Every once in a while, I wade on in here and start talking about art. Today is one of those days. Those of you completely uninterested should probably go watch videos on youtube until you forget that I am a giant art nerd. To save your internet connections, I'll stick a jump-cut here. Click 'Read More' to read the rest of the post.
I thought we'd talk about gourd art; it's far less appreciated than it should be, and one of my favorite forms. Personally, I have a tough time relating to 3D work, but gourd art always gets me when well-done and either vibrantly colorful or really leaning on the natural colors that the original gourd came in.
It's a pretty ancient form of artwork, when you get down to it; the history goes back incredibly far in Africa, Asia, and Indigenous America. Maybe that's why I like it so much; my interests always tend to skew towards prehistoric, non-traditionally-European forms of artwork. If you ask about my absolute bare-bones favorite art in the entire world, I'll start showing you cave paintings.
But that's not what we're talking about today.
We're talkin' 'bout gourds.
another piece from Mary Hogue
The American Gourd Society is sort of the official national group for the U.S., with little splinter groups for nearly every state. I'm going to start by showing off a couple of artists local to the Upstate and Blue Ridge regions, and kind of branch out from there.
This is my favorite piece from the website of Country Craft Gourds, based in Greenville and is usually at the Farmer's Market on Saturdays. In fact, one of the reasons I most regret having to work Saturdays is not getting to wander past and look at these beautiful pieces of work all summer long!
Angie is really open to custom orders, which I always like to see. Plus she seems to give private lessons, which is making me very interested indeed.
When Jason and I went up to Bryson City last fall, I was planning a return visit before we were even all the way back in town. One big reason for that was a little art gallery and store right off their main street that held Sleepy Hollow Gourds.
The gourdwork here is just absolutely gorgeous.
I'm really drawn more to a little color but otherwise letting the gourd be itself and less the intricate and elaborate carving that you often see.
I'm having trouble tracking down the little gallery and I think it may have been closed since, which makes me very sad... but maybe there'll be somewhere else in Bryson City we'll be able to see Sleepy Hollow work and see what's changed.
Here's another regional artist; Debbie Skelly, and her site Gourdgeous Decor.
She's got quite a few pieces on her site that are colorful, but this matte black one actually stood out to me a little bit more. I like the feather detailing quite a bit.
Vincent Van Gourd doesn't really have any really good, large-size photos of their work online, but here's a smaller sample. They were one of my favorite parts of Artisphere this year. Their gourds were intensely colorful, in many of my favorite fall colors; burnt orange, deep purple, a dark almost hunter green.
I wish now that I had thought to take some photos so I'd have some to show you of the design work; incredibly intricate, intense colors, just really good stuff. Some of the best I've seen.
They travel from show to show, so you might check the website to see if they'll be anywhere near you anytime soon!
And, to finish up, a few examples off of etsy:
Easy black-and-tan, natural gourd color, twist on traditional step-pattern designs.
Obviously, I'm a fan of horses. I just like this unusual version in which he carved gourd like wood to make this neat equine idea.
The really intricate designs, like this leaf-and-stipple pattern, are usually managed with wood-burning techniques.
I really like the way she did the waxed linen thread around the top here, and the design is really nice. I like the shading techniques used quite a bit.
I'd like to end, if you don't mind, with something a little bit silly.
Because silly art is art, too.
I see this as absolutely perfect for sitting on a high shelf or dresser in a nursery or little kids' room. The top actually comes off, so you can keep things inside. Once the kiddo is older, if they're anything like me they'd love having a pseudo-secret place to stick all those interestingly-shaped rocks they're bringing home to wash in the kitchen sink.
Was I the only one that did that?
In any case, there you go; a few examples of what I feel is an under appreciated art form. Either you made it all the way to the last sentence, in which case you deserve a cookie, or you didn't... in which case you probably still deserve a cookie.