That mushroom

small needle felt mushroom child

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.

small soft sculpture figure representing a fly agaric personna,made form wool felt with needle felted face.

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.

From behind you can see an Amantia muscaria
From behind you can see an Amantia muscaria

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.

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6 thoughts on “That mushroom

  1. Very interesting reflection on this ever so popular mushroom. It is, indeed, very appealing visually, and is the quintessential folk art mushroom. I was alarmed when I saw a post somewhere with cupcakes frosted to look like them. An opportunity for a teachable moment with children. I never thought of them as being an invasive. Our whole world is changing, and changing quickly. The more we educate ourselves about the world around us, the better off we’ll be.

  2. A beautiful post on both the mushroom and your art. Some very interesting ideas to reflect on. I never realized the amanita was an invasive species. I also find your little folk enchanting. I love the details especially their tiny faces.

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