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So- yeah, I’ve not been very good about blogging huh?  Too busy and too hard to remember…..But since part of it IS due to actual work, I can’t complain.  I’ve gotten a number of gourds done and jewelry too.  Taos got some new work, and I took a load of my art to the Upstage Gallery in Topeka – gourds, paintings and jewelry so my inventory is pretty much all out there.   If you are in town, head down to the Upstage and see all the great stuff. Lots of other artists with great stuff too.

So, I’m getting ready to start on a new adventure. I bought a jewelry kiln. My jewelry fetish has taken over and its time to get to something besides stringing beads.  I have a few pieces made with metal clay and I just got some more clay, so as soon as that is dried, I’ll be firing it up for the first time. Hopefully before Christmas. Wish me luck – I hope they turn out well.  I’ll post anything semi-acceptable here.

I’m also going to start a series of paintings. I dreamt about it about a month ago and its time to start.  Actually, I have 2 totally different series I want to do. One is using paintings and gourds and will center around “green” art.  Gourds are green you know! 🙂  Even had a dream in which my grandmother (who died several years ago) told me to paint them and I’ll find a gallery to take them. Anyway – its still on my mind so I will start tomorrow. Did sketches today, bought canvas and paint and I’m ready.  Only I’m not doing the “green” series – it doesn’t have a name yet, but highly personal so this should be interesting….

So, to prove I HAVE done something since I disappeared from my blog – here’s some images of pieces that are either at Taos Blue or The Upstage.




How I got into gourds

So with the KPK show, I have been asked alot lately  “How did you get into gourds?”.   I know it seems like a totally random thing right?  Well, its a long story…

Its sort of starts all the way back in college.  As an art major at a liberal arts college, we took all kinds of things – there was only slightly a “focus”.  I was a painter.  But I took ceramics and found I loved it, but got into it kind of late.  One semester I spent so much time throwing on the wheel till late at night, that when I would go home I would do nothing but dream I was throwing on the wheel. Not very restful sleep.  Anyway, I loved it but just didn’t see going into it.  The cost of the kiln, wheel, glazes, etc. – not to mention the space needed to do all that.  So, I graduated and that was that.

Fast forward a few years and I am pregnant with my second son.  I had back surgery while 4 months pregnant.  Before and after I found I could not stand or sit for much time, much less stand at an easel to paint.  At that time I was also a very frustrated painter and was having a really hard time with confidence in my work.  So, while at an art fair, I found myself buying a gourd.  The artist had seriously under priced them.  When I told her so, she said I grew all these and just needed to get rid of them!  So I took the gourd home and studied it and got a few free from a farmer.  I decided to start playing and see what I could do with them myself.   Needless to say, I loved it and I started doing tons of gourds. I decided to sell them when I had no room for any more!  I also felt a freedom to do anything and nobody could say anything because at that time I didn’t know anybody else in the medium.

I also get asked where my ideas for each gourd comes from.  (Shrugs shoulders)…. I don’t know – how does anyone decide what to paint? I might be inspired by the shape of a gourd, or the skin of the gourd might be especially cool. Sometimes I have a really cool bead or fetish or some other item to put on it. I am inspired by ceramics and sculpture alot.  I have a file full of images that have sparked some kind of idea in me.  I never copy them, but take that vein of thought and run with it.  I have to change it and make it my own.   I especially love pine needle coiling and am finding that I do that on most of my gourds now. I do occasionally use philodendron sheaths or palm stalk or some other natural material that would be great for a rim of a gourd.

The only thing I don’t like about gourds is that when I do a show in the Midwest, I feel I have to explain them.  For example, if someone asks me “What kind of art do you do?”  I say gourds, but I HAVE to say NOT chickens and snowmen and birdhouses.  My work is more like ceramics (and is often mistaken for ceramics).  If someone asks me that question while I am in the Southwest, I dont’ have to explain myself, they already know what I am talking about.   While I know my gourds are still a form of craft, I believe they are a fine art craft which is why I call them fine art gourds.

Back on the Horse

So finally KPK is over and my bad attitude is lifting and I can finally work again. Last week I managed to get 8 gourds cut and cleaned and this morning I have been staining and spraying and painting.   I ran out of UV spray, so now I have to take a break and go get some more supplies. (Don’t you just hate it when you get in the groove and then get stopped for one reason or another?)   I have a bunch of work to complete in the next few weeks for a Holiday ArtFest at the Upstage Gallery in Topeka, and for Taos Blue.

So, I also had an idea for a whole themed show, gourds, paintings, mixed media, you name it.  I have no pieces done yet, and no place to show theses pieces rolling around in my head, but it will come.  I have been thinking alot about recycling and how things break down – or don’t break down.  I want to do a show of pieces using recycled materials and/or things that will break down eventually. For example, my gourds, if left outside, will eventually disintegrate and go back to the earth. I have even made a funerary urn for someone out of a gourd.  I also want to do some paintings on this theme too.  I have no idea when I will get around to it.  I even had a dream the other night that my grandmother (who passed away a few years ago) told me – do the pieces, you will find a gallery to show them  in.  Hmmm – sign that I should definitely do it or just my sub-conscious pushing me?  My plan is to start this in December or the first of the year when all my Christmas rush stuff is done.  I’ll keep you updated.

This month will be insane

I’m not sure how much I will post on here in the upcoming month. I’m not even sure how much work I will get done of my own!  The guild’s big Kansans Paint Kansas show is this month and I am chairing it.  Today’s activities included trying to coordinate 3 judges from 3 different cities (not so easy to do), organizing stuff at the gallery for the show, and – FINALLY – completely finishing my tornado for the show.

But, I still have not managed to hear from all the judges and I have to get the digital stuff juried, before the 11th when it needs to be here. Then comes the fun of sorting and hanging, and TV interviews and getting food and drinks and whatever fires start between now and then!  Why did I say I would chair this?  😉

Oh, and I still have to get my artist in residence for national park stuff done.  Who knows when I will get to that? Probably about 1 am a day or 2 before its due!

Off to run soccer practice!




Sometimes life is like that…

So – unfortunately I have not accomplished much more than the last time I blogged.  My youngest has had a tough time transitioning to Kindergarten.  This means that I have had a hard time focusing on anything but him this week. The work is fine, he just cries and says he misses me and its such a long day.  But, I think we finally made it over the hump today.  He was actually excited to go today. I am wondering if it was only because its Friday….but hey – I’ll take what I can get!

As for the art….I did get about 8 gourds cleaned.  Many needed repairs, so those have been puttied and need sanding. 3 did get painted with some new metallic gourds paints I just got. Love them!  I think the Taos gallery will be very happy with them.   Almost done with my tornado for Kansans Paint Kansas.  This one was a challenge. I’ll post about that once the entry day has cleared.  Hopefully I will get some images of new work posted soon!

Anyway, off to do some research for some more work before the kiddos get home.

P.S. I have a follower!! Thanks Theresa!!!



Back to work!

Its been a crazy first week of doing art.  In the first week, I had so many plans. Of course, not all of those happened, when my youngest got sick in his first week of school!! Even today he was coughing quite a bit.  I gave him cough meds and I guess he must be doing fine since I’ve had no calls from the school.

So, I did manage to finish all 4 commissions that I got at the beginning of July.  I framed 2 pieces for the Inspirations show.  And I painted my “tornado” piece no less than 5 times trying to find just the right color for an abstract tornado. Think I’ve about got it now!   Now I need to clean more gourds so I can start on a new batch.  Taos needs more again (yeah!) and I have some new metallic gourd paints to work with so I can’t wait to try those out.  I’ll post some pics once I get some done!

Off to work!

P.S. No followers yet – any takers?….



I am definitely NOT a writer….

So today’s work consisted of trying to write an essay for an artist residency.  Since it has been years since I have written any papers or essays, I am finding this excruciatingly difficult.   (Plus, its like an artist’s statement, which I also find ridiculously painful.)  Why?  Because I want to put something real out there that actually sounds like me and the average person can understand. Nothing irritates me more than pretentious statements that leaving you asking “HUH?”  But, since it also needs to appease arty people who may or may not buy my work or give me a show or residency, it also needs to be polished.  So I have literally spent a good part of my day writing and re-writing and I am still not happy with it.

That doubt about my essay is when I start to tell myself, “why bother, chances are you won’t get it anyway”.  That is hard to ignore!  But, if I listened to that voice, my work would not be in a gallery in Taos, New Mexico right now. You never know until you put yourself out there.  So, good thing this thing isn’t due for another month and half.  Maybe I’ll get it together by then (?)!

First Time

So – I have a couple of friends who keep blogs of their daily activities.  I thought it might be good to get out there what it is that I DO.  I don’t think many people know what I do besides be a  mom.

Many of you know both my kids are in school now and I am constantly be asked – “So, NOW what are you going to do with yourself?!”  I do not having a “normal” paying job. So I think people assume I will automatically go back to “normal” work.

Here’s what will be keeping me busy :

For TAG, I am the VP, the Gallery Commitee Chair, the 3D chair, I’m on the Hanging Committee AND I am chair of our special show Kansans Paint Kansas.  I get to handle all those emails, calls, meetings and fires that have to be put out.

I am on the board for Sunflower Soccer Association and I am coaching both my son’s teams.

For MY art, I have 4 commissions that need finishing.  I need to get some stuff ready for the Taos Fall Art Festival. I have 1 piece left to finish to enter in Kansans Paint Kansas.  I have 2 of 3 pieces done for the Inspirations show coming up.  I would like to enter some shows outside of Kansas again (its been a year or 2) and I need to get my portfolio together.   I have work to get done for a Fall Gallery Walk I will be in. Is that all? I am sure there is more to this list that I am forgetting….