Elephants have long fascinated me. The tight familiar bonds, high intelligence, ways of communicating with one another, and the apparent displays of emotions in these gentle giants make me in awe of the God who made them. An elephant gourd has been in my mind to make for years but I wanted not just to feature one of these animals but a whole herd.
Several years ago my family and I visited Parker Dam State Park in Penfield, PA. It is part of the region which is called the Pennsylvania Wilds, and we spend some time exploring the area of the Moshannon State Forest. The big draw to this area is the elk herd in Benezette. There were a few great viewing areas to see the elk and get photos. And we even were able to hear the bull elk's eerie sounding bugle!
I don't know why I waited so long to begin this gourd, as the photos were taken for this very purpose! The bugling bull with his cow is on the one side, and as you turn the gourd you can see the rest of the herd with a few calves as well. The "rival" bull elk waits alone, along with some wild turkeys and pheasants.
What puts us in creative ruts? All of us go through at one point or another, that blankness, feeling like you may never have another creative idea again, actually was I ever really a "real artist" in the first place? Who am I kidding? Do you ever have these thoughts that just drag you down? You are not alone!
Let's go through 5 things that may be Kryptonite to the creative person, it could be one or a combination of them that halts us in our creative tracks and cause us to feel dried up. But take heart! There are solutions, think of them as your own Superpower to beat down that beast!
another 2020 commission titled Curious Bunnies.
This tall body gourd made the perfect shaped vase for this garden rabbit design. The entire gourd is extensively burned with lots of flowers and rabbits on both sides. The pyrography was left natural, with only the addition on blue color on the butterflies.
You may not remember, but you can look back at my January post for 2020. Here I talked about the classes I was planning and I prefaced the post with "Do you have 2020 vision?". Wow did we all have such ideas for the year only to have them change so dramatically.
In these next few posts I would like to share with you some of the projects I was honored to work on. Had my 2020 gone as planned, there just would not have been time for them and I would have to turn these projects down. In these I met and worked with some wonderful people and was able to make their ideas come to life in these works of art now in their collections.
My latest gourd venture, a forest scene in pyrography and carved bottom. I am posting the views as the gourd is turned. Let's go for a little walk...
This has been on the back-burner for a few years, to record video for gourd crafting demonstrations and tutorials. I wanted to have some video content for students are aren't able to take a class with me in person, as well as try to reach some potential new gourders that are just looking to get into the craft.
All of us have been affected by virus lockdowns, and as an artist and instructor I have found my only lifeline is the internet, since so many events are canceled. I am sure you have also had many disappointments in this crazy year. So that was my impetus to plow ahead and begin to make some content for you!
No longer waiting until I have the right camera equipment, or the perfect lighting, or any other excuse that kept holding me back!
I have been "gourding" for 20 years- I cannot even believe it has been that long but it has!
Over the years I have made some gourd "oncers" which is my word for I just want to make it once, just so that I have the experience. Like the gourd lamp, the flute, the kalimba and the kaleidoscope.
A mask was something that I had not yet tried. Lots of people have made masks, they even have a history of being used by Native Americans, and they are a popular art form today.
That all being said, I started working on this in February and my original intention was to use real feathers to decorate it, much like other mask artists use. However as I started burning in the small feathers on the surface, I decided instead to use actual gourd pieces to turn into more feathers.
I am Jenn Avery, gourd artist of over 20 years. Art has always been a part of my life, and my work has taken many twists and turns and I have worked in almost every medium available.