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Pink Oyster Mushrooms for Dinner@8, Celebrating 10 Years


Here’s what I wrote on my entry: Beneath the Surface of the Edges of the pink oyster mushrooms, the Space Between the gills forms rhythmic Patterns of shadow and light. My Affinity for fungi and lichen extends to the inspiration I find in the world around me in Maine, even at at the Belfast Farmer’s Market. Dyeing and painting white cloth is part of my artistic voice, my Personal Iconography.

I am over the moon excited that Pink Oyster Mushrooms has been juried in to the 10th and final (SOB) Dinner at Eight exhibit and that I can now share it with you–I made this back in the January to April time frame, and keeping it under wraps has been difficult!  From that website, “Dinner at Eight Artists is pleased to present The Best of Dinner at Eight Artists: Celebrating 10 Years of Exhibitions. Each artist selected a theme from the last 9 years for what will be our last exhibition. Quilt size is 30” wide by 50” high. The exhibit is sponsored by Havel’s Sewing.

“Artists considered the following:

We’ve explored the Edges and the Spaces Between

We examined things Beneath the Surface

We all admit that we have Rituals

We shared our Exquisite Moments

We Reflected upon ourselves and the world around us

We expressed our Affinity for certain things

We’ve noted the many Patterns in our lives

and expressed ourselves through Personal Iconography”

First and foremost:  Yes, oyster mushrooms really can be PINK!   Here’s the photo I took at the Belfast (Maine) Farmer’s Market last September:

Yes, the mushrooms really grew that color of pink!!!!! The tops are the usual brown, and apparently they lose the vibrant color when cooked, but still….Gorgeous!

Here are two detail images.  For this piece, I dyed the background fabric a very pale, warm pink. Then I used Tsukinenko inks mixed with aloe vera gel (the white kind from the organic food shop that is about 98 percent gel, not the green yuck that is barely 60 percent aloe gel from Rite Aid) and painted the browns and pink shadows on the gills.  I used stabilizer underneath and did all the stitching on the curled tops before layering up with batting and backing.  I then quilted the wholecloth top, outlined the brown tops/edges, and added a little more quilting where necessary to prevent buckling on the brown areas.

Detail 1

Detail 2

It has been such an honor to be a part of so many of the Dinner at Eight exhibits.   I am a better artist and a happier person for having met and worked with and become friends with the strong women involved, starting with Jamie Fingal ( and Leslie Tucker Jenison (  I am proud beyond belief of the work I have done for these exhibits, which I consider to be the best of everything I have done, and deliriously happy to be included in this final exhibit.  THANK YOU, Jamie, Leslie and all the Dinner@8 artists.





10 Responses to “Pink Oyster Mushrooms for Dinner@8, Celebrating 10 Years”

  1. Susan Says:

    Love this!

  2. Sarah Ann Smith Says:

    Thanks so much Susan…I wasn’t sure if it was “too quiet” to get in, so am immensely relieved and delighted. Looking forward to seeing yours!

  3. Franki Says:

    Lovely Sarah! Congratualtions!

  4. Susan Says:

    Thanks Sarah, I put mine out there on FB about an hour ago, but I’ve noticed for the last few weeks not getting responses to my FB posts. I’d be curious if you can or can’t find it.

  5. Sarah Ann Smith Says:

    Yes, I think yours showed up in my feed after I replied to this….but I wonder the same thing about the FB algorithms. I can’t even find a “Most Recent” button to use on my phone…I can on the laptop, but not on the phone, so I am stuck with whatever FB puts there!

  6. Sarah Ann Smith Says:

    Thanks Franki!

  7. Susan Says:

    Congratulations, its beautiful your quilting is fabulous as usual. You are one of the quilt artists I am in awe of. You make it look so easy, you give the rest of us inspiration.

  8. Sarah Ann Smith Says:

    Oh what a kind thing to say and what a delightful way to begin my day! Honestly, I figure if I can do it, anyone else can too–you just need to devote time and effort to getting from where you are to where you want to be. Some people can do that, others don’t want to do the work or are in a place in their lives where it isn’t feasible. So here’s to having time for us all to do what brings us joy! And maybe eventually I’ll stop second guessing myself about whether something is good or not!

  9. Diane Simancek Says:

    Beautiful!! Wondering if you used trapunto on the curled edges…. or is it your talent with the painting that makes the edges look thicker than the rest of the pedal?

  10. Sarah Ann Smith Says:

    LOL…definitely a variation on the theme of trapunto. It is enhanced by the coloring with paint and thread, but after painting the top, stitching (with stabilizer) the brown curled edges, I then layered extra wool batting under the wider curls (otherwise they would buckle after quilting the pink areas). I trimmed the batting to just the edges of the brown so I would catch it with outline quilting and a little bit of actual quilting (as opposed to just stitching) in the brown areas, again to prevent unsightly buckles and ripples. The longer I quilt, the more I go to paint and dye and the less I use commercial fabrics! Thanks for asking!