Hands to Hearts – Gourds by Pat Berkbigler
Gourd art created with a variety of techniques which may include melted crayon design, filigree, carving, stippling, painting, pyrography, and sculpting.
About Our Art
I am a retired public school teacher after working 31 rewarding years in elementary education. I have always enjoyed crafts including sewing, knitting, dried flower wreath construction, cake decorating, and quilting to name just a few. When I was in 8th grade, I made pins from sectioned off wooden paint stirrers and seeds which I sold door to door in my neighborhood, earning enough money to purchase a plane ticket to Massachusetts to visit relatives for the summer. (Yes, I’m older than dirt and tickets were cheap back in the day.) In recent years I have taken up gourding, which has been a great source of relaxation. I started with a technique I learned on the internet from Miriam Joy that involved making Christmas ornaments from coyote gourds and melted crayon. I then moved to putting melted crayon designs onto larger gourds, but found it difficult to find gourds to work with. Upon looking around the internet I came upon the Show-Me Gourd Society Annual Gourd Festival. My plan was to purchase gourds so I could continue with my crayola creations. However, with further browsing around the site, I discovered the classes they offered during the festival and signed up for a few. Although it was a rather whirlwind experience, I had a great time learning new techniques. So the following year I signed up for gourd carving classes with Gloria Crane, a very talented, renowned gourd artist from California. After learning what I could create with carving, I was hooked. Sand waves, filigree, stippling, Oh, My!! It was all just too much fun. I have continued to take classes at the festival each year as well as online courses to learn new techniques. As I have never taken an art class in my life, the painting and shading has been quite a challenge. I need a lot of practice, but am slowly progressing. I have been trying my hand at gourd pyrography and especially enjoy the faux leather technique. One thing it took me awhile to realize was that any mistake can be made to look intentional with a little imagination and creativity. Although I have come a long way, I have a long way to go. I am in awe of what other artists create from a gourd and three dimensional carving is next on my list. At this point I have never entered a judged contest and am not sure I ever will. So far, self satisfaction has been enough for me, but who knows? I have had some pieces at Bluestem the last three years and have been honored recently by being juried in to the Best of Missouri Market at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis for the fall of 2018. It has been a bit daunting getting enough inventory ready, but after all the tweaking and touch ups are finished each completed creation brings another dose of artistic satisfaction. It has become my drug of choice:)
Description of Work(media, technique, etc.)