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There is fungus among us, thanks to Broadview Heights resident Kim Colarik.
But never fear - the fungus is decorated with pictures of lions, tigers, bears and more. Colarik uses her artistic talent to carve animals into dried mushrooms she fetches herself.
The artist developed an interest in the craft while she was growing up. She saw the technique on a PBS special and decided to try it. Finding the medium wasn't hard for her.
"I was always in the woods anyway," she recalled.
She drew designs on fungi and gave them away to friends. She said her mother still has her first mushroom project.
Colarik grew up, went away to college and all but forgot about her hobby. It wasn't until her sister-in-law organized a craft sale that she thought about the fungi again. She sold some of her old designs at the show. In fact, she was surprised at how well they sold.
"It kind of grew from there," she said. The hobby became one of the ways she makes a living. "It's a good excuse for me to get out and go hiking in the woods."
Colarik harvests bracket fungi from nearby woods and dries it for six weeks in a shed. The fungi is then baked in an oven and coated with a special blend of wood sealers to preserve it. Colarik uses a wood burner to carve pictures into the mushrooms and a colored pencil to add white highlights. A final coat of sealant preserves her work