Gourd Art Enthusiasts

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San_Bernardino - Kathy Riker

My journal of the Traveling Gourd by Kathy Riker

Betty Finch and I had just met and made the trade off in Lancaster. Betty showed me her work and that made me think all the way home. What was I going to do? It took me three days to open the huge crate that was setting alone in the garage. I finally opened it and there was no gourd to be found. My husband had removed it and placed it on the table in my studio. The first time I saw the huge gourd just setting there in all it’s splendor. Then I knew what I would like to contribute to this wonderful piece of community art. “But will the Idea work”? Well let’s just look and study all the magnificent art already on it and then I’ll make the big decision.
I blessed the piece with Montana sage, sweet grass and cedar. My first decision is to cut the gourd and let it give birth to the many seeds that rattle inside. This gourd is too magnificent to let it be the last one of this size. I’ll call her Mother Earth.
I sanded the large shard and made my pattern for it and drew it on. With a full days work done I’ll wood burn tomorrow.
I have placed three feathers hanging from the Indian’s face in honor of that piece I did. I have also placed seven feathers in his headdress for the name I have taken for my art Seven Spirits Gourd Art. I have designed a Kokopeli, clay dwelling and spirits to join this piece all together. I enjoy wood burning especially very intricate designs. It has taken me 5 hours to burn the design in.
I want to have texture and dimension to this piece so I am making the clay dwelling out of Fimo clay. I am using 5 colors blended together to create a clay brick color. I molded the piece on the gourd and then placed the gourd and clay in the oven. Once the dwelling was done I could start painting the piece. The Kokopeli, Spirits in the sky and Indian face are all painted with acrylics. I use miniature paintbrushes and one of my favorite brushes only has 3 hairs to it for a very fine line and helps me in tight spots.
Painting the Indian face, I have chose 51 colors of acrylic paint to bring his face, body and feathers alive. After finishing the painting, shading and dotting. The piece now has a name. “Magic from the Past”. Because it is truly magic that this piece is coming together and has a flow to it. The piece will be sprayed with acrylic and is ready to embellish.
I have selected blue suede and silver beads to adorn the headdress and black horsehair to hang down his face around the feathers. He will be wearing a turquoise and silver necklace and a breastplate made out of glass cream tube beads and tiny silver beads. I will sew on the embellishments with waxed linen.
The shard is finished and ready to glue back into place. I have taken some shards and sanded the pulp from the inside to make a gourd dust to use as filler when I glue the shard back into the place. I glued the piece with instant glue and held it with needles till it was in place. I went back and filled in the gaps with a mixture of glue and gourd dust. I let everything dry and then went back with my burner and pen and burned the glue line to blend in with the rest of the gourd.
The piece is finished and it took a little over 42 hours from start to finish. It has been an honor and a real spiritual journey for me to contribute a piece of my work to the Traveling Gourd. I have learned many things working on this piece and have enjoyed documenting every step. I will continue to document and tell a story on each creation that I make in the future. It will now travel on and will be adorned by several more artists and their work. Bless Father Sky, Mother Earth, the North, South, East and West and all that comes from them for us to create.
Love the Earth Kathy Riker

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Comment by Debbie Wilson/Visions in Wood on November 22, 2010 at 10:08am
Wow I wish it was up for raffle now I would buy a ton of tickets!
Comment by Bonnie Gibson on November 22, 2010 at 7:52am
Debbie, the CA group raffled this gourd off probably 5-6 years ago.
Comment by Debbie Wilson/Visions in Wood on November 22, 2010 at 6:29am
Spectacular! What becomes of this gourd when it is done?

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