22 Sep 2016

Autumn Fungi

Today marks the official start of autumn and what better way to celebrate it than to share a gratuitous post chock-full of the amazing fungi I've encountered recently.  To me, few things feel as autumnal as fungi in reds, browns and yellows populating leaf-strewn woodland floors.

Autumn is the best time to spot these weird and wonderful organisms growing in woodlands, fields and other damp and often dark spaces.  I don't know whether it is just that I've been more observant, or rather that the weather has been more suitable, but I've seen an inordinate amount of fungi whilst on a handful of woodland walks in the Peak District this year.
The sheer variety of different shapes and colours of fungi continue to fascinate me, even as an adult.  As a child I, like many others I assume, would imagine them to be grand structures for fairies and other forest dwelling creatures.  Little did I know back then of the rich history of fungi in mythology.

In English folklore, a fairy ring (a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms) was believed to be a place where fairies would come to dance and then use the mushrooms as seats to rest after their efforts.  Others believed that the rings had much darker significance and were in fact portals to fairy worlds.  If you stepped into a ring it was thought you'd be physically injured or worse, you would disappear underground to become enslaved by the fairies themselves!
As you may have gathered from previous posts, foraging is a much-loved hobby of mine, however I have not yet built up a sufficient bank of knowledge or the courage to pick wild mushrooms.  It is very clearly an art that I have not mastered, but most certainly would love to try in the future, under guidance.  Edible mushrooms have an awfully frustrating habit of having a poisonous twin; they are two very different plants, but look dangerously similar.  I'm questioning whether I'll ever be that confident!!

I find fungi to be a great source of artistic inspiration; their strange forms being so unlike any other plant, make them fascinating to study.  I've created illustrations and even jewellery inspired by fungi and don't see myself stopping any time soon.  I've started collecting vintage reference books including a rather good one on fungi.  I adore the style of the reference drawings in these books and find them particularly inspiring.

I have really loved photographing the fungi that I've encountered recently, but from the sheer quantity of photos (and these were the chosen few out of many), that much is probably obvious.  Often I photograph images like these as reference for illustrations, but in this instance I'm particularly pleased with how they've turned out as images in their own right.

As it is now the start of autumn, I'm excited to see more of the changes that are synonymous with the season, despite being somewhat reluctant to let go of the wonderful summer weather we've had this year.  Despite this, bring on yet more mushrooms, warm toned leaves, pumpkins and of course, Halloween!

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6 comments

  1. Gorgeous photos! My husband has started to take a realy fancy to foraging for these beauties too.

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    1. Thank you! I hope I'll be able to pick some next year x

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  2. Beautiful photos! When I was little, fairy rings fascinated me so much and I always wanted to travel to another world through them... but never succeeded, haha. To be honest, I still find them kind of fascinating! xx

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    1. Thanks Mimmi. Aw :D That's so sweet x

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  3. Ooh foraging is one of my new favourite hobbies, and aren't fungi and mushroom so beautiful? I also love lichen too as it comes in so many shapes and colours.

    http://thecornishlife.co.uk

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    1. Yes! Endlessly fascinating. I love it too, especially the pale blue/green coloured ones x

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