It Grows on You


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I can't say for certain why it is that I like mushrooms so much.  I find fungi fascinating, and the organic lines are pleasing to create.  They fit in well with my themes of recreating self and growing new life out of the darkness, but I can't point to a specific genesis for my interest.  I've never studied them, I can't identify most of them, and my understanding of their forms and variety rarely goes past, "Oooh!  Neat!"

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"Oooh!  Neat!"

That said, I had a remarkable experience recently, and I might just have to start studying these things.  Up in Wisconsin's north woods, my family and I spotted dozens of different kinds of mushrooms.  Their abundance and variety and density absolutely astounded me.  I found myself hyperventilating with excitement as the lot of us stood in the rain, agog at the fungi.  We saw about four dozen groupings of mushrooms on a little trail that couldn't have even been a mile long.  Their forms and colors and numbers were overwhelmingly diverse.  I'd describe them here now, but I wouldn't know where to start, and -- more to the point -- I wouldn't know where to stop!  Aside from my glasses fogging up and my difficulty in taking clear photos, I hardly even noticed the rain.  I'd have stayed there for hours.  I could have walked the loop four more times and could have seen something new every time.  I'm sure of it.  It was literally amazing.

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This one was a good three inches across and looked like a hummingbird bath.

Days later, I'm still processing what I saw, and I'm trying to figure out how best to incorporate these new colors and forms and group formations into new works that I'd like to do.  I have too many ideas to focus clearly on one yet, but we brainstormed a concept that might allow me to use several of these new inspirations in one larger piece.

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I wonder, though, whether people will believe that these bright colors and strange combinations are pulled from nature.  Will they assume that I've made a mistake when I break parts off and create holes and dark spots?  Should I even worry about that?  (Pro tip: the answer to that is usually "no")

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The rain gave everything a high gloss, a look that I usually avoid because it doesn't scan as "natural" to me.  Now I will reconsider.

I wish that I could take friends by the hand and lead them through that wet northern wood.  I wish that I could make them see what I saw.  I wish that I could bring them that same sense of wonder.

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I suppose that that's the aim of this sort of art, though.  Art is my way of taking you by the hand and showing you what moves me.  Maybe I don't yet have the skill to really share that sense of awe, but I'll keep working at it and hope that it grows on you.  If ever I become good enough at this that a person walking up to view my work feels the way that I felt in that forest, I will consider that a success.

 

 

Behold!

 I suspect that these started off with a solid top layer, which cracked into pieces as the gills grew larger.  Now I want to find out...

I suspect that these started off with a solid top layer, which cracked into pieces as the gills grew larger.  Now I want to find out...

 Aren't these guys just darling?  What an odd color those stems are.  I'd never have thought to use that color, but now my mind keeps wandering back to it.  I'll need a lot of translucent clay for it, but it's somehow... a muted neon yellow?  I don't know, but it'll be fun to figure out.

Aren't these guys just darling?  What an odd color those stems are.  I'd never have thought to use that color, but now my mind keeps wandering back to it.  I'll need a lot of translucent clay for it, but it's somehow... a muted neon yellow?  I don't know, but it'll be fun to figure out.

 These always end up looking distressingly phallic, but I guess I'll have to keep trying.

These always end up looking distressingly phallic, but I guess I'll have to keep trying.

So much inspiration!