texture and structure look almost like a child has made them up from imagination! This is why, as an artist, I find them to visually fascinating.

Sketchbook Page showing mushroom studies

There are endless possibilities for how you could interpret and celebrate their weirdness in your own way. I feel that it is not a subject which has been truly explored by many, which makes it an even more attractive prospect.

Personally, I have taken a decision to put printmaking on the shelf for a while, so that I can explore this in alternative media. Fabric is a deliciously tactile medium and wonderful to manipulate. I will not claim to be an expert with textiles, but as I have said in a previous blog post, I love to play and learn through doing. My results are the fruit of many days, weeks, months or even years of experimenting.

I started out looking at replicating my botanical fabric panels, but realised that the only way I was going to be able to capture what I wanted, was by working in 3 dimensions. I’ll admit that I attempted to solder a frame work, but this is clearly not one of my strengths! I found an alternative way to build a frame and then used various dyes and techniques to embellish my fungi. This series has a long way to go yet, but I am so excited with the results so far.

These have been viewed by events organisers at the National Trust, who I am in discussion with regarding a potential opportunity. I am super excited and hoping that this becomes another element of my renaissance.

I will keep you updated on this, but for now, go ‘shroom hunting!

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