From the delicate gills and colorful caps to the plump stems with remnants of soil still clinging to the bottoms, Ann Wood’s elaborate fungi creations (previous) are astonishingly lifelike. At first glance, you might think these stunning specimens were freshly plucked from the forest floor, but they are, in fact, made entirely from paper.

Wood has always had a fascination with paper as a medium. About ten years ago, she started crafting realistic plants, drawing inspiration from photographs and botanical illustrations. “At first, I looked at photographs and botanical illustrations to understand specimens,” she tells Colossal. “It became clear quickly that I needed to have real plant material to examine. I think it is the only way to truly understand the parts and how to sculpt them.” Her journey into creating paper mushrooms began just within the last year, where she meticulously cuts tiny strips of paper or leverages its inherent pulpiness to craft those intricate, fuzzy details.

Creating fungi is particularly challenging because they can’t be kept fresh for the week or so it takes to complete each piece. Despite this, Wood’s artistic ingenuity shines through. She takes minor liberties with color and texture but strives to stay true to nature as much as possible. “I often wake up in the morning with new ideas—new ways to use (the material) in a way that makes the mushrooms look real,” she says. “There’s an endless amount of things that could be created. I want to make one of everything.”

Seeing Wood’s mushrooms for the first time was a truly magical experience for me. The attention to detail in her work is nothing short of incredible. It’s hard to believe that something so realistic could be crafted from mere paper. Each piece, from the minute ridges on the gills to the subtle hues on the caps, reflects Wood’s dedication and passion.

Working alongside her husband, fellow artist Dean Lucker, at their Minneapolis-based studio WoodLucker, Wood’s creations are a testament to their shared artistic vision. I love following their journey on Instagram, where she frequently posts captivating videos that highlight each specimen’s unique qualities. Her work is not just art; it’s a celebration of nature’s intricate beauty, meticulously brought to life through paper.

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