"Bad Fungus" from my installation "Botanica Beluosa"
"Bad Fungus" 3 x 3 x 1 in
"Botanica Beluosa" 4.5 x 2 x 8 ft
Fleece, thread, fabric paint
"I find a lot of inspiration from botany and the environment, which are both interests of mine. I was interested in plant communities, for instance the symbiotic relationships that develop between fungi and trees. My installation was based loosely on an oak tree plant community. I take these general ideas as starting points and add some inspiration from human relationships and emotion, so that the work feels less like a science paper and more like something I can relate to. I try to touch on all these ideas and I see "Botanica Beluosa" as outlining a family of characters which have all these complicated relationships and backstories. I see it as a starting point for the dramas that occur in plant communities. Botanica Beluosa was a fairly full time project for about 3 months.
Bad Fungus, a character in the installation, was inspired by slime mold, I’d been reading about it and Bad Fungus is the result. It was also somewhat frosting inspired as I have a big thing for cupcakes with cherries on top.
Interesting facts about slime mold:
• It’s a Protist which is not a plant, animal or fungi, it has a few things in common with each.
• Hieronymus Bosch depicted an estimated 22 species in The Garden of Earthly Delights
Creating fabric-based installations is a relatively new direction for me, it evolved out of the one of a kind sculptures I make called 'Monster Dolls.' The "Monster Dolls" are kind of playful, kind of dark version of children's plush dolls. I decided to challenge myself to take them further. So the stuff I'm interested in making now is a little less of a single, character driven object. I try to use more unusual and varied techniques incorporating crochet and unusual hand-stitching. I take subject matter from some of my interests in botany and the environment, and the finished products all become part of an interrelated environment in an installation space. You can still buy pieces of the installations, and I still sell individual monster dolls online, but the installation work is about doing something bigger than life and more unexpected."
By Martha Sue Harris