Years ago in a quest to expand my artistic expression into three dimensional form, I experimented with a variety of materials. I encountered largearia, the gourd. Although the gourd had served as containers and shapers of pottery for earlier people, they have little function in our post-industrial life of plastic containers. Nonetheless, I became fascinated with the form of the gourd, so feminine!
Observing a group of gourds, my eye sees roundness and tan color, easily identifiable. But softening my gaze and becoming mindful reveals many individual characteristics within each of them; variations in color, markings, indentations, as well as the form of that gourd, and perhaps its stem. The thoughtful observation of it, holding it, turning it in different directions and angles may begin to suggest where a pastel line might define a pattern or where an opening maybe cut or where another material might be attached.
Then, oh my goodness, the gourd has an opening! Within may be seeds, dried fleshy crusts, pearlescent membrane, a pattern of ribs, a stem, the navel. The internal cavity may suggest a container, perhaps for a particular energy or reality, a creature or a person, a feeling or thought, a concept. Combinations with other materials from my collections of found and discarded items help to flesh out beauty, substance, meaning. Selections for inclusion are reflective of the relationship of the parts to themselves and to one another, a microcosm of life itself.
As a series, Treasures displays precious detail from intricate cutting and shaping through tactile application and polishing of surfaces with wax, to arranging beads and glass on curved surfaces. Receptive attention to each material imbues each piece with an individual special quality, making it a treasure containing beauty and spirit in accord with the gourd.
Working creatively with the gourd has offered me many lessons and continues to take me on a journey of an infinite variety of expressions with them. We have a respectful creative relationship. Gourds are strong and sturdy and yet they are brittle and vulnerable to breakage. Among my lessons are practicing patience, trusting the adventure, perseverance. A lesson is clearly present when I break or split a gourd piece. This causes me to pause in my haste to reconsider, to become responsive to a changed set of circumstances. Similar to my yoga practice, being present while in the creative state is ecstatic, timeless, energized, samadhi.
I am grateful.
Ho! Madeleine Terry, May 2018