The ‘Forest of Mushrooms’ series captures a wildwood full of growth, minute life forms and woodland creatures comprised in a palette of warm autumn tones. The series explores undergrowths of mushroom species and invertebrates, focusing on minuscule details of life that forms within ecosystems.
‘Wildwood’ was the first edition to the series and was inspired by majestic owls and the change in seasons. The focus wasn’t primarily on the owl as such, but the clusters of mushroom growths and dainty insects. Which initiated the second edition to the series ‘Toadstools’ a smaller study of amanita mushroom clusters and invertebrates.
‘Fox & Fungi’ was another adaptation of ‘Wildwood’ depicting a vixen fox and her cub, exploring undergrowths of fungi on a stump and branches. The vixen is dominant in the foreground as a protector of her offspring and the forest. The forth edition was inspired by smaller studies of chanterelle mushroom growths and large snails.
The concept behind the series was to illuminate the significance of all life forms from large wildlife to microscopic invertebrates and fungi that uphold vital roles within ecosystems. Fungi are highly diverse organisms that play various ecological roles in the biosphere. They are essential in the recycling of nutrients, decomposing organic matter, symbionts of animals and plant growth, natural enemies of pests, a food source and bioremediation agents.
Coupled with fungi, invertebrates also serve a crucial role in the pollination of plants, decomposition and nutrient release. Making up 95 percent of all animal species on earth and are plants biggest source of biodiversity. The fungi kingdom and invertebrate population are crucial, without whom the whole ecological system would collapse.
“The Garden Tea Party” is a series of works that grew over time – quite literally. The works focus on the fragile beauty of nature and growth over time, combining the two fragile forms of fine china and delicate foliage. The teacups and teapots are seen displaced and neglected in the wilderness, completely overgrown and entwined in foliage.
[Above: ‘Tea for Two’ – Third Edition to the series]
[‘Green Tea’ – Forth Edition to the series]
[‘Overgrown Teapot’ – Second Edition to the series]
[‘Tea Time’ – First Edition to the series]
It all started with the first edition to the series”Tea Time” At the time my vintage teacup collection was growing, finding the most intricate pieces of Victorian fine china. I was drawn to floral patterns and combining this with living flora.
“The camellia tea plant grows from the teacup and forms a seed of new life.”
I initially manipulated the structure of the teacups – starting with the delicate handles transforming from object to growth. The teacups and teapots are depicted with cracks and chips revealing there weathered and worn state, highlighting their vulnerability of the abandoned fine china against natural elements.
The foliage is seen adapting to its surroundings with growths breaking out from the constraints of the structural form – surviving and overtaking the unfamiliar objects.
Alice in Wonderland is an all time favourite story of mine and one I hold close to my heart. It reminds me of childhood, adventures and the powerful tool of imagination and that of my own. I wanted to capture the magical world of wonderland – a world full of clocks, teacups, giant mushrooms and peculiar creatures.
Being very influenced by the Disney films and their version of the novels – I wanted to create my own take on it. Conveying Alice a little older and more estranged to the common world. Her hair appearing a little untamed in a messy braid and big pink bow, though still in proper dress for the tea party. She sits upon a giant mushroom with a dazed expression as she balances a teacup on her head, a teapot in one hand and key in the other. Not at all concerned by her surroundings as her curious animal friends lurk behind her, for the white rabbit will show her the way.
“Everything is out of the ordinary and nothing appears as it should”
[‘Alice’ – Finalised piece. Graphite and coloured pencil]
‘Birds and The Seams’ explores the delicate nature of flora and fauna adapting to its surroundings and its dominance over time. Dainty insects and woodland creatures are depicted in a world of displaced antiques that are completely overgrown and entwined in foliage. As time passes, the dominance of the foliage grows and accumulates the abandoned antique objects, creating a completely new environment for nature to thrive on.
The concept was derived from previous explorations of overgrown foliage accumulating antique objects seen in ‘The Garden Tea Party’ series. The concept explores the barriers between nature and a manufactured world. Addressing themes of displacement and neglect that question realities and values.
The architectural form of the human body is suggested in a stiff, dismantled structure that has been damaged and worn over time. The fragile form of the mannequin is tested against the growths of foliage, suggesting the constant struggle of nature against man kinds impact. The vegetation has adapted to its surroundings to survive, creating new life and moving towards a new world of ethereal wilderness and beauty.
The piece was inspired by current environmental issues and the human footprint on our surroundings.