Friday, September 11, 2020

Love of Mushrooms

Nature is Art 

So, my love for mushrooms is fairly new (a couple of years).  I first started taking a few pictures of mushrooms around our property (we are lucky to live in the middle of the woods along a river).

This first picture was taken in 2009.  I took a few more here and there, but wasn't too serious about it. 

    I then took a silver jewelry class at Penland School of Craft, Penland, NC, and came across some really amazing mushrooms (which I had no idea what I was looking at the time). 

While I was there, I decided to make a charm with a mushroom on it.  This is a Japanese technique of foil inlay.  The piece is only about 1/2" x 1/2" (pretty tiny).  It is silver leaf, gold, leaf, copper leaf on steel. The Amanita is common in Japanese art.

Then, my good friends had me watch Fantastic Fungi and I was hooked and I wanted to learn more! 
I would definitely recommend you watching it.

I really wanted to take a class at a local college, but didn't find anything that fit my schedule or what I wanted to learn about mushrooms.  I searched and found Mycologos
on-line, they offered several levels of classes.  I ended up taking: The Many Ways of Fungi: First Steps Into the World of Mycology  It was a great class, because he didn't get too deep into the scientific side (enough).  But, he also talked about growing, cooking, making paper and dye, and some of the medicinal properties of mushrooms.

Because of his instruction on the medicinal properties, I have started taking a daily supplement Thrive6, which contains Lions Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, Chaga, Turkey Tail, and Maitake.  I am not a doctor or anything such, but I really think that this has helped with my digestion and energy. Plus, I really like how it tastes in my coffee.

Since taking that class, I have now taken over a thousand photographs!  I put my "snake" boots on and head out into the woods for about an hour - two hours at a time hunting for mushrooms.  Since I am still learning, I am mostly only taking photographs and learning how to ID them.  I really want to produce a book about the ones I find.  Most are probably pretty common, but you never know when you are going to come across one that has never been identified. They say that 95% of plants and animals have been identified, but 95% of mushrooms have not!

It is funny how things spread and now a lot of my friends send me pictures or links to mushrooms and I love it!!!  Please keep sending them!

A very dear friend lost her husband seven years ago, he was a Naturalist and she is a Botanist.  She came by to see me with the most lovely of mushroom books from her husband's collection.  She gifted them to me. Some have the most amazing plates of drawings.  One book is all plates! I will share more about those in a later post!

It inspired me to take some of my mushroom photographs and turn them into a repeating pattern (using Anne LaFollette's class). I was going for the retro vibe. You can find this pattern on the products at Society6. 

I think I have also been a good influence on my daughter, Nancy Martin.  Please check out all her work on .  She has a great vlog on her YouTube channel: Mushroom Girl Speed Draw.

I hope that you have enjoyed my journey through the world of mushrooms! I am sure there will be more mushroom art to come.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A time to reflect on 2012

With the new year, I have been reflecting a lot on the past year and also looking to what is ahead.  Here are a few snip-its from 2012.

January 2012
Spent first month in the new house.

February 2012
We had a benefit for the Carolina Tiger Rescue at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts.

Clint and I took a welding class together.  We made a great log rack.
I visited Nancy's first apartment and we put together some new bookshelves.

And we celebrated Clint's 18th birthday (not sure why I don't have any pictures).

March 2012
Spent some time down at the river.

Then, we had a ton of rain for March and the Haw River was roaring!
April 2012
John and Clint made a back patio.

May 2012
Spent many hours working in the yard and swimming.
June 2012
Clint graduated from High School!
July 2012
We competed in the Annual Redbud Sunflower Contest.  We won 3rd place!
Two of my nieces came down from PA.  This is Ruthie at the NC Museum of Art.
We celebrated Nancy's 21st birthday and my ... birthday.
August 2012
Clint headed off for Basic Training for the US Army.  This was his last night before he left.
September 2012
Our baby, Biscuit, died of cancer.  She was about 9 years old.
October 2012
We celebrated Johnny's .... birthday with a quiet dinner at home.
Clint graduated from Basic Training - US Army.

November 2012
I was able take some creative time and take a few art workshops.  This one is with Bob Burridge (that is his painting).
Mr. Neville became part of the family.

December 2012
John was my featured 2D artist at Liquidambar Gallery for the month of December.
Was able to spend Christmas with some of the family.  Wish everyone could have been there together!

I could have filled this with hundreds of pictures of the past year!  Time goes by so quickly.  I am looking forward to the New Year - 2013.

I heard a great quote last night, "Our only purpose is to love."  It is so true, all the rest really doesn't matter.  So, my new year's resolution is to love more and not worry about the rest so much.  Here is to wishing everyone a Happy New Year! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hand-bound sketch book

My husband asked me if I would make him a hand-bound sketch book.  I was very reluctant at first, because I usually only make smaller books.  But, since he asked....

I first started with an 18" x 24" sketchpad, 50lb paper.  I cut the paper in half, so I ended up with 12" x 18" sheets.  These I then folded in half to make each folio.  Six of the folios made up one signature.

I wanted to add a little more, so I used scrap-booking paper as the outer cover of each signature.  
 Unfortunately, the paper is only 12"x 12", so I glued two pieces together to make the correct size.

Taking a piece of paper, I marked off equal spaces of where I would punch the holes for threading. 

 Then the tedious threading... I only pricked myself one time. 
 This shows the signatures being added one by one.
 Next, I picked a fabric for the spine.  The first one on the left was what my husband had said he liked best when I showed him the new fabrics that I had just bought.

I used the cardboard that was the backing for the sketchpad as my book board. And then glued the fabric to the three pieces of book board using Aleene's Tacky Glue.  Do Not use a store brand of Tacky Glue, they are not the same - trust me.
 This shows the inside of the cover and the three pieces of book board.
 Again, I wanted to use heavy scrap booking paper for the outside of the cover.  They were not big enough, so I used two pieces and put ribbon on the seams to cover the joints.
 A view from the inside...
 Repeat on the backside....
 Having to glue in the bookblock (pages) is the hardest part, particularly with this size of a book.  I was so frustrated by this point, I forgot to put in the headbands (a little piece of cloth that goes at the top and the bottom of the bookblock.) Oh well, I probably shouldn't have said anything.
 The finished book!
This shows the scale of the new sketch book and the size of the books that I usually make.  I honestly probably won't do another large book, unless my husband asks again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

October Featured Artists at Liquidambar Gallery

I wanted to let everyone know that I will be having two amazing ladies as the Featured Artists for October.  Beth Hayden, from Raleigh, NC. and Jo Lovvorn, from Hillsborough, NC.  The reception is October 7th, from 2-4pm.  We will have Andrew Kasab performing music and there will be complimentary food and wine!  Everyone is invited!

Beth Hayden:


Elizabeth Hayden was born and grew up in Wilmington, NC and began exploring the
arts through painting, collage, drawing, and set and costume design.
As a child she spent many years in private lessons with Hester
Donnelly at the St. John’s Art Gallery. She received her BFA in art
from UNC Greensboro in 1986
and an MLS from UNC Chapel Hill in 1990. After spending a number of
years living and working as a librarian in places as diverse as
Istanbul, Turkey and Houston, Texas, she once again returned to
painting as an outlet for her creativity and her love of art and
painting again became a passion. She was a founding member of the
Foothills Painters Guild in Hickory and has participated in shows at
the Wilkes Art Gallery, the Rockingham Fine Arts Festival, and as the
featured artist at the 2009 Wake County SPCA Fur Ball, their annual

Artist’s Statement:

I look for the way in which light illuminates the ordinary and

transforms even darkness and shapes into color. The world consists of
tiny snapshots made by an observer; the observer chooses how to view
this world. I try to paint things that I believe are sadly overlooked
in our frenetic society, putting my own snapshots of the world onto
canvas. Impacted by the fleetness of beauty in the commonplace and a
rapidity of life, where change seems the only constant, I feel that,
through art, time can be instantaneously frozen into intimate moments.

PLUS: Beth is donating 100% of the money from the sale of this piece, French Bulldog - $175, to the Carolina Tiger Rescue!!!! Thank you, Beth!  

Beth's pieces are available for purchase through November 25th, 2012, at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts.

Jo Lovvorn:

Artist's Statement:

There is such a rich clay tradition in North Carolina and so many accomplished potters locally, that I feel fortunate to be a part of this very vibrant community. My goal as an artist is to embody the joy and sense of play I feel when working with clay whether I'm creating functional pots for everyday use or decorative pieces for the home. Most of my work is wheel thrown using high fire stoneware clay. Designs are created with slip and glazes and stamps and are typically abstract, sometimes primitive, and incorporate elements of nature. I am attracted to variations in form and strive for clean lines and designs that spatially fit each pot. The final glazing is done by layering shino glazes or by firing in a soda kiln. All of my functional pots are glazed with food safe glazes, and are dishwasher and microwave safe.

Each pot is unique. I do series of similar design, but no two are ever exactly the same and the designs are always changing. Every piece is created with attention to the way it feels in your hand or on your lips, to the visual pleasure it evokes, as well as its function. I want you to experience pleasure every time you touch it day after day, year after year.

Check out Jo's website at

Jo's pieces are available for purchase at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts until October 28th, 2012. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Daily salad

Several of my friends have asked what I live on (eat).  I have Celiacs, but I am also highly allergic to wheat, and many other foods, including dairy products, plus, I do not eat beef or pork (for my own reasons).  I also do not leave my gallery for lunch.  I try to be good and take a healthy lunch, but that doesn't always work out.  I have found the easiest thing for me to do, is to prepare a large cold salad that I can take with me and leave in the refrigerator and eat on it during the week.  So, I thought that I would share.

When it comes to recipes, I do not measure.  Plus, this you could modify in so many ways to suit your tastes.

The first thing is to make a pot of Quinoa.  We buy quinoa in bulk from the market.  You fix it just like rice.  One cup of quinoa to two cups of water (I add a dash of olive oil, too).  Bring it to a boil, cover, turn on low and cook for 15 minutes.  Very easy.  If you are not familiar with quinoa, it is the only grain that is a complete protein, so it is like eating a big piece of red meat without all the bad stuff.
While the quinoa is cooking, I chop up three carrots, three celery stalks, and three cloves of garlic (yes, I love garlic).  I also dump in a medium size can (3.8 oz) of drained, sliced black olives, and a regular size can of salad beans.

I use the organic beans that are a mix of kidney, pinto, and garbanzo beans.  I have found a number of products that add wheat, but these do not.  These beans are a good source of iron and they are high in fiber!
Next, you mix in the quinoa.  I like to wait till it is a bit cooled off, because all the other ingredients are already cold.

Next I dump a bunch (I don't measure) of Balsamic Vinaigrette in the salad until it evenly coats everything.  I use the Kraft Lite BV, again, theirs does not contain wheat or dairy products.  Plus, the Lite doesn't have very much fat in it.
I eat my Quinoa Salad on corn chip Tostitos Scoops.  Because I do not add any salt to the salad, this gives it a nice flavor, plus adds texture.  I also add my hot pepper sauce to give it some zip.  (You can find that recipe at

This recipe can be modified in so many ways.  Add a can of corn or black beans instead of the salad beans, or .... (the list goes on and on).  But, if you want to add fresh green peppers, only add to the portion that you are going to eat right away.  The peppers can go bad quickly and it will spoil the rest of the salad.  Because this has the vinaigrette in it, the salad can last for quite a while. 

If you use all of the garlic that I do, make sure that this goes into a sealed container when you put it in the refrigerator.  If you just use plastic wrap or aluminum foil, your whole refrigerator will stink the next day!

Love of Mushrooms

Nature is Art  So, my love for mushrooms is fairly new (a couple of years).  I first started taking a few pictures of mushrooms around our p...