Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Had A Dream and Vision

I became a gourd artist by accident.  I went to a little show in Yellow Springs and saw gourds sitting on shelves and immediately fell in love.  My eyes took in the brown earthy color that reminds me of wood or leather, both rich and warm in color.  To touch them filled another sense, I love to touch things, these gourds were smooth and their curves were graceful and unique.  To hold them was a surprise, they are light and seem fragile.  But they are very hard and if they have a thickness at all, very hard to break! The other sense that attracted me was their smell.  Not everyone goes around smelling gourds, it is part of becoming familiar with an object.  If it smelled unpleasant, you'd probably not want to pursue art projects with them.  I also found the sound of them very wonderful, when digging through a box of little ornamental gourds, they are music to my ears.  I have made rattles to capture that sound for others to enjoy too.

I knew I had to try my hand at gourd work.  When I found some dry moldy gourds at the Ohio Gourd Show in 1998, I eagerly purchased them and came home to work on them.  First a good cleaning is necessary.  They spend several months drying and the mold on a gourd is part of the process when drying.  Not easy or fun cleaning gourds, I promise you that!  Especially if you have several big trash bags full of them, all waiting to be cleaned.  Once they are clean on the outside, then they need to be opened.  As you may know, when you start a new venture, you don't always have the proper tools.  Hard to invest money in tools if you don't know you'll like the project long term.  Opening my first gourds was primitive at best.  I finally ordered a wonderful little hand held jig-saw tool that is electric!  The best investment ever!   My other favorite tool is the dreimal tool, playing with different burrs and learning the best way to utilize this tool is entirely up to the person using the tool.  You just have to experiment.  I was happy making wonderful vessels, the mess it was creating in the house was too much.  I had to pick nice days and work outside when cutting open and cleaning the insides and carving with the dreimal tool.  Dusty and dirty work.

One day in the early spring, my wonderful husband, Richard, decided we had to do major repairs on our barn.  The rafters were sagging, the metal was leaking and the doors were hard to close.  It was decided that when we made the repairs we would make a part of the barn my workshop.  On the front of this work shop he decided to put a porch.  It was a transformation that amazed me.  My workshop was insulated, the ceiling was reinforced to allow for storage space above it and the porch was the biggest surprise!  The porch was almost as big as my work shop.  The porch measuring in at 15x40, my work shop 20x40!  WOW!  I couldn't wait for it to be finished.  We also made a mouse proof room to store gourds awaiting artistic inspiration!

You surely know that men and women have different pictures inside their heads about barn spaces.  I pictured a work table, storage for all my "crafting" stuff, and also a little wicker type table and two comfy chairs for company and coffee.  Sitting there chatting, being surrounded in all the things I love, art, gourds, books, music and friends!

Richard's picture was totally different.  He envisioned a wood working shop, so he could "build" things.  He also talked me into a garage door, which I will say now, was an excellent idea!  However, the "need" for the garage door for him was so he could pull a tractor inside (right where my comfy chairs were suppose to sit) and take a tractor apart for repairs if necessary!  Richard and I are both collectors of tools, so he also intended on putting tools inside my work shop, just for storage if nothing else.  In case some day he decided he would actually use these tools.  So today we still have a drill press, a table saw on wheels and a work bench for working on wood projects.  The saw and drill press are stuffed back in the farthest corner and covered with other boxes and stashed items that are rarely used..  Instead of wood projects on the work benches, he uses it for a loading bench. 

A tractor has NEVER crossed the thrush hold of this space!  What... have oil spots on the floor?  Not going to get my area rugs dirty.  There is no table and comfy chairs either.  There is a big pow wow drum there however.  There are chairs and stools for anyone who want to come to drum or to sit and  play flutes or work on a project with me.  The work space is now called the Wild Gourd Studio, there are gourds, paintings and cards that fill the space! There are books for reference, the music weaves it's web around the other unseen places of the studio, filling my ears with sweet songs coming from the Native American style flute.  Art is what the space is used for and I wish the space was bigger!  I have started the Massie Creek Flute Circle, we also meet in the studio.

Seven years ago I told Richard, "I think I'd like to host an Open House."  He said, "Why?  Who would come out here to buy gourds?"  We were both a little shocked at the friends and visitors that came to my first Studio Open House.  A few years into the open house's, I'd done too many shows.  I was tired and ready to stop, I told Richard that I wasn't going to have an open house that year.  He said, "What?  You can't NOT have your open house!"  And so it is a tradition to have an annual open house in my wonderful studio.  It has become a yearly party, visiting with long time friends, greeting new fans of gourd art and I even sell some gourds.......  I am the luckiest girl in the world!  As the saying goes, "build it and they will come."  I had a dream and vision..................


  1. cynthia, we had such wonderful time today! Thank you for opening your studio and sharing your gifts and treasures! I love the feeling of warmth and coziness in your studio. I think I will have to come back!
    Hope your weekend was very successful!
    much love, jen

  2. Had a fine time visiting during the final hours of your open house! I am always impressed by the amount and quality of your work. Thanks for the fine pizza, the ride in the vintage ford truck, and the ceremonial pasture campfire by the teepee!