This September giant mushroom sculptures made from wicker transformed the Kew Gardens in London into a scene right out of ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ Artist Tom Hare created huge mushroom-shaped sculptures for this year’s Kew Royal Botanic Gardens Autumn Festival as part of the exhibition entitled ‘The Fungi Fairy Ring.’ The sculptures are not just oversized mockups though. Instead, each piece captures the biological processes and physical properties of actual fungi species.
The artist consulted mycologists from Kew’s Fungiarium in order to study different fungi species and capture their unique characteristics. The steel and willow sculptures incorporate various spore delivery systems and are faithful to the structure of the actual fungi.
The process started with sketching ten species and trying to translate their personalities into willow and steel. Seven edible species were chosen and used as reference for creating maquettes that were then scaled by the team at Artfabs, a UK-based company that fabricates metal sculptures and artwork. Using willow to create the actual shape, a small crew of weavers started working on 21 items that eventually made up ‘The Fungi Fairy Ring.’
It is not just fungi Hare works on; his 2009 exhibition at Kew Gardens featured a whole variety of otherworldly structures inspired by nature. Check out his online portfolio and, if you’re in London, go and see ‘The Fungi Fairy Ring.’ The exhibition will be open until April next year.