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

Monday, February 25, 2013

Taste of the Arts

Saturday I spent the day helping the Art Council with their yearly "Taste of the Arts" workshops. This is my third year being a part of this creative day.
We always have a good time but it's a lot of work for our fearless leader Christie.  She is the "teacher" and Mary Jane (who is a gourd artist and who I pick blackberries with in the summer) and I are her humble assistants.This year we taught three classes with 15 adults and high school students in each class.

We started with a lot of clean dry gourds.
The students pick one that they like. Christie introduces us and  talks about where gourds come from, how they grow and what we will do with them.
Then the fun begins...
They take a look at the finished gourds we bring (our own) to show what can be done with practice and many different kinds of techniques.

We show them the paint, glue, scissors, beads, feathers, glue guns, and all the embellishments that they will have available to decorate the gourd.
Then we let them be as creative as they want to be. It's so fun to see what they do. I'm convinced that everyone has a creative streak in them.
Some begin cautiously, start slowly and then get into it.

And some jump right into it.
Eventually we find that each person creates their own unique piece of art.
We guide, answer questions, help with the glue guns or hold a gourd steady while they glue something in place. It's so interesting to see how amazingly creative all of these folks can be.

These are some of the finished gourds.
 The beautiful gift from the sea.

 The charming beaded bird house.

This gourd basket, bought at a thrift store, was brought to the class to be "repurposed" and decorated for this lady's collection of crystals and stones.

One person wanted to make a gourd instrument or facsimile with a long gourd, shells and string. It was beautiful when she finished.

We set out some rabbit skins... which were more popular than we had imagined. By the final class, the supply was almost depleted and it looked like a bear attack on the sink..
This man, who came with his whole family, created a wonderful creature using the fur for its hair and a white mustache as well. He and his son had a great time working together on these gourd heads. The fur was flying.

This gourd was my personal favorite. I love a more natural look using nature's embellishments.  It also happen to be a gourd that I had in my living room for a long time. I had a personal attachment to it. The artist did it proud. I was so happy to see what the gourd finally decided to "become." In all the time that it sat in my house, it never told me what it wanted to be but, obviously, it told this lady everything.
There is an old adage in gourd art. It says that the gourd will tell you what it wants to be. This one waited, found the right person and look what happen.
 I'm a little sad that it didn't do this for me, but this woman was so happy with what she created that I felt it was meant to be for her... and the fulfilled gourd.
I think I better start listening more closely to some of the gourds that I have laying around the house.

We thought that all of the gourds were creative and wonderful, but this was our Best of Show...
It went, in our opinion, to a 16 year old with a flair for the Gothic, lord of the darkside ... "with a twist".  He said that the birds were for balance within the split personality. After he was finished, he decided this small gourd "being" needed a hat so he created "Le chapeau" out of two shells. He had a vision and wasn't afraid to express it.
When do we loose this ability to express ourselves so uniquely? When do we lose the ability to be unchecked and free with ideas and creativity? Society and our upbringing tend to put constraints on liberal, (I'm talking about being creative in thought here, not politics.) and original inventiveness. What an injustice we do to creative youngsters. Maybe children (and the resulting adult) would be happier if they were allowed more freedom of observation and creative expression and less of being given established, "safe" choices. Enough Farmlady?
 This young man was so happy about his "creation". Others might not understand his concept, but he did. It was his expression of his ideas.
Someone gave this boy a gift from the start. A gift of being creativity without   "a reason" or "a purpose"... or an in depth explanation of its value. I admire that kind of parenting in some ways. It's a fine line between giving a child some freedom of thought and expression and still maintaining some boundaries.
His gourd art is different... creative... inventive and his own.The ears are buttons. The fur is dyed  rabbit. We thought that this was the most creative gourd art for the day. This young man was really pleased with his work.

I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

We had a very creative time.


  1. oh your best in show is amazing...and so is the gift of the sea as well...what awesome art...

  2. what fun
    I wonder what I would have come up with
    nix the rabbit fur....
    I don't do fur

  3. When I see gourds, I am always thinking of the wonderful things that can be created with them- This post was proof!

    Thanks for sharing all this creativity with us.


  4. Good Gourd ... it is amazing how versatile veggies have become? Um a vegetable that is botanically a fruit ! ;)

  5. What amazing creative people. All the gourds are fantastic. I loved them all. Have a blessed day and continue with your helping people create such lovely things. Thanks for visiting my blog. Madeline

  6. I agree that everyone has a creative side that they only have to listen to and tune into, like you said but some of it is definitely nurture. There's nothing more rewarding than watching a child in the dreamy state of creating!
    Tell you what...I'll trade you a ramble on the beaches here for a gourd workshop there one day o.k?


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