Fleshy Gills and Spotted Caps Sprout from Ann Wood’s Lifelike Paper Mushrooms

a hand holds a pink platter with a selection of paper mushrooms

All images © Ann Wood, shared with permission

You don’t need to head out to the forest to find plump morels or chanterelles. After years of cultivating a robust collection of paper flowers and produce, artist Ann Wood (previously) has turned her focus to fungi, sprouting myriad specimens within her Minneapolis studio. White-spotted red caps of the fly agaric mushroom, plum-colored mushrooms with thick, fleshy gills, and bright yellow spores spring from patches of moss and dried leaves or rest on a platter as if ready to eat.

Wood has a background in painting and wood sculpting, although she began working with paper exclusively eight years ago. She’s since crafted more than 300 lifelike renditions of flora and fauna. Each piece is the result of study and observation, and she grows many plants from seeds in her backyard, which then serve as models for her recreations. “Throughout the years, I’ve basically tried to cover as much of the natural world—butterflies, bees, various other insects, all kinds of flowers, branches, leaves, birds, bulbs with roots, and various types of root balls that are attached to garden plants,” she says.

The mushrooms shown here are life-size or larger, and Wood is particularly adept at capturing the fleshy gills that often hide underneath the cap, along with the fringed, peeling layers of the woody stems. “It’s my goal to create that magical feeling that you get by finding mushrooms out in nature. They are fragile and startling when you come across them. I hope my paper versions inspire that same emotion,” she says.

Explore more of the artist’s paper cultivars on her site and Instagram.

two red capped mushrooms with white spots and dense white gills sprout from a mossy base

a collection of paper mushrooms rest on a blue table

four images of paper flowers, a paper swan with white fringed feathers, and a yellow and black bird perched on a branch

five pink, yellow, and white mushrooms grow from a wood base

two heavily gilled purple mushrooms grow from dried brown leaves

an assortment of paper vegetables and fruits arranged as a flat lay with cut watermelon and citrus on a wood platter at the center

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