Rotting log is a unique natural landscape that is not often thought of in the terms of a habitat because much of life there is too small to see or is overlooked. However, this habitat is bursting with life in many forms. Living within the log are “decomposers” including earthworms, fungi, and bacteria that help break down its nutrients for the “recyclers”: insects, mosses, lichen, and ferns. They process nutrients through their life form and return it to the forest floor. Larger animals like birds, squirrels, and foxes feed on these plants and creatures as well as use the rotted out, open spaces of logs, to shelter them. The circle of life is continuous.
Alyssa chose to focus on the aspect of fungi in her mug as Mycelia Development company works on plans for a larger “habitat” (new building) for Stray Cat Studio - her family-like employer of 5 years. The name, Mycelia, refers to a network of fungal filaments that grow for many years providing water and nutrients until the exact right setting allows them to fruit, or grow a mushroom. Mycelia Development sees the the process of growth in land and real estate as much the same and hopes to help provide fruit to Beaver Falls.
Fungi has also been said to potentially have played a part in the end to the coal age after it had adapted to decompose logs. Alyssa sees parallels in Mycelia Development company and other social adaptations that are forming in Beaver Falls as it’s community learns new techniques to enrich spaces that have fallen aside in the passing Steel age that once powered it. She finds unlikely inspiration in the rotting log habitat as something once considered dead, provides great potential for the multiplicity of life.
[*Please enjoy this mug carefully as it is delicately built and should be hand washed.]
About Artist Alyssa Young:
As a child growing up without much “screen time” nature and the outdoors became a huge part of Alyssa’s life. She grew up in a suburban neighborhood with a misfit attitude as big as the American consumerism sprouting up around her. Alyssa was always outside creating little worlds in cozy spaces between the bushes and rocks that were often only ornamental to this style of life. Imagination was how she played and became her escape from the sterile landscape of modern society. This, coupled with her natural ability to draw, she never stopped creating and still finds herself bouncing between worlds of natural and consumer-contemporary.
Finding inspiration in growth, yet understanding rebellion, she has never been able to choose just one medium. Alyssa constantly pushes herself to learn new mediums, subjects and techniques. She went to Carlow University for fine art and Butler County Community College for business. With these two degrees she again found herself in opposing worlds. Trying to combine all things, she has spent the last few years servicing her community with art through commissioned portraits, memorials, wedding keepsakes, etc. Working in the mediums of painting, drawing, wood-burning, felting and small ceramic sculpture allows her to work with almost anyone on almost anything.
In her private practice Alyssa focuses on the natural. She loves the freedom of floral painting and the natural medium of wood-burning. She created a mural in Beaver's Herban Touch Juice Lab and taught botanical classes at Chippewa's Sahli park in 2018. All this leads to feed her inspiration for Stray Cat Studio's mug club and her chosen habitat - rotting log.