I love mushrooms, and I love treasure hunts - so I was very disappointed to find out about Game of Shrooms after it happened last year. On June 11th there will be mushroom-themed art hidden all around the world by independent artists - yours for the keeping if you can find it. And we’ll be participating! Not only will we be hiding mushroom-themed art, we’ll also be searching for other artist’s contributions. I can hardly believe how many other artists have joined! There’s rumored to be one in Baldwinville as well.
Tracing up a suitably mushroomy design
Not everybody cares to hang up an embroidery hoop, so I figured I’d make a little pouch (rather like our RAINBOW BAG TUTORIAL) for the scavenger hunt instead. That way I can fill it with some mushroom-themed goodies, so folks can pick their favorite piece and the last one can have the bag itself. Don’t be a stinkhorn and take them all.
The grass was fun, but the mushrooms have to be the real stars
I adapted this design from a couple antique patterns that I found, and eventually settled on wine caps for the stars of the show. Everyone does amanitas, after all – and wine caps have a dignified beauty all their own. It’s certainly not because I’ve been visiting my wine cap patch every day in the hopes of snagging dinner. In any case, the pale stems, chocolate-purple gills, and big burgundy caps make wine caps well-suited to a more subtle and complex color palette. They come up in late spring and early fall for me, so I decided to have the grasses browning a tad. The leaves are satin stitch, so the shading is very simple, but it worked better than I expected.
Wine caps are called Garden Giants for a reason - they are enormous
A few of the antique examples I looked at had little critters like dragonflies or frogs, so I followed suit with one of the little blue damselflies we have. Their iridescent bodies seem to glow against their dark wings. For a larger piece I might have done one of our local frogs, but the whole design is about three inches square – and it is full enough already. I’ll do proper justice to a frog on a different piece in the future.
A closeup to show the different stitches
Since this little project was just for fun, I was able to use a number of unusual stitches. Satin stitch and stem stitch, of course – but also detached chain, bullion knots, wheatear stitch, French knots, Cretan stitch. It was good to just play around. I am trying to work more loosely when I freehand things, and I was able to practice that with the moss and ground. If I’m not careful, I tend to solidly work things. Having unstructured moss and ground that quickly tapered to nothing meant I had to stay mentally present to make sure I didn’t just keep filling in long past where the design should end.
The bag finished and ready to hold goodies
Overall, I like this little pouch a lot, and I won’t be too sad if no one finds it. It’s a fair bit larger than a deck of cards, so I’ll need to scope out a good hiding spot – I have a general area and a few ideas in mind, but I’ll need to visit them to make sure that this will fit without being too obvious. So here are a couple hints for you: This bag will be hidden in Gardner, MA (and if you’ve been to the studio, it will be within walking distance). Wine caps are often found in human-created habitats, and these ones are no exception. So you won’t need your hiking boots to find them on June 11th. Good luck! I’ll have more hints for you here soon.