It’s often a year-long process of cultivating, curing, and cleaning a gourd before I match its shape and natural patterns with my chosen design. My choice of patterns often comes from a deep respect and appreciation for other cultures, countries, and art forms. I am inspired by African mud-cloth patterns, Peruvian story gourds, Native American patterns, and botanicals. I love and often use the current Zentangle method and appreciate the joy of “freestyle ” that this recent craze allows. After burning the pattern into the gourd (pyrography), I paint it with translucent ink dyes or more opaque acrylics. I often carve elements and use products such as Inlace to enhance my designs. The finishing touches are an eclectic mix of found objects and what nature provides (pine needles, antlers, pine cones, pods, etc). I completed a degree in Fine Art in 1980 and life quickly distracted me from the continued growth of my creative side. 15 or so years ago, I grew several hundred (Gourds Gone Wild!) gourds on our farm, as a bit of an experiment. They dried and I found them fascinating but didn’t know what to do with them. I bought a book on gourd art, and “the rest is history!” I’ve since taken multiple technique classes in California and Arizona and continue to learn from tutorials and FB groups and personal trial and error. Art satisfies the creative side of me and provides that balance to work and responsibility I think we all need and seek.
For me, the gourd “is not merely the medium that I use, but a genuine co-creator of the finished product. Working with organic material such as gourds is a relational experience that is extremely important to what I do and how I create.”