Potters and gourders

I’m presenting a program to the San Antonio Potters Guild tonight. It’s called Earthenware, Ornament, and Assemblage. While collecting photos photos of my clay pieces, I realized that working in earthenware has been part of my art practice for almost 50 years! These days it’s mostly face shard production and some small sculptural pieces, and I love exploring finishes for fired unglazed clay. Here’s one of the finishes I’m showing the potters tonight – it’s a wax-based custom metallic patina that starts with neutral shoe polish! I used it as a finish on the piece at the left and thought you might like to see how it’s done.

Kathleen Peet: "Diamonds on the soles of her shoes"

Kathleen Peet: “Diamonds on the soles of her shoes”

Just as I was working on my Potters Guild presentation, I got a message from Kathleen Peet, a mixed-media artist from Prineville, Oregon who uses my shard faces in her work. She works with gourds in a unique way – look at this gorgeous piece, left.

Kathleen has an Etsy shop called  Full Circle Art and you can contact her there to see the full scope of her creativity with gourds.

This is what she says about her passion: “When I started in 1996, gourds were a relatively new medium, especially in rural eastern Oregon. The most frequently asked questions were: “What are those?” and “Do you grow them?” Now, gourds are much better known, and some are recognized as ‘fine art’ rather than just craft. I have enjoyed taking this medium in many different directions, and just when I think I’ve tried everything, some new idea hits me. While still enjoying painting, spinning/weaving, ceramics and abalone jewelery….I always come back to gourds!”

Here are some photos of more of Kathleen’s work, including a look at her Oregon studio – thanks, Kathleen! Clay and gourds are a natural pairing!


Gourd art?

If you were a thirsty pioneer, you’d have a trusty dipper gourd to ladle up a drink of well water. But, dang, would you be surprised at the stuff I saw yesterday at the Texas Gourd Society‘s Exhibit in New Braunfels. Gourd skulls, gourd fish with swiveling scales, gourd Santa Clauses – many of these pieces were quite beautiful (well, maybe not the Santa Clauses – kinda creepy).

My favorites were the ones in which the artist incorporated natural materials like pine needles to accentuate the organic form of the gourds (pine needles were big this year, lots of bundles for sale). And it truth be known, I especially loved the plain ol’ unadorned gourds for their shapes, color and texture. I sat in on a gourd-growing lecture (“Anybody can grow a gourd, but not everybody can grow a good gourd”).  I made a quick video tour of the show for you guys, and if it makes you want to starting gourding, there are many good tutorials on You Tube by a gourd artist named Miriam Joy.