Morel mushroom hunters are a rare breed. They get so excited about them that even wooden mushrooms get them going.
Bob Gutting, 63, knows this firsthand as he's been making morel mushroom art pieces out of wood for decades.
He met a man from Illinois who did the same work at a show in the 1980s and thought: "I wonder if I can do that."
Bob Gutting, of rural Marshalltown, holds some of his morel mushroom wood art creations. Gutting has been making these types of pieces for decades as a hobby.
Photo by Andrew Potter
Now, Gutting makes several pieces a week and it's a nice retirement hobby for the rural Marshalltown resident which brings in money as well.
Being a morel hunter himself, he knows the culture around the mushroom.
"The people that hunt the mushroom, they are fanatical about it," Gutting said.
He admitted it took some trial and error before he got the pieces looking the way he wanted.
"My first work was terrible," Gutting said.
Gutting makes centerpiece displays, keychains, necklaces and earrings out of the wood in the shape of the morels. He sells them through word of mouth and at farmers markets and other vendor shows.
Gutting is no stranger to working with his hands as he retired from a career which was mostly spent working as a repair man. He uses all types of wood and was partial to pine previously, but that changed to maple when he had some downed maple trees from the July 2011 wind storm.
"I enjoy working with wood," Gutting said.
He calls his hobby Robalou Morel Crafts, which is a blending of his first name, Robert, with his wife's name, Marylou.
Marylou said she encourages her husband in this hobby and said it's fun to see what he can make.
"I support him 100 percent," she said. "I think he's really mastered the technique."
He also loves to talk morel hunting with others who share his passion.
"They are a challenge to find and there's a thrill of victory when you find them," Gutting said of the mushrooms.
Those interested in his work can call him at 641-752-6877 or email firstname.lastname@example.org