Some time ago, when new to felting, this tiny needle felted Amanita child emerged. Lately this larger figure was created and had me pondering again about the fly agaric, toadstool houses and tales of yore.
It is now that time of year when these red and white fungi appear on the forest floor, in the main where pines grow. They have started to become a feature in our landscape, especially down south and are making their way up along the coast, acclimatising and now beginning to appear in native forest.
It seems that globalisation has not only overtaken culture and finance but also ecology. As Amantia spreads they could pose a threat to native species. The pine forests that host them, are an introduced species, so there seems to be a situation that we all to often disregard till it is too late. The long term consequences are yet to be fully understood but if our history with cane toads, carp and lantana is considered then perhaps some alarm bells might start to ring.
As an artist the crisp red and white colouring and the long association with myth and fantasy, as well as the ancestral belief that they are a good luck charm, has made it an interesting and often inspiring subject. However this mushroom, or toadstool, is poisonous and has been used as a trance inducing drug over many centuriesas well as having many layers of complex symbolism connecting it to virtually every religion and culture.
For me it has served primarily as a pretty symbol of the forest, that calls attention to the cycle of decomposition, transformation and regeneration, which is what fungi have been created to do when mankind does not interfere.
As an icon that I use frequently its colours speak to me of creativity and life, as well it serves as a wish for luck and happiness.