Autumn seemed to have forgotten to visit this year. It has been unsettling. The ongoing heatwave has made it harder to work. Heart and mind have yearned for cooler mornings,mists and coloured leaves.
However, in the past few days, rain has come and as if by magic the expanse of barren dust surrounding us has been transformed into a lush, green carpet. Fungi is making an appearance as well revealing that life is returning to the parched soil.
This morning Mother Nature announced that Autumn is on the way. An early walk in the garden led to this discovery, a perfectly beautiful crocus whose appearance heralds that change of season is on the way.
This tiny crocus is brave and resilient; it has surfaced in spite of a severe summer serving as a reminder of what should be and what can be lost forever if we do not connect and care better for our planet.
My muse is nature and when instinctively we synchronise it is such a feeling of wonder and awe. After I finished this piece I took a walk in the garden.
Delighted and surprised to find that almost by magic these had appeared.
An unexpected discovery as it is not the usual season. Perhaps a they are a tiny miracle, or rather an indicator of climate change?
Whatever the reason their delicate beauty masks their ability to thrive, survive and multiply. Mushrooms are powerhouses we do not yet fully understand. Nature is our greatest teacher who asks us to carefully observe,respect,cherish and to protect all that she has so lovingly created and shared..
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.
Again sharing a felt nature scene, a hollow tree stump that has been hand stitched, appliquéd and embroidered as well as needle felted. This hollow stump tells a story of protection and renewal.
The log hosts various life forms within and without.
Here you can see different types of fungi, and some vines,grass and moss.The little thread keeps the tiny mouse attached but also if gently pulled moves the mouse along, under and around the hollow branch.
The mouse is taking a risk but it allows an understanding of how nature has a chain of consequences and that nature is, in essence, a chain of who eats who.
Such a piece would also make a good story prop as well as being useful for the nature table and for nature study . Depicted are fungi, and other life forms that use the log in its decaying process to recreate life and to give shelter. Other animals could be incorporated such as snake or possum. It is a piece designed to begin an exploration and to inspire stories and to stimulate curiosity.