Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beading the Gourd and Knowing When to Stop.

Today was our monthly Gourd Meeting. Our vice-president Sylvia, who is now the President of the California Gourd Association, received a big chocolate cake to share with everyone. She is our # 1 Celebrity. We are so happy for her. We are hoping that she will still get to our meetings, every month, because she is going to be very busy taking care of all the "patches" in California.
Today Sylvia gave a workshop on beading. This is a time consuming technique that was done by the American Indians to decorate their gourds. You start by making a design around the gourd bowl or vase using precise measurements, then drill evenly spaced small holes where the sinew( string) will be connected to the gourd and strung with beads as you pull the string though, over and over, until you circle the bowl. Sylvia did a great job of showing all of us how to do this. I took more photos that I did stringing. Tomorrow I will show you more of the finished pieces that were on display.

This gourd is my "work in progress" Do you remember?..., The gourd that isn't talking to me. I've been very frustrated with it. I finally decided that I would just start doing something and maybe the gourd would finally do some talking.
These are three photos from the clean dried gourd on the left, to the leather dyed finish that I worked on two weeks ago, to the nightlight/vase that you see on the right side.
I decided to cut the top off and clean the interior, drill a hole in the bottom and glue a battery candle in it. Then I drilled and sanded three holes, on the surface, over which I put transparent sea glass, shells and agates. The light will shine through the holes and produce a glow at night. The vase can also hold dried flowers. I'm not done yet. There are more shells to attach and I may paint the inside which would only be for aesthetics. This vase will not hold water. I drilled the "pine needle" lines and added small shells at each tip to look like tiny pine cones.
When I show the unfinished piece to everyone today during our "gallery" time, they said it looked great and it looked.., "Done". I'm not so sure. It's hard to know when to stop. I tend to keep adding things and sometimes I end up taking things back off later. I'm pleased with the results so far but I'm not sure it's "finished". I will let it sit for awhile and see if it starts talking to me. I haven't given it a name yet, but I'm thinking about "Without Opinion", or "The Silent Shard"..., or "Pulling Teeth". I'm not so sure about this idea of the gourd telling you what it wants to be. This one surely didn't and it's been like pulling teeth trying to create a piece of art with it. Maybe I'm trying too hard. Maybe I'm not listening..., maybe this one is, perhaps..., "The Gourd Whisperer".

And for all of you who think that I'm taking this too seriously... One of the woman in our group brought this little guy to "gallery".
Not only did she make the head out of a gourd, but she also made the whole body out of fabric that she wove herself. Now that's what I call talented. Thought you would enjoy a bit of whimsy. Isn't he just the cutest? She said that she made it for her grandchild. Very cool.
Have a Gourdelicious Day!!
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  1. Wow! I wish we had something like that around here where I live! A few years ago we grew some gourds in the garden hoping to get some bird houses out of them but they didn't get big enough. We have painted them but that is all that we did with them. I can't wait to see what your gourd tells you it wants to be!

    ps ~ word verification

    Maybe it wants you to put string in it!

  2. Hmmmmm... I am thinking that I heard it whisper call me anything, but "Sue". I love your piece that you are working on. I tend to lean toward the simpler things in most all areas of my life. Your work of art is done from where I am looking at it. I love the idea of making a night light out of it and I think if you add more to it, you will be distracting from the glow of the light. I do think though that you need to continue to listen and see what you hear.

    Great big hugs to my Ellie Mae.

  3. a gourd club, sounds like a lot of fun. I wonder if we have anything like that here. I do live in an agricultural area so I'm going to check. Sorry the gourd isn't talking to you...too many secrets I guess! Love the beads, very pretty.

  4. It's simply lovely & looks done to me! I like the simplicity of it. Bet it will be really pretty with the light shining through.

  5. Connie, I think the gourd you are working on is coming along great. I will be anxious to see the finished project. The little gourd person is cute. Have a blessed day and weekend. Madeline

  6. Very nice! Painting gourds was all we knew to do with them some years ago - but now - well, just look at the creations! Lovely work!

  7. very educational post! love the little animal your friend made, too cute! your work is quite impressive.


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