Saturday, October 20, 2012

Show, Quail, and Cork

I will be carting my gourds to the Artistic License Fair in Costa Mesa next Friday and Saturday.  This is a new show for me and I am looking forward to seeing a variety of art and craft, talking "gourd" with people, and hopefully enjoying some pleasant Fall weather.  For more information please visit their website:

In addition to working on projects for this show, I have been creating a California Quail gourd that someone requested at a recent summer show.  I enjoy doing projects that I normally wouldn't choose myself because I like the challenge and I always learn new things.  I originally photographed him against a dark cloth but he looks so much better outside in the grass.

My third on-going project has been "assembling" a 3X3 cork bulletin board.  It started out as a wannabe magnetic board, but due to not recognizing the difference between metal and aluminum, and then trying to use a magnetic paint (don't even bother!), it has been transformed into a wine cork board!
As soon as I put the word out that I needed corks, they started to magically appear;  usually in baggies, sometimes in a brown paper bag on my doorstep, and sometimes in a box almost filled with them!  I still have a small section to complete (black area) but now that it is almost finished I am almost sad that it will be covered up with push pinned memos, to-do lists, and doodled ideas.

When I look at the corks I see my family and friends.  I see them enjoying a meal, having fun with their friends, getting together with their family, or celebrating a special occasion.   Some corks I know I can trace to certain family members or know who you are Kirkland wine drinkers!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Mosaic Summer

Last year a friend told me she envisioned a mosaic mirror above her fireplace and asked if I would be interested in creating a piece for her.  I thought it was a great idea and although I have had some experience with mosaics, the size was a little intimidating and the fact that it was for a friend also added some pressure.  (Would she still hang it up even if she didn't like it and cringe every time she passed it by?)

I started by taking pictures of her room, noting colors and other objects on the walls.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out a way to make it less heavy.  My husband even tried routing out some of the plywood so the mirror would sit snuggly inside, but that didn't seem to work.  I finally surrendered to the idea that it was going to weigh as much as an average third grader.  Now I could focus on the fun stuff:  I collected ceramic tiles, glass tiles, marbles, shells, watercolor paper and handmade papers--anything I thought would work.

I embellished the larger tiles with some torn paper and resin.  I also found that my nature-hoarding (seeds, pods, shells, etc.) came in handy.  After much inner debate, everything was arranged and glued securely on the plywood and then the dark sanded grout was applied followed by the slow process of wiping it away...done!

If I were to do this again I would do things differently (and probably faster!), but I appreciate this project for its structural and creative challenges and I know what I learned will show up on my gourd work!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Running of the Gourds" at Wuertz Farm's Annual Gourd Festival

This was my first gourd festival at Wuertz Farm in Casa Grande, Arizona, and even though I mostly sat and stood with the gourds rather than run, I enjoyed this fun and quirky show. Much like gourd people, the show was down to earth and a little kooky!

The festival was held at the Pinal County Fairgrounds and is about 10 miles from the city of Casa Grande. Lots of agriculture and cows and although it was sunny and pleasant during the day, the early mornings and evenings were rather cold. We camped right next to the event in our trusty pop-up trailer, "Melvin."

The festival started on Friday and became very crowded. Almost half of my gourds went off to new places. One piece in particular, Gourd Circus, was a little tough to let go of, but the new owners assured me it was going to a good home.

As I walked around the show I saw some familiar faces from the Welburn Gourd Festival like JC Nan and his wife from New Mexico who make Apache inspired dolls and ornaments. I also met Kristin Johnson and her husband from Kansas. She does intricate burning, or pyrography, and is also an art teacher like myself so we had a very nice chat. I was surprised to see a few vendors from Alabama. One couple from Lacey Springs, Alabama, hand trains gourds while they are growing to make knots and twists.

One of the nice things about the festival was the musical entertainment. We camped right next to a family that plays Bluegrass music. Thursday evening they were outside practicing and the music was so nice and calming after such an exhausting day of traveling, setting up camp, and setting up for the show.

This family band is called Just 4 Mama. Really fun and happy music and a super nice family to boot!

I met Tony Redhouse and caught his inspiring and peaceful show. I just happened to take my break and heard him talking about letting go of expectations and that's exactly what I needed to hear because, for me, Saturday's sales slowed down to a pace of molasses on crutches. (Don't feel bad for me--Friday and Sunday made up for it!)

Even though it was quite an effort to get it all together and get out of the house, I'm glad I came! It was interesting talkin' gourd with other vendors and the folks who wandered into my space were very kind and supportive. I met many a snow bird, some locals, and a few that were being introduced to gourds for the first time.

It was also very enjoyable having quiet dinners with my husband (my roadie) and just getting out of the normal routine of daily life. Back at home my girls were enjoying some freedom and spending time with their grandma so everyone was a winner!

As we packed up and started to head home, I was finally able to relax and enjoy the Saguaro-spotted landscape. We stopped at Silly Al's Pizza in Quartzsite and had the best veggie pizza and were able to catch the last ten minutes of the Superbowl.

Thank you Wuertz Farm for a worthwhile and unique experience!