Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish...

Recently I finished this Golden Trout gourd as a birthday gift for my brother-in-law commissioned by my sister-in-law. It started out with just a few fish and slowly kept breeding!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Using One's Gifts to Help

If you are ever in the mood for a touching and inspiring documentary, I highly recommend "Waste Land" (2010). It follows artist Vik Muniz as he travels to the largest garbage dump in Rio de Janeiro and meets some interesting "catadores" or pickers; the people who toil in the dump collecting recyclable materials.

As he meets these people you get involved in each of their stories. I was also intrigued by Muniz' creative process and how he went about creating these beautiful, large-scale, trash mosaic photographs. I probably shouldn't say any more...let's just say he uses his art to help each individual as well as the community of pickers.

I was telling my class of 7th graders about this film and you never really know what gets through to them (I have a 7th grader of my own at home), but when it came time for their school to do their annual pumpkin auction, many of the students couldn't wait to get their pumpkins and begin to decorate them. As a class we took one class period and each student was given a little gourd, a black Sharpie marker, black and white paint, some odds and ends and asked to create some type of unusual face.

It was a rather chaotic class but they came up with some great little faces which I placed on a wreath. Photos of some of the creative pumpkins can be seen in the OC Register. The great part about this auction is that the money earned will go to a homeless shelter and a college fund for two Nairobi students...everybody wins...and that's the greatest treat anyone could ask for at Halloween.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sparrows in Psyche

About a year ago I started making little gourd sparrows. I've never been a "bird" person, but it seems they have been in my awareness...maybe because I've been working outside more often and therefore have an opportunity to see them???

Maybe birds are "in" now as represented in this clip from a quirky new tv show called Portlandia.

Recently my family and I had the opportunity to help a baby bird who was hobbling along in a parking lot. Daughter #1 spotted it and daughter #2 immediately wanted to help. It was so tiny and didn't look very healthy, but I know sometimes the parents are close by so we continued on our way.

Well, we did end up bringing it home and a neighbor walked by who just happens to work at a veterinary hospital and she told us we could get baby bird formula which we promptly purchased at Petsmart. This took a little bit of effort but Birdie finally took the food with an eyedropper.

After a few days of emails and phone calls I was directed to Terry who rehabilitates house sparrows. We packed Birdie up in it's shredded paper nest and shoe box and got on the road!

It has been more than five weeks since we found Birdie and I am happy to report that she (yes, turns out she is a girl) is full grown, doing well, and is about to be released.

Daughter #2 and I had the opportunity to go visit her. Birdie still had that alert but calm sweetness to her. (Like I said before, I've never been a bird person, but this one is special!)

A huge bouquet of gratitude to Terry and all animal rescuers and rehabilitators--thank you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fantastic Festival!

This was my third and final Gourd Festival and with each experience I've met different people and learned little interesting tidbits of information just from short exchanges of dialogue. One thing that has been a constant is the incredibly supportive crowd that always leaves me with something, even if it's just a smile or a thumbs up.

This was not only a gourd show but a camping weekend for my family. We loaded up "Melvin" (our pop-up trailer) and despite having a list if things to bring, we failed to look at the list and forgot towels and my sleeping bag. Forgetting things always seems to happen, but the nice thing about camping was spending time with my family. I don't know if it was the change in scenery or the lack of electronic media, but we had a nice time reconnecting. I couldn't do this without the hard work of my "crew"; don't worry, they were compensated with food after the festival at a great pizza place called New York Pizza and Bagel in Corona.

Saturday morning people came in waves--lots of pictures--lots of questions and I sold the most pieces during this time frame including my Frida Mosaic. I was pretty surprised she went so quickly. I did feel a slight pang of sadness as I was wrapping her up, but I'm glad she will go to an admiring Frida fan like myself.

Former customers came by to say Hi and some bought a new piece. I spoke to familiar gourd faces I see from time to time at these events; Dean was walking around with a beautiful yucca didgeridoo--still can't believe how long of a breath he can take! I also had a special visit from my brother and sister-in-law and our friends who made the long and winding drive to say Hello.

Despite all of the packing and unpacking, forgetting things, constant smooth jazz on a loop, a zillion trips to the port-o-potties (#6 was my favorite!), and needing a good nap, it was ALL GOOD! The Welburn Gourd Festival has been kind to me and I will miss such a pleasant venue.

Below is a short little video taken by my daughter.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gourds in Strange Places

I recently saw an interesting exhibit called "Art in The Streets" at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Los Angeles). If I were a decade or two younger, male, and into spray paint, you probably wouldn't question me writing about this subject, however, I spied with my little eye...some gourds!

The artists are twins from Brazil called Os Gemeos (The Twins). This particular piece combined drums, electric guitars, speaker "heads", small boxed dioramas, and yes, gourd heads. I apologize for the quality of these pictures, but I was unable to use my flash. You can see better pictures on the Os Gemeos blog; scroll down to the May 3, 2011 entry.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Old Portraits/New Hairdos

Most days I am surrounded by gourds--don't get me wrong, they are a fun and crazy bunch, but it is nice to do something a little different.

I will be participating in Fullerton's Art Walk this Friday May 6th at Salon 138/40 Lashes. Since it is a hair salon I wanted to do something about hair and use these old school trays that have been gathering dust. I love portraits, so I decided to take some of my favorites and give them a hairstyle that they might have worn if living in a different era.

After centuries with her hair down, the Mona Lisa (painted by Leonardo da Vinci) might enjoy an updo.

Pablo Picasso was a genius in the art world and was still alive when the pompadour was around, but unfortunately he had already gone bald.

"Business in the front, party in the back." Vincent VanGogh was a brilliant but awkward painter who seemed to live between fits of madness and lucidity.

Frida was a rebel who did many shocking things in her lifetime and I think if she were living now, a mohawk would have suited her just fine!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Frida Kahlo, softball, and gourds--three seemingly unrelated topics, but on this brisk March evening at the top of the third inning, I begin to write this blog...and yes, I am watching my daughter's game, but there is a lot of down time.

I know am just one of the millions of Frida admirers out there in the universe. For me, the first time I saw one of her paintings it was her blunt visual honesty that slapped me in the artistic cheek and then her technical ability that slapped me on the other cheek--I was immediately hooked!

Through the years I have "borrowed" things from her work. Many moons ago I did a painting for my mom called They Live in Her Dreams that was inspired by Frida's Self-Portrait with Monkeys. I depicted my sleeping mother dreaming about her children in Mexico. (At the time she had just come home from volunteering in an orphanage in Queretero, Mexico and was missing her kids.)

The next "borrowed" item was from Frida's painting/collage called My Dress Hangs There. My painting is called My Bra Hangs Here and at the time I was thinking about where I was from (Colorado), where I had just lived (Guatemala), and where I was now (California).

Fast forward to the present day...I have been wanting to do something with the zillion gourd pieces that I just can't seem to throw away so I decided to attempt a Frida gourd mosaic. After many hours of cutting and gluing (including my own fingers) I completed Thinking About Gourds which is a light hearted twist on her serious painting entitled Thinking About Death.

Sidenote: My mom just returned from Mexico and sent me these pictures of the 500 peso bill that portrays Frida on one side and Diego on the other. Frida's influence just keeps going....