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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gourd art with Dremels and Other Dilemmas of Life

I hosted our SCAT art group at my house on Wednesday and because of some wonderful quirk of nature, the weather cooperated by being cooler than usual. This was a nice change in the weather and fortunate, because we had to work on our project outside. It was still very warm but not into the 100's like the week before.
My friend, Mary Jane, did a mini workshop on using a Dremel drill to decorate the outside of a gourd.
She showed us a beautiful example of what we needed to work toward.

And explained, in detail, how to achieve this affect using the right drill bits. How we would cut the curves into the gourd and remove the brown outside layer, leaving just the right amount to "shade the edges.
In theory, I understood what she was telling us and some of us caught on really fast. Some of us are very good at this sort of thing. Some of us had already started on this project ahead of time.
Me?... not so much.
Wait! I'm not finished yet. Staying on a curved line with a tool that moves clockwise, when you're left handed and want to go to the LEFT, is hard. I used a broken piece of gourd because I wanted to practice. Kind of looks like Freddie Kruger's scratch marks in Nightmare on Elm Street doesn't it?
Mary Jane was so kind. She helped all of us and tried to show me what I was, obviously, doing wrong.
We all worked diligently. The afternoon got quite a bit warmer.
We wore our masks when drilling. Gourd dust is notorious for creating chaos in the lungs, so you always want to wear some kind of mask while your working on one.
It was getting quite warm in the sun so everyone was trying to sit closer to the house, in the shade... except for the "redhead". She was trying for a suntan, like me. Some of us always try. I've been trying since I was in junior high school. You'd think that I would learn.
Red was doing a great job with the "curves". So, I kept working on my piece of artwork and even thought Mary Jane presented us with another gourd to inspire...
I never quite got it. This is how it looked right before I said something like, " I'm going to take a break and do what I know how to do."  Under my mask I was sweating and swearing to myself.
Just remember that in showing all of you this, I'm pouring out my insecurities and laying them on the table. Please do not comment on the quality of this gourd piece. It's hard to admit that carving is not "my thing", but it obviously isn't.

I brought more ice tea and water out to everyone, got my camera and did MY thing. Then we moved inside for dessert and drinks with lots of ice in them. We sat and enjoyed each others company. This is such a wonderful group of woman. I'm glad I know all of them.
They weren't allowed to leave until they took some tomatoes and I offered them some hollyhock seeds to go. I've been drying all the seeds and I have A LOT. Only three people took me up on my offer to send hollyhock seeds to them. The will each receive enough for their whole neighborhood shortly.

That night I came back from my walk and stayed out in the garden until after dark. I shot this photo of a French marigold just before dark with my new Speedlight flash and diffuser.
Then, when it got really dark, I took a flashlight and back lit the same marigold, without a flash, and got this shot.
And then the moon...
which will be full in three days. It's the first time I had EVER gotten detail on the moon surface. I'm so pleased. It's not tack sharp but I'll work on this until I get a good one. I want to work on the back lighting because the photography forum, that I joined, is having a contest using the technique called Contre-jour. This means "into the light". You can read about it here. I can't wait to work on this process and see what I can do with it. 
I think I was over compensating for my gourd drilling failure...staying outside in the dark... trying to do something amazing and creative, but the bottom line is that you can't be good at everything. Life is short... you have to pick your battles and your artistic endeavors.
I can loose time (and myself) when I'm walking around with my camera. I realize that photography truly is a passion and I can only say that about a few efforts in my life. Like raising children, gardening and writing stories, photography takes dedication and a willingness to swallow your ego, love what your doing and fertilizing your brain with information about the subject.  These special things in my life were and are a challenge, a learning process and  most of all they need PASSION.
 Next month we are going to do some felting at our SCAT meeting. I CAN DO FELTING. I can felt my little heart out. My confidence is back all ready, just thinking about it.


  1. That does NOT look easy at all, and I am right handed :->

  2. smiles...good job trying new things...and i imagine with practice you will get better...if you want and if not its all behind you now...smiles...it is a cool art but i would probably have a hard time with that too...

  3. Your photos are magnificent. The gourds are very nice and different. We can not do everything like you said, so stick to what you know best. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  4. What you can do to make a gourd an artistic beauty! Very cool. So what if it's not "your thing," you do have many other things you are very good at. Your photographs are fantastic. Love the effects on the flowers. And the moon. Wow. I'm impressed with the surface detail too. Well done. And have fun! I'm really looking forward to the meeting dedicated to felting, and I hope you post pictures of that.

  5. I loved your instructors work it's beautiful. You are courageous to attempt this for me, I will stick to quilting!


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