I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pyromaniacs Down on the Farm

Every year, in the summer, our gourd group is invited to have one of their meetings at Sylvia's Farm. We have a workshop and a potluck lunch and a whole lot of fun. We have a short business meeting on the porch and drool over Sylvia's house with all the antiques, wall to ceiling bookcases and the beautiful built in buffet filled with gourd art and old dishes.
Her garden is always so lovely and the weather perfect. It has never been too hot to be outside whether we're having a meeting, eating or working on the gourds. So far we have been lucky. Sacramento valley can be extremely hot in the summer. Yesterday was perfect.

We all shared our skills with a propane torch, a smaller (creme brulee) torch, and a heat gun. Some of us had learned this technique a couple of years ago and either showed others how to do it or perfected our own skills. We all had a good time lighting the gourds on fire, burning them and putting the burning embers out with our spray bottles of water. Later the gourds will be stained, embellish, and turned into a piece of art. The burning is a great effect and makes the gourd look very old. Usually this is done on a gourd that is broken or one that a critter got to when it was drying...and if a rat didn't help make the holes, you can make them yourself.
At our next meeting, I will take some pictures of the finished gourd art and post them on the blog.You'll be surprised how these burnt gourds transform into beautiful vases, bowls and containers of all kinds...even jewelry.  We had so much fun with the torches, but were very careful not to get anywhere near the dry grass around the farm. This project could turn into a disaster if you weren't careful. Sylvia and her husband have a perfect covered, concrete area in front of their workshop, with metal tables and running water. It's always a great place for us to "play with fire".

Then we ate...
Everyone brought the most delicious food and we feasted like kings and queens. I brought a dessert with...what else... ZUCCHINI. It was a lemon zucchini cake with pecans and a cream cheese, lemon zest frosting. Everyone like it and I used up two more of my prolific zucchini.
I love going down into the valley to Sylvia's place. It's so nice to know that ,not far from the booming metropolis of Sacramento, there is still a small farming community with people who grow their own food, raise animals, and have dogs that greet you like you're the most wonderful person they know. She and her husband have lived there for 35 years... raised their kids there and have no intention of moving and selling their farm. It's a place with too many memories to sell for a profit.... Two much love in the walls.
Thanks Sylvia. Again, we didn't burn down the barn and , again, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Tonight is the Amador City Wine, Art and Music Summer Social.I love this venue. It's only from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and very low keyed. (Could be all the wine.) Everyone seems to have a great time and if we sell something...all the better. Christie (a fellow gourd artist) and I will have a table set up with some of our gourds. If you're anywhere close to us , come by and visit.
This is an event sponsored by the Goldpan Merchants Assoc. and the Amador Whitney Museum. Wine tasting is $15. which includes a commemorative Amador City glass to take home and entitles guests to taste all the participating wineries. There's live music and lots of local artists. Should be a nice evening.

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  1. I can see that you had a wonderful get together on your friend's farm, creating gourd art. The burning technique gives pretty results.

  2. I do gourd art!!! I have never seen it done with a blow torch!!! WOW!!! Very cool! I want to eat those eggs!!!

  3. Well, I have to say that those gourds sure don't look like much at this stage... but I can't wait to see what they look like when they're finished!
    It sounds like you had a lovely day, (especially lovely that you didn't burn anything down!;) and I hope that the evening went well for you as well. Did you sell anything? I'll bet there were lots of ooohs and aaahs going on, anyway! And maybe a "hic" or two on your part too?

    I can't wait to finally see those finished gourds, and just between you and I.... 'patience' isn't my long suit.
    Just saying.;)

  4. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time. Sylvia's farm sounds like it is a great place.
    Will be looking forward to your posting of your qourd art. I enjoyed the photos of the meeting. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  5. Your gourd group sounds like heaps of fun. I don't know of anyone who makes them here, must ask around.

    I'm enjoying how you are facing the zucchini challenge.

    Hope you had a good time at the Wine, Art and Music Summer Social. Now that is something I would enjoy!

  6. I remember this from last year. I want to see all the gourd tricks!


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