Gourdy Mama

Livin the gourd life

Years ago I was in a choir with a pumpkin farmer. One night he brought some hardshell bushel gourds to choir practice. They were BIG! Bigger than pumpkins, they were hard, light, and moldy, with manure and hay stuck to them. He said, "Here, you're an artist. Do something with these."

I took the gourds home and threw them in the corner of the studio. They looked disgusting, and I wasn't inspired. Shortly after that I ran across a poster of vessels made by Robert Rivera, an artist from Santa Fe whose work I had always admired. I always thought his work was ceramic, but found out he used gourds. Gourds! I grabbed those big ugly things and started scraping off the muck to reveal the smooth, brown surface underneath. I soaked. I scrubbed. I sanded. When I saw the natural beauty of a clean gourd ready for painting, I was hooked.

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But that's not all I paint. I design cards and paint random pieces of wood I steal from my husband's workshop. Yes, I am a trash picker...well, I like to upcycle and repurpose. I pick up oyster shells on our daily dog walks and make necklaces, ornaments and even place cards for weddings. I make gifts, costumes, parade decorations. I am plagued by ideas! Look for some new Christmas cards in the coming months.

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