Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s poem of the same name, ‘The Mushroom Hunters’ explores the role of women in science. It introduces the idea that women hunter gatherers were the very first scientists. Through their observation and experimentation they navigated their way through the natural world to gift us food, medicine and tools.
The book features the more modern day women hunter gathers that have been important to me over the years,
Diane Fossey (Naturalist), Lynn Margulis (Biologist), Maggie Aderin-Pocock (Space Scientist), Rosalind Franklin (Chemist), Marie Curie (Physicist) and Anne McLaren (Biologist)
And plants and animals that would have been foraged in Britain during the Stone Age, Lichen (Xanthoria arietina), Winkle (Littorina littorea), Hazelnut (Corylus avelana), Burdock (Arctium lappa), Wild carrot (Daucus carota) Elderberry (Sambucus), Limpet (Patella vulgate), Bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) and Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella).
This Artist’s Book was created as a continuation of work inspired by marine coral ecosystems. A colonial animal, coral relies heavily on its relationship with single celled algae called zooxanthellae. The algae provide food to the coral through photosynthesis whilst the carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis is generated by the coral when it lays down its limestone skeleton which protects both animal and algae. The coral polyps are transparent but the algae living within them give them their glorious colours. As the marine ecosystem comes under pressure, due to warming seas, acidity and pollution, the zooxanthellae are expelled. The reefs literally haemorrhage life, and, as they empty, their colour and ability to support the needs of fish, invertebrates and a host of others including humans is lost. All that remains is their white skeleton.
Hand-torn Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper, Japanese Kozuke paper, watercolour, soy wax, and waxed linen thread.