"Every house there is surrounded by a garden, and when the gourd dries in the sun, it hardens and it can be used for everything."
Where I'm From
I'm originally from Binghamton, NY. A few years after I got married we moved to Apalachin, NY and that is where I started my gourd growing. In 2008 my husband transferred with his job and it brought us to the beautiful area of Harpers Ferry, WV. We live in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountain in a wonderful, friendly community. The soil here is a bit more difficult than the riverbottom soil of NY I was used to, but with advice and enrichment I've had great success. The garden, as myself, just took some time to settle in and take root.
Several years ago I had a volunteer gourd plant show up in my garden and I've been hooked on them ever since. I started out making just birdhouses and bowls, but as I ended up with lots of little scraps of gourds I decided to try my hand at jewelry. After giving so many as gifts to friends, and at their urging, I decided to branch out into a business.
When I design something I often like to leave the gourd "as is" as much as possible. I don't try to cover up scratches or bug holes or scrapes and dents. They are part of the gourd and how it grew and I think it makes them more beautiful. Just like a person shows signs of age and "battle scars" if you will, the gourds have them as well. And I think the natural color variations are prettier than anything you can find in a paint can.
A lot of my inspiration comes from nature. I love to take hikes in the woods around my home and usually pick up branches and sticks or leaves and flowers to help come up with designs. The shape of the gourd itself also helps guide what the final piece will look like. My favorite mediums to use are my wood burning tool and ink dyes. The ink dyes are transparent and allow the natural mottling of the gourd shell to shine through.