Mushroom houses

These mushroom house have been packed away for over 30 years and earlier this spring I brought them outside and took some pictures. I made them for a story that was included in an elementary school text book. This was my first real illustration job after graduation from art school. I recently wrote about the project  in a post about my first picture book, The Way Home, here.

The Great Cleanup was a story about some ecologically minded insects who organized a recycling effort to reuse the trash that was dumped on their neighborhood. I’ll show some pictures of the insects in a future post.

I was still using my Singer Featherweight back then, which was good for top stitching and maneuvering around tight corners. There was plenty of hand stitching, too, around the mushroom cap roofs and front landings.

The houses are 8 ” to 9″ tall and the stems are hollow, with walls of 1/2″ foam rubber. The caps are filled with fiber fill stuffing.

I can remember picking out textured and knobby fabric for the stems, caps and chimneys. It was good to dust them off and display them in the grass.

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13 thoughts on “Mushroom houses

  1. I love seeing these. I can just imagine “Little Folks” living here. They remind me a lot of the series of books called “The Littles”, by John Peterson. I used those charming tales when I taught second grade because they are perfectly suited to young imaginations…as well as grown up ones. Thank you again for sharing your imagination creations with everyone. You continue to inspire and enchant me.

  2. How wonderful!

    Mushrooms are in again…though they certainly were the rage in the 70’s. Yours are so are SUPER!!! The detail is amazing–especially those doors. Drawing, painting and collecting mushrooms was a passion of mine in the 70’s. I am sorry I didn’t see this book.

    I use Singer Featherweights for my machine sewing…perfect for small things–like you say—tight corners.

    “The Great Clean Up” concept was an ecological theme I have stayed with throughout my adult life. It always amazes me that the ecology concepts of the 70’s faded away, although many here in New England have stuck with them and so have our kids.

  3. Salley – That’s it! There needs to be a museum, a gallery, something/someplace where all of these treasures can be on display! Forget the attic! Surely there are people all over that would love to see these masterpieces! When I read that these have been packed away for 30 years I could hardly read more. Putting them back makes them buried treasure. Unbelievable!

  4. Oh! How cute are these? I just cannot resist anything tiny, and Salley, you do tiny in the best possible way!

  5. These are adorable! I agree that they should not be hidden away in an attic. If you are willing to part with them and there is no museum perhaps the children’s section of your library could use them for periodic display (or full time display if they have the place to do that). I can imagine seeing them displayed with the book. Or! You could have it for display at various libraries — a traveling display. That might work, especially if you have other such illustrations that could go with them.

  6. ..your little homes are so charming….as a storyteller, I can close my eyes and just imagine what it would be to step up to the door and knock….and smell scones baking on the hearth and hear a teapot whistling. The world needs more sweet, kind imagination…instead of Transformers that eat electrical wires!

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