It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's not a Pumpkin!

These are three pieces of gourd art that I finished last year. I have a few blog friends that are interested in what a finished gourd looks like, so I picked these three because they represent the kind of work that I like to do.
The first one is a Kettle gourd that was stained with a brown leather dye, then I wiped it off as much as possible. I applied acrylic paints with a natural sponge, blotting quickly with different colors to give the gourd a stone look. After the finish was the way I liked it ,I waxed it with clear shoe polish. I made a bead necklace which I glued in place along with a sea shell, a stone, a piece of ocean weed and a "spirit"sign that I made with paper clay. I sold this piece in Amador City at the Wine and Art Festival.





















The second piece is a gourd purse, sometimes called a Ju ju purse. You can use any piece of gourd you have handy, but it should be fairly oval or round because you need to attach a piece of leather to the back of it. Part of that leather flaps over to become the top and closure on the front. I twisted the rough ends of the leather together before I added the embellishments.
I stained the gourd, attached the leather hide with a good strong glue , added a shell, some feathers, agates from Oregon and a leather string for a strap. I will be making more of these. They can be worn around the neck if they are small enough, like a spirit bag. This piece is still for sale.









The last one is a birdhouse. I love to make a gourd into something useful and a bird house is such fun to make because it's ...., "for the birds." Most gourd shapes are ok for a birdhouse. It's a matter of preference. I don't paint my birdhouses but you can. I've seen beautiful drawings, bright colors and really lovely art work on some birdhouses. It's a personal choice as any finish is for a gourd. I burned some cracks into this one and added some small stones for the birds to land on instead of small tree branch or stick. I have this in the flower pot just for the photo, but you would want to hang it safely away from cats and other predators .

Gourds are a wonderful way to express your creative soul . They're organic and the seeds are planted in the earth to grow a product that was the original bowl, plate, ladle, container and jewelry of early man.
You must pay attention to the spirit of each gourd.

The saying goes...., "Listen to the gourd and it will tell you what it wants to be." I like that.
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gettin' busy- gettin' motivated

Yesterday the gourd group met at the library and set up our annual display. We do this every year to let the community know what we do and who we are...., and to just plain show off. We have such fine artists in our club (Amador County Gourders) and we love to show folks what we do. Next Thursday we will have our monthly meeting at the library and anyone can join us, ask questions and find out what it is that all these crazy people do with gourds. We end up showing people that gourd art is fun , beautiful and profitable (well, sometimes). The display case looks really good. Everyone who contributed should be really pleased with it.

So, all of a sudden I realized that I was spending way too much time with the goats, the garden and the computer. With two shows coming up next month I had better get hoppin'. So here's my mess. These are the bit's and pieces of what will become pins, wall hangings, ornaments and gourds of a different color. I have two weeks before the first show : the Amador Artists Open Studios Art Tour on Sept. 20 & 21. For the first time ever, we have been invited to be a part of this tour. It's really exciting! But, in order for this to go well ,you have to have some finished gourds to display and that's what I need to do. ..., finish something.

Right now I have pieces of gourd, leather dyes, drills, sandpaper, my new mask (to keep the gourd dust at bay) and tons of embellishments. I have found the all time best scissors for cutting detail work. The Cutter Bee is great for small neat cutting. I have 3 pairs. I get mine at Wall Mart. They are the least expensive there. About $7.00, ( I'm guessing), and they have a safety cover. If you do any kind of scrapbooking, or paper work you have got to get a pair of these.

Ok! Got my gourd pieces, good idea books, glue, scraps and I'm motivated. Being motivated in your 60's is very important. It helps you keep moving and thinking: because after 60 you've got to put one foot in front of the other and get a little crazy. If you don't, the "powers that be" may think you don't want to be here anymore. I certainly don't want that to happen. I've got too many things to do first. Fair warning to all you "young'uns" out there. You've got time on your side, so if you have something you want to do. DO IT.

Well..., I'm going to start drilling and scraping the guts out of another gourd in the garage. Sounds kind of maniacal doesn't it? But it's fun! Ha,ha,ha,ah,ah! Want to join me? Halloween is just around the corner. Summer is almost over!!!!! Yes! Life is good and ..., Oh no, the chickens are heading for my garden. I've got to go and head them off at the pass. See you tomarrow......
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seeing into one's own nature.


Do you know what death looks like? Is it peaceful, beautiful, forgiving or tragic? Is it final or a part of some journey?
If we live long enough we get weathered and tired. Life takes parts of us, physically and emotionally. We should become wiser for all of this,but we don't. We could show someone our scars and wounds,but that only produces pity...., Oh look, she has holes in her skin. I feel so sorry for her."......
Where is that one part of me that holds on and doesn't let go? Can I find that warm, green place that says "Things will be all right.?" I think I have found where to look. It is the place that I always turn to when I am in need. I seek solitude and comfort in a place that is away from the speaking voices of man. Alone and surrounded by nature I find a clearer acceptance and understanding of things to come. It's where I find the silent voice of God.
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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Free range isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Oh no...., where are those chickens? Look what they've done! They haven't been out for more than an hour and look at this. We have forty two acres and they found the only part of the garden that isn't fenced. Give them a little freedom on a nice day and what happens...,
















..., this


Ah ha! Feathers! I've found proof. Clear evidence that this was an act of wanton destruction by chickens running amuck; whipped into a frenzy by a feeling of freedom and well ammended soil. All the signs are there.




I find all of them hiding under the tent trailer, looking innocent of any wrong doing. "You can't even look me in the eye, can you? Henny Penny, you're the only one who will look at me and you probably weren't even a part of all this. I want all of you to know that there will be consequences for this behavior. Napoleon, you better get these ladies under control or you and the gang will be spending the rest of the year in confinement. "Do you hear me?"
...., no answer, just a few whispered clucks.
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