Rhonda Ratray, Bubble Trouble (Blow Outs)

enamel, glass and gourd. Various sizes from 5″ to 14″ 10 in total

Artist Statement:
THESE are grapefruit to watermelon sized FRUITING BODIES round to pear shaped puff balls. Mature pore mass pale bubblegum pink. Fairly smooth texture characteristic marbleized pattern with a large somewhat fleshy chamber for holding CO2. This organism decomposes in as little as 2 weeks and up to 1000 years.

HABITAT is solitary, scattered or in groups fruiting simultaneously or in succession. These puff balls can appear almost anywhere at any time.

EDIBILITY NOTE: flavor is a combination of banana, pineapple, cinnamon, cloves, and wintergreen. Sometimes noted as a combination of vanilla, cherry, lemon, and orange. Specific flavor may be recreated by combining esters: methyl salicylate, ethyl butyrate, benzyl acetate, amyl acetate or cinnamic aldehyde. This mushroom is reported to have a cleansing effect on the pallet as it is recommended to be chewed and not swallowed.

COMMENTS: Folklore regarding Blow Out Puffballs, as they were seen as giving form to an exhaling breath, this mushroom gives the hunter a reminder to breathe a cleansing breath. Used in folk magic rituals for becoming unstuck.

Artist Bio:
Rhonda Ratray received her BFA from Alfred University School of Art and Design, and her MFA from The School Of The Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University. Rhonda taught Screen-printing at The School of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA affiliated with Tufts University. Finding inspiration in printmaking, painting, sculpture and design, she has also taught at the MFA Boston, The Maud Morgan Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, The Essex Art Center, Lawrence, MA and The Brookline Art Center. She currently teaches at the Vermont Art Exchange, North Bennington, VT. Rhonda has exhibited her work in many universities and galleries including Montserrat College of Art, Emmanuel College, The Adikman Gallery at Tufts University, Medford, MA, The Bennington Museum and The Fitchburg Art Museum. Fitchburg, MA. Rhonda is the Artist in Residence and curates The Left Bank Gallery in North Bennington, VT. Rhonda grew up in the Bennington area and also paints under the name Aimee LaPorte.