Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Friday, February 26, 2010

Strange Things

I love my tipi lodge, anyone who knows me also knows that fact.  The first year we put the tipi up in our horse pasture, it attracted a lot of attention.  People would stop along the road and take pictures, I aways wondered why they didn't drive in and find out more about the tipi and why it sits in my horse pasture.

My wonderful husband and I talked many years ago about getting a tipi.  Time passed and this particular summer when I realized I was not taking a vacation, nor had I the summer before.  I thought it might be a way to bring my vacation to me.  Then I could go to the tipi for some quiet time, any time I wanted.  It is wonderful on a summer afternoon, my three dogs and I, to go to the tipi and meditate, relax and get away from everything.

One summer day, the dogs and I went out very late in the day, it was almost 4 PM.  I knew my wonderful husband would be home soon and would probably expect some supper.  As most often happens, I fell soundly asleep and the dogs napped nearby. I'd been asleep for about an hour.  I was laying on my stomach, my arms above the pillow and felt someone had come inside the tipi.  My mind thought it should be Richard, my wonderful husband.  Try as I may, I could not open my eyes.  I tried to move my arms and they would not move.  My mind thought I might be in real trouble with my back, laying like this for too long, it would certainly make me stiff and unable to move.  I also thought I should say something, but could not and then I felt a hand touch me.  I knew it must be Richard reaching down to wake me up.   The hand pressed my lower back firmly and did not shake me, as if to awaken me.  The pressure stayed for some time, still I cannot open my eyes, move my arms or speak.  There was no noise, the dogs did not move or greet the visitor. 

After a minute or so of this firm pressure, it was released.........  I could open my eyes, move my arms and I sat up quickly to say something to Richard.  The dogs continued their nap and Richard was not there.  No one was there..........    I got up and went outside, no one there.  I looked toward the barn and Richard had not gotten home yet. 

I have no answer to "who" came to me inside the tipi and touched me.  I felt fine, I had no fear.  But I'm sure I had a "visitor" that summer afternoon.

The picture above was taken by my daughter on a night of the full moon.  She had walked away from the tipi and I was sitting in a chair near the opening of the tipi lodge.  Emily was using a 35mm camera and I remember her being upset when the flash didn't go off.  When I had the pictures developed, I was pretty stunned at the light in the picture.  There was reflection of the four-wheelers headlights, the lights were not on, same with a flashlight sitting on the ground next to the chair.  It was not on either.   Both look like they are turned on, maybe it was a reflection from the full moon, but we didn't see it while we sat outside the lodge.  I have no explanation of this purple and blue light with a cylinder of light in the middle.

Strange and amazing things have happened at the tipi.   In another blog I will share another story that may be even more spooky than these two stories. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Best Horse Friend

Yesterday the veterinarian came out to check my horse.  Bones, his barn name, is a registered Arabian.  He seems to be having some problem with his back feet.  I feared founder, the vet confirmed it and he is on medications to ease the pain and inflammation.  There is sometimes no reason for founder.  Often it is brought on by feeding issues.  His feed has not changed, but he and his buddy have had less exercise this winter than usual, due to the deep snow.  We'll just have to see how it goes day to day.

He came by his name as a bit of a joke and unfortunately it stuck.  This horse was purchased and trailered from California to our barn by a friend.  At the time I was riding a big boned Appaloosa and she had gotten the nickname "Moose".  So named by the same friend that brought Bones home to Ohio.  That might indicate what she looked like going out on trail with all those light stepping Arabian horses.

When the trailer pulled into our little farm where this new California horse was to live and train for endurance riding, everything stopped.  We all wanted to see this new Endurance horse!  The owner unloaded him and he was skin and bones.  I am sure the five day trip across the United States didn't help help is looks, I nicknamed him Bones on the spot.  His real name was Lamar's Addan.  Arab names are often not a name you will call the horse at the barn in real life.

The owner of this horse came out to ride and condition him, his plan was to get him ready as quickly as possible for the fall ride season.  Before Bones came to Ohio, the ranch he came from thought they would start conditioning him for his new Ohio owner.  They got on him and ran him on a course around a "lake" and called it conditioning.  They had no experience with endurance horses and didn't adjust his feed accordingly.  So I felt when he arrived here he was undernourished to start.  I have found in years of horse work, you always make changes gradually, with training and feeding.

On one training ride on a flat freshly harvested bean field, in a dead out run the horse took a fall with his new owner.  The owner was taken to the hospital with a broken collar bone.  He never trusted the horse again and the horse was as fearful of humans.  When you got on him, he only knew to run.............  The owner of this horse then ask me to start riding him, to keep his "condition" up.  The horse terrified me because he only wanted to run.  He was fast and out of control.  We had several mishaps as well and I felt he needed someone to teach him the basics, WALK, TROT and CANTER in control.   Off he went to a trainer.

After much time at a trainers he came back to our little farm.  The owner of Bones ask me to continue to ride him, so he doesn't forget his training.  I spent weeks just walking him, keeping his need for speed in check.  If you have ever been on a run away horse, it can be terrifying!  It matters not how much you pull on those reins, the only chance you have is pulling his head around, making him turn, eventually he'll slow down.  If you can't do that, you'd better be ready to jump, because in our part of the world, a fence-line is looming ahead!  My daughter would ride with me and when we finally began to trot, she said, "I didn't think we'd ever trot again Mom."   Even she knew how slow we had to take this process. 

Bones was one of the most fearful horses I ever rode.  It didn't take much to send him into flight.  Taking off your coat, moving a branch from smacking you in the face, using a sponge on a rope in the water...... oh, I could go on and on.  I'm sure my friends could throw in a few thoughts about his fears too.

Bones and I at some point came to an agreement, I would trust him if he would trust me.  It was interesting, when this happened, we both were much less tense, we learned to breath a little.  I had a friend tell me once, "A horse doesn't want to do anything to hurt himself, so trust in that."   Good advise and I used it on other horses I had reason to ride that I didn't know.  It was a mental decision and it is good advise, I used that with this horse all the time. 

Bones' real owner could never ride him again, he was too fearful.  You don't ride a horse in fear, it will only cause more problems.  So Bones became my horse to ride. We became a team, we knew what made each other tick, we spent many hours going down trails.  He logged over two thousand miles with the Distance Riding Program.  Those were official competitive and endurance miles.  It didn't count the training miles or the pleasure miles.

  Now I'm wondering why I nicknamed him Bones......   He gained the weight back he needed to not only look good but to travel the trail.  People would look at me and him when I called him by name, it just wasn't a proper name for a pretty gray Arab.  That could be about the time I decided to give all our our horses more earthy names.  Feasty, our big boned gray Anglo-Arab became Thunder Cloud.  You could hear him running to the barn, his feet thundered across the ground!  I named our cute little bay Arab, Eagle-Chicken.  He to this day is the one that snorts and struts around when something is amiss, but if you ask him to check it out, he is afraid and wants nothing to do with it!  Trudy was our only mare, we called her Lightening Legs.   It's not that she was as fast as the Arabs, she was the Quarter Horse, she just traveled really well and her legs were always nice and clean.  Then it came to Bones, I named him "Runs with Wind", he was fast and loved to run.  The wind was always whipping our faces.  My dear riding partner and friend thought it was because he had gas..........
Bones has been retired for the last ten years, he will be 28 years old next month.  I think he will have more good retired years in our horse pasture.  He and I are both looking forward to warm spring sunshine on our backs. 

Pictures:   Upper left, Bones and Knipper
                middle right, Bones
                bottom left, Cait and Knipper, Lizzy and Bones and dog Jessie

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring is Coming, Spring is Coming

I am Springs biggest fan!  I think it might have something to do with being born in March.  I can feel changes coming.  They are usually so small when people hear me mention spring and there is twelve inches of snow on the ground, they think I'm living in a another world.  I find myself waking up earlier in the morning, something in me knows it is already getting daylight.   I cover my head and pretend I'm in the middle of dream time, I want to go back.  I doesn't happen, I cannot lay there longer, I must get up.

I can feel the difference in the air.  It isn't necessarily warmer and yet something has changed.  There are other signs that I immediately see, all because I am watching what nature is doing to make the shift.   I've recorded them for years and every year I'll post what I have just noticed to my friends.  Every year it's the same information, the same as last year and the year before that.

One of the very first signs comes from the birds.  Their songs change.  Did you know bird songs change with each season?   In the spring the songs become more cheerful, bouncy somehow.   It is like when we are talking in a more excited way, more cheerfully, more joyful.  Birds do the same thing.  I have also seen the Canada Geese flying, "Oh", you are saying, "I've seen them all winter!"  Now if you look, they are flying in pairs!  A sure sign of spring for me.  I also noticed mallard ducks flying and paired off near the Great Miami River looking for nesting sites.  Did you know the owls have already laid their eggs and are incubating them?  Soon you'll start noticing the Red tailed Hawks pairing up.   I have recently learned that the Great Horned Owl will often use last years Red tailed Hawk nest.  When the  baby owls have fledged it is time for the hawks to come back to their nest and will lay their eggs in the nest the owls recently vacated!  Interesting how nature works in such a cooperative manner.  Lessons here......

In a few weeks we'll be seeing flocks of robins. When I hear a familiar sound from the horse pasture, I still have to look to be sure and then behold, I see the red-winged blackbirds! Oh my gosh, I'm getting excited just thinking how close all of this really is.

Other signs I notice, are smaller, I watch the plant life change.  My barrels of sweet grass start emerging green sprouts.  I look hopefully at the pussy willows, are they changing, growing and ready to bud?  I know where water cress is growing green in a water way nearby.   Other plant life is also pushing up, the snowdrops start to bloom even when snow is on the ground.  The ground gets soft and squishy making everything at the barn muddy and difficult.

The sun is warmer, the days are longer and I celebrate the changes!  Allow yourself to drink up the sunshine, appreciate the gifts offered.  Take some time to notice, respect and be grateful for every stage of our seasons.  Every season is important in the grand plan!  I will continue to enjoy the snow covered farm fields. As the snow melts off winter wheat fields they turn the most wonderful green!  It's been growing all along, under all that snow.  I love walking out the back door and being blasted by cold, fresh air.  I remember it is still February. 

March is only days away, my Birthday month.   Another year has rushed by for me.  I hope I have taken time to enjoy each day and each moment this last year.  It gets easier, I become a little wiser each year while on this earth journey.   Spring blessings everyone!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Danger Among the Birds

Today I walked out of my house, heading to the studio.  It isn't far to walk down the sidewalk from our house to the barn where my studio awaits.  Outside my back door hang my bird feeders.  I have a big ole gourd with three big circles cut out and black oil sunflower seeds inside.  I have a nice wire feeder that also holds black oil sunflower seeds, a bag of thistle seed and a wire cage for suet.  The birds fly off when I come out the door with my three dogs.  I hear them all chattering in the pine trees, in the tangled trumpet vine that climbs the arbor and in the branches of the old maple trees. 

We have had lots of birds coming to the feeders.  I watch them every morning while I have coffee and breakfast.  They make a lot of noise as they talk to their neighbor at the feeder.  I hear the nuthatch with it's throaty chirp, the cardinals tweeting to their mates and the joyful sound of the finches.  It is a busy little community of birds that share the feeders with very few spats between them.  Of course, when the big Blue-jay comes in, most birds give him room, he collects seeds and then goes elsewhere to eat them, then the little birds resume their meals.

After filling the feeders, the dogs and I head to the studio.  We get in the studio and are greeted by the cats, Punkin' Patch and Spirit Kitty (the Queen).  Depending on the moment they will want out now or in five minutes, or as soon as I sit down to do some serious work.  I turn up the heat and turn on the music, it is most often Native American Flute, by some of my favorite musicians.  I usually have a plan for the day before I start my work, it could be gourds, painting a canvas with acrylics or even making a piece of jewelery. Today I dive into the project I wrote about in Meandering Artist.  I am working and hearing the birds chattering, it sounds like a chorus of hundreds outside.  I even look once to see if we've been invaded by all the neighbors birds, but all was normal.   I go back to work.

At some point I realize that one of the birds is squawking outside.  I puzzle this sound, what bird is it?  I don't immediately recognize bird's songs, it is a challenge for me to carry their sounds in my brain.  I can carry many things, colors, conversations, where to find the best buy for beads and such, I just can't carry a tune........   Okay, back to the squawking bird.   I decide to get up and go out on the porch and see what is going on.  The dogs are upset that they can't come out too, I don't want to disturb whatever is happening.  I notice there are no birds at the feeders.  Then I see the squawking bird, the one alerting all the others to trouble.  It is the Blue-jay and he is in the tangled naked branches of the trumpet vine.  With just another moment of observation I see the reason.  A Coopers Hawk has come visiting.  He is sitting on a fence post over by the pine trees, he is hoping for a little lunch himself, but not of black oil sunflower seeds.  Coopers Hawks will catch and eat other birds.  I've seen an air persuit once while riding my horse in the woods.  Another time I watch a red-winged black bird become a meal right under a pine tree in the front yard.  All that he left was the feet and some feathers....

I watch him fly into the pine trees, maneuvering from branch to branch, he is chasing a female cardinal.  My instinct is to chase him off.  My understanding of nature knows that I should leave well enough alone.  The hawk is hungry and I love the hawk as much as the cardinal.  I watch both move through the pines and it isn't long before the cardinal escapes.  The Coopers Hawk didn't find his meal in my back yard.  Soon all the chatter resumes at the feeders and all is well between the house and studio.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Meandering Artist

Maybe you have figured out from my blogs, just how much my thoughts meander.  It is not the only thing that meanders, my life as an artist is also meandering.  I am a gourd artist, first and foremost.  I love being in the gourd studio, working, not always on gourds.  I just happened to pick up a magazine last week, Cloth, Paper, Scissors.  It is one of those magazines that sometimes calls my name, after all, I do have lots of cloth, I used to sew.  I horde scraps of paper so small, I wonder if a mouse is in the drawer with my papers.  And no artist worth his salt doesn't have scissors, I have scissors that are "fabric only", little ones for cutting threads, Teflon scissors that sticky stuff isn't suppose to stick to (it still sticks), I have scissors that are to cut leather, paper, and a pair that cuts the dogs hair.  I also have rotary cutters and a big paper cutter and little circle cutters.  Excuse me, I am meandering again...........

The magazine has wonderful, amazing and clever ideas to tempt my imagination!  The one that jumped out at me sounded easy and creative enough.  I only need a few more supplies!  None of the supplies require were scissors of course, so I must look for a few other things.  The first is old National Geographic magazines.  I didn't have any, but my chiropractor was happy to share his stash.  Then I needed a product to dissolve the ink on the pages of the magazine.  Citra Solv* concentrate can be found at health food stores.  It has a very orange smell and after the first day of painting pages I didn't think I'll ever get rid of that smell in my nostrils.  When the pages dried then it came time to play with more Citra Solv* to move the ink around on the page and create something that came from a hidden design on an ink smeared page from the National Geographic!  I also needed a few colored pens to enhance my designs.  It turned out to be great fun and I managed to wile away hours and hours this week in the gourd studio. 

The results are interesting, most of them are keepers.  Richard is my judge, if he looks at the picture I hold up and has a puzzled look on his face, I know that I must keep pushing ink around so he can eventually see what I see.  It has been a good way to spend a cold week in February.  Plus, I have a new skill, some new supplies and some new artwork.  Gotta love that!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day

Today is Valentines Day.   The sun is shining and there is snow on the ground.  The snow has come and stayed because it is also been cold.  The perfect winter, what winters should be, maybe not normal for Ohio but this is how I choose to think of winter.  As I watch the birds at the feeders and see the beautiful red cardinals, it is if they are a little Valentine out in the winter panorama of snow.  It makes me happy.

It doesn't take much to make me happy on Valentines Day.  I don't require expensive jewelery or fancy cards.  It is the little things that I appreciate from those around me.  My wonderful husband surprised me yesterday with a BIG Tim Horten's Cafe Mocha!  Mmmmm, it is my favorite coffee drink.  He also brought me three big special dark chocolate bars of candy.  Very sweetly he then said, "Now you and your girl friend can go to the movies tomorrow and have fun together."   That was a very sweet gift.  He is a very sweet guy.  I guess that is why I married him forty years ago.  We actually, started dating when I was sixteen, so we have spent many wonderful years together.

As a little school girl, I remember having Valentine Parties in school.  These were most memorable because of the Valentine Boxes we made to take to school so that our friends would put a Valentine inside.  These boxes became a creative challenge, my Mother always had a great idea for a "theme" box.  I remember one looked like a train engine, another looked like a mailbox and another covered with frills of doilies and lace.
Do they still have Valentine parties at school?  Do the children today make Valentines for their teachers and spend hours picking out the perfect little Valentine for their friends at school?  I hope so.

Maybe this is where my creative imagination got it's start, those times when scissors, glue, paper and a theme became a place to think outside the box.  Every child should have supplies at hand to be creative.
With my grand children, my favorite gift to give is supplies for creative expression.  This year each family got a tote filled with paint, brushes, stamps and cards for Christmas.  For Birthdays I always search for another art project, scratch paper, rubber stamps and ink pads, sequins and tools to attach them, beads for their own necklaces, and even play dough.  What fun to get a hand made card from my grand children.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!  Enjoy the snow, I know you've had some!  Give your Valentine a hug!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

And The Snow Came.....

This morning is sit in awe of the beauty of the snow.  I have my coffee in hand and a good book.  I am distracted by the activity outside my picture window.  Through this window I can see the barns, the horses are happily eating last summers hay.  I can see my wonderful husband cleaning the snow off the cars, like I'm planning to go somewhere?  Not me, I'm going to be "snowed in" today and love every moment.

The most wonderful part about being snowbound is the joy I find in watching the birds.  As I look outside my big uncurtained windows, I notice that the pines nearby and the forsythia bushes are alive with activity and movement.  It's as if each are filled with little joyful ornaments.  Some are very colorful, some are more somber, but all are in motion.  They are part of the families of birds that come to my feeder today, looking for a sunflower seed to fill their tummies, keep them warm and sustain them during this snowy winter day.
The little Caroline wren, with her upright tail.  The many cardinals bring splashes of color to the white landscape.  So many little sparrows, the white crown, the song, the white-throated and slate colored juncos.
I see the darling little chickadees, the handsome tufted titmouse, and the beautiful gold finches.  A blue-jay stopped by to fill up on some seeds and the woodpeckers come to the suet that also hangs nearby.

Isn't it interesting that all of these birds come to the same feeders to eat.  They have no issues about one being different from the other.  They don't care that their colors aren't the same or that their songs different from one another.  They all live in harmony together at my feeders this cold and snowy winter day.  I am grateful for this lesson being taught by my feathered brothers and sisters.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snow Storm Coming, Really?

Today is February 5, 2010.  Our weather men have been preparing us for a major winter storm, we could get six to nine inches of snow from this storm.  They have the world in a panic, I cannot believe that people are so unprepared to live for a few days without having to jam themselves together at the nearest grocery to get bread and milk and whatever.  Do people really only live a few days at a time without going to the grocery?  Are we really going to be snowbound for days and days? 

I remember very well the Blizzard of 1978.  It was windy and cold and then the snow began to fall.  I watched my wonderful husband leave the house, heading to the barn to feed the horses and hogs.  I lost sight of him before he was ten yards from the house, there was a total white out, it was snowing and blowing that hard!  A little tremble of fear went through me as he disappeared on our sidewalk.  He returned after the feeding was done, he didn't get blown away or lost because he couldn't see ahead of his hand.  It was all very exciting and even wonderful in some ways.   The world as we knew it stopped in it's tracks.  We considered it quite an adventure, even after we lost power and were without for more than a week.  We had our little wood stove and piled on more clothes, it all worked somehow.

Our children were little, Ryan was almost six and Trisha was three and Emily didn't come until that fall.  I know what you are thinking, ooh she was a blizzard baby!   Ha!  She came 10 months after that January blizzard.  Living through this brought some knowledge of what it might have been like long ago when the pioneers traveled west or maybe what our Native people lived through.  I might add that many are living in worse conditions NOW on reservations during blizzard conditions.  They have no heat and the nearest store is not close.  I am meandering here......   but it is an important subject to me.   Of course, we had the easy version, we only had to live like that for a good week before the plows finally cleared our road and soon the power was restored.  Actually, we were plowed out with road graders.  (Hummm, do they still use road graders or is that a machine from the past?)

I was raised to keep the cupboards stocked, ready for any emergency or event.  When I was a kid growing up in the country and we always canned our veggies from the summer gardens.  While I don't do that today, I did learn to stock up ahead of the coming winter season, much like our animal friends who store their nuts away for winter.  I only go to the grocery when I must, kicking and screaming all the way.  We have freezers now, my choice for food preservation.  I can live without bread for a couple days, if I must.  Then there is a good chance I could make some bread if I had to.  These skills aren't lost on me, I'd just rather do something else.

I have many things to do today in preparation for this Sunday.   We are having Massie Creek Flute Circle in my studio on Sunday morning at 9:30 am.  The studio is a mess, I have been busy creating wonderful pieces of art for the last month.   When I work, everything is out, everything is at hand when I might need it.  If I used something on the last gourd I leave it out, I might use something similar on the next gourd.  I barely can find a space on the table to actually work because of all the "stuff" required to make a beautiful artistic looking gourd! 

With the winter storm predictions I'm wondering if I need to clean the studio today..........  It is a possibility that no one will come if the weather is as bad as the weatherman is stating.  But then again, if I don't clean, then we will have no bad weather, again the weathermen will have alarmed the world for nothing and flute circle will go on as planned.  Chairs will need to be moved into the space, tables to lay flutes must be found and all of my goodies will have to be put neatly back in storage containers.  This is why I don't do weekly classes in my studio, I would always be cleaning up for the next class and NEVER get any work done!  So, as I finish this entry, the snow has started.  It's not a blizzard yet and I'm thinking I've wasted enough time pondering the merits of cleaning or not cleaning my studio. 

Hope you can join me on Sunday in my studio for Massie Creek Flute Circle!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Looking For Just The Right Venue

Fine Art Shows are how I sell my artwork.  It sounds glamorous to those who go to Fine Art Shows to wander around, looking at all the pretty things that people make and display for sale.  Ohio has many weekend shows to choose from throughout the summer.  I cannot not say doing Art Show is a glamorous job.  You could ask any of my dear and wonderful friends who have helped me over the years, IT IS NOT GLAMOROUS! 

Art shows are nightmares to get your van close to your booth space for loading and unloading.  I have often had to carry my booth, the shelves, tables, chairs and all of my gourds for some distance, just to get set up in time for a show.  It doesn't matter how early you arrive, there is always obstacles.  Taking another person is so important, often you sit in you van waiting for the vehicles in front of you to finish unloading before you can park.  If I were by myself, the booth would still be waiting to be set up.  This way I can be working in the booth and not have to park the van.  It is the same at the end of the show, my friend goes for the van while I'm packing up.  Sometimes I'm waiting for the van to arrive, because things are so close and congested.  I always like show where there is plenty of room for us to get in and out.  I consider this an important point for looking at shows.  I might note here, I am very grateful to the friends who have helped me through the years, even if they don't answer the phone now when I'm calling them.  I will also say that my wonderful husband and daughter will always help me in a pinch.  I am so thankful to them too.

There are festivals in every town in Ohio it seems.  Each has their own draw and cause.  Each think that having artists there will pack in the people.  I pick and choose my art shows with much deliberation.  I will no longer go to festivals that advertise any of these things:  4th of July, kids rides, car show, music festival, food festival or church bazaar.  Now I'm not saying these aren't wonderful events, I'm just saying the people that come to these things are not interested in Fine Art.  If they are there with the family, it is a family outing. Most people are not stopping with kids in hand to purchase art to carry around.  If the event is mostly about food, you are just a distraction for sticky fingers.  Any show listed as an Arts and Crafts show, the people are not coming for Art pieces, they are looking for the latest "ornament on a stick" that they can put in their yard for the next seasonal look.  

Fine Art Show is exactly that, they are all about the Art.  People come because they want to see and hopefully purchase something unique, made by the person sitting in the booth.  The visitors at my booth want to engage in some conversation about Gourd Art and  FYI, the most ask question is, "Do you grow your own Gourds?"  I have friends that booth beside me at several shows during the summer and they know the answer to that question they have heard it so many times!  At Fine Art Shows you are going to see the most inventive and amazing things, all made by people right here in the USA!

All of that is the glamorous part of being an artist.  You never see what is behind the scenes, hours of work in the garages, extra bedrooms or right on the dining room table.  Most artists live their life thinking about their art.  It is so much a part of them that they even dream about it.  It is often the only place they find peace and total joy, when they are creating something from their own hands.  Most artists work hours and hours on their pieces.  If they were to charge by the hour for one of their masterpieces...... no one could afford it. 

For me, my Gourd Art is a passion.  I love everything about the gourds, I love watching gourd vines grow, the blooms are beautiful at night.  The flowers count on night insects to pollinate them.  The most fun I ever had was assisting this process.  My friend and our daughters tip toed through the gourd vines on a moonlit night like fairies, with paint brushes in hand, visiting one bloom after another.  The results for those efforts are seen in just a few days, when a little gourd starts to take shape where a bloom once was.   How do you charge a finished product when consider the effort made a year before a gourd is decorated?  How do you charge for gathering the gourds from the garden after frost and placing them upon drying racks for months in your barn?  No one knows how hard it is to clean a moldy gourd after it's dry, unless you've actually done it.  Yes, there is also cleaning the inside of that gourd, time and determination are required here.  The fun part is decorating the gourd, this is the artistic part and it seems to go the fastest.  Each gourd has it's own special design.  Created by me with a hand drawing on the gourd, if  something about that drawing doesn't work, I will erase and try again.  It's all about balance, color, and design.  I never studied this process, it mostly is trial and error, do you charge for that too?   Most of my work is carved, stained or painted.  I love weaving on the gourd, it often takes hours to finish one with weaving.  I love adding special beads and other gathered materials to give each gourd it's own unique look.   How do you charge for the time you spend thinking about colors, finding just the right beads or learning a new technique?

Maybe now you have some understanding about why something may be priced the way it is priced at your local Fine Art Show.  And maybe you understand my desire to find just the right venue for my Gourd Art.
For those of you who own my pieces of art, THANK YOU!  You have something in your possession that took much thought and consideration.  You have something that has a piece of my heart and my passion.  Isn't that why we buy art, to have a connection to that spirit the artist shared in their work?  That is why I purchase art from other artists.