As one of the most biodiverse spots in the world, WNC is bursting with mushrooms — an estimated 2,000 species. And while we’re used to enjoying their flavor + health benefits, local nature artist Heather Brooks is using mushrooms to create eye-catching art with thousands of fans — including Rihanna.
In this piece, Heather uses mushrooms to showcase the colors of autumn. I Photo by Heather Brooks
Though she’d been casually creating art for a while, it wasn’t until Heather began creating arrangements with mushrooms and other natural materials that fans + followers began to pop up like mushrooms on a log.
That momentum ramped up even more when Rihanna began following her on Instagram, an event Heather calls her “largest adult achievement.” Her work is
now available on her Etsy site and Marquee, and it’s even been transformed into puzzles.
Through her art, Heather’s become a mushroom expert. I Photo by Heather Brooks
So, how does Heather do it?
Careful to forage in ways that are bothlegal and ethical, Heather lets the materials dictate the piece. Drawn to color + texture, she gathers mushrooms and other materials like lichen or berries and, over the course of ~48 hours, crafts one-of-a-kind pieces. Sometimes she brings materials to her home studio and creates and photographs the pieces there; other times, she works solely in the woods.
When foraging, Heather employs “leave no trace” principles. I Photo by Heather Brooks
Her works are not only striking, but help boost her mood, too. “With all the problems in the world, going into the forest to forage for a piece I’m creating feels good,” Heather says. “It feels like the forest is still here, still doing its thing, and like there’s an abundance of things going right in the world.”
What’s next? In addition to creating art, Heather will lead a free mushroom walk in Bent Creek on Fri., July 15 at 10 a.m.
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Poetry Night |Tues., May 17 | 6-7:30 p.m. | The Lowdown, 204 Black Mountain Ave. | Free | Share your own original poetry or just listen and enjoy.
May Auction Preview Party | Tues., May 17 | 5-7 p.m. | Brunk Auctions, 117 Tunnel Rd. | Free | Enjoy light fare, libations, and learn how easy it is to participate in an auction.
Ride of Silence | Wed., May 18 | 7-8:30 p.m. | 70 Court Plz. | Free | A silent cyclist procession honoring those who’ve been killed or injured on public roadways.
Building the Research Essay | Wed., May 18 | 6 p.m. | Virtual | $125 | Learn to blend personal narrative + research in your personal essays in this two-session class with award-winning author Tessa Fontaine.
Character: At the Heart of the Story | Thurs., May 19 | 6 p.m. | Virtual | $137.50 | Learn to write great characters for fiction, creative nonfiction, or scripts with Gotham Writers’ Paul Zimmerman.
WomanUP Workshop | Thurs., May 19 | 8-10:30 a.m. | Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Dr. | $45 | Make new connections and discuss topics such as leadership, empowerment and work-life balance.
Downtown After 5 | Fri., May 20 | 5-9:30 p.m. | 115 N. Lexington Ave. | Free | Enjoy local food and live music from Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience.
Franc Moody | Fri., May 20 | 9 p.m. | The Grey Eagle | $15 | Contemporary electric-infused funk music.
For the first time, Heritage Fire is coming to Asheville. Established in 2010, the live-fire culinary event tours the country celebrating sustainably sourced proteins and produce. Featuring 20+ local and regional chefs, the event will take place on Sun., July 17 at Franny’s Farm. Get tickets.
The NC Primary Electiontakes place today, May 17. Buncombe County polls will be open from 6:30 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., results from early voting + absentee by mail voting will be released. Final precinct info is expected to arrive by 10:30 p.m. 🗳️
46%. The amount of homes in the Asheville metro area that are overpriced, making Asheville the 23rd most overpriced city in the country. That’s according to data from financial intelligence company Moody’s Analytics, which says homes in most US metro areas are more expensive now than they should be based on historical trends. Get more info. 🏠 (NPR)
Candler-based spice company Well Seasoned Tablehas been named one of this year’s NC Idea Seed Grantrecipients. The private foundation supports entrepreneurial ambition and awards $50,000 grants to innovative startups in order to support continued growth. See the list of recipients. 💸
State water quality officialshave declared19 miles of the French Broad River from Long Shoals Road to Craggy Dam as officially “impaired.” High levels of fecal coliform bacteria have polluted the river, making its use dangerous. Officials hope the news will spur support + action for the iconic waterway. 🌊 (Ashevegas)
Purveyor of nonalcoholic drinks NoLo will hold a pop-up event on Sun., May 22 at Uncommon Market (1 Foundy St.)from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be an array of booze-free drinks — including eight craft cocktails, six beers + eight wines — as well as a fully stocked bottle shop. 🍸
Buxton Hall BBQ has been recognized in Thrillist’s Best BBQ in North and South Carolina. While Chef Elliot Moss’ whole hog ’cue is the star, his fried chicken sandwich, smoked sausage platter, fried catfish sandwich, and side dishes also got a shout out. Oh, and don’t forget the banana pudding pie. 🍖
Lynn Morton, President of Warren Wilson College, has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine(aka the highest civilian honor bestowed by the governor of NC). The award is given to people who have made significant contributions to the state + their communities. Congratulations, Lynn. 🏆
On Fri., May 13, Gov. Roy Cooper and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Internet For All initiative will invest $45 billion to help provide affordable internet access across NC (and the US). NC will receive at least$100 million in funding. 💻 (The News & Observer)
Mars Hill University’s Spring 2022 Commencement is happening on Sat., May 21 at 9:30 a.m. Asheville civil rights leader Oralene Anderson Graves Simmons, who was Mars Hill’s first African American student when she attended in the 1960s, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremony. 🎓*
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Asheville’s Uncommon Market is back on Sun., May 22 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 1 Foundy St. The market will have 115+ vendors, food trucks, popsicles, coffee, beer, and live music — plus, Mountain Pet Rescue will be on hand with adoptable dogs and pet supplies for sale.
The event is free to attendand dogs can join, too.
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