The Mushroom Picker
Violette Editions (November 2012)
A children’s book
Written, illustrated and created by David Robinson
Designed by Charlotte Heal
Hardback, 48 pages
29.4 x 23.3 cm (h x w, portrait)
'Beautiful and extraordinarily innovative' – AnOther magazine
'An original tale and arresting illustration' – Wallpaper* magazine
'A delightful new children's story' – The Independent Magazine
A beautiful and utterly unique picture storybook of enchanting luminograms and verse, The Mushroom Picker is the first children’s book to be published by Violette Editions and is sure to become a mini independent classic.
'In a dark and ancient English wood
beneath two oaks that proudly stood,
a patch of leafy forest floor
trembled near a woodshed door.
It was that dreaded night each year
The Mushroom Picker would appear.'
The Mushroom Picker tells the tale of charismatic mushroom characters thriving in an English wood, and of one heroine in particular, Penny Bun – a rare and spectacular porcini – who evades the Mushroom Picker's annual autumn harvest.
Set against the dark night sky, Robinson’s funghi characters come to life in these richly illustrative images, as Penny Bun and her friends (Rosy Earthstar, Scarlet Cup, Slippery Jack and others) conspire to build a rocket ship to escape the Picker’s grasp. Children will love this magical rhyming story, the charming mushroom characters and the scary Mushroom Picker, who 'creeps along with quiet purpose'. Adult readers will be amused, and perhaps inspired, to become Pickers themselves, with endnotes on a range of mushrooms to savour or avoid in Robinson's light-hearted but authoritative ‘Cast of Characters’ at the close of this book, his first for children.
Lovingly crafted by a mushroom obsessive, the co-founder of internationally renowned Sporeboys street-kitchen, these unique images show highly fanciful scenes and portraits from this adventure. Robinson's luminograms themselves are created in his darkroom in mysterious fashion using a cameraless process: Robinson artfully arranges hand-cut mushrooms directly on the plate glass of his enlarger and varies the intensity of light exposed to his subjects to create Penny Bun's extraordinary universe. Afterwards, when his luminograms are developed, Robinson's funghi are summarily discarded (or eaten!), these tableaux never to be remade.
David Robinson is a Northern Irish artist based in London. Over the past decade his photographic work has appeared in The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Blueprint and Creative Review. His work was selected for inclusion in Picturing Eden (Steidl 2007) and he provided photographs for The Official Extreme Golf Manual (Barrons 2007). He has had solo shows in London and Belfast and has work included in various touring group exhibitions.
Robinson is also a chef and co-founder of Sporeboys, a mushroom street-food kitchen touring food markets in London and festivals across the UK. Sporeboys food has been celebrated in The New York Times and The Independent – loyal local and international customers flock each week to Broadway Market to savour their mushroom medley sandwich. For the last two years David's artwork has combined his passion for photography and food, producing these magnificent and highly original illustrations in his east-end darkroom, where he also prints photographs for Martin Parr and other distinguished photographers.