Gourd Artistry Demonstration at Ky Artisan Center
Donna and Donnie Smith, of Waco, will demonstrate their carved and painted gourds on Saturday, Feb. 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
The Smiths’ journey as craftspeople began 25 years ago, when they planted gourds by their back porch. Donna eventually left her full-time job, and she and her husband, Donnie, became full-time gourd artists. Their work is a partnership, with Donna decorating the gourds with floral images, animals or leaves that enhance the gourds’ natural shapes. Donnie adds wooden bottoms to long-necked gourds so that they stand vertically, and he embellishes the rims and creates openings in the gourds with a small saw.
Donna, who has a background in graphic design, draws on the gourd first with pencil, and then with a wood-burning tool. The gourds are next painted with watercolors, inks, dyes and water-based stains, and sealed with a clear acrylic.
Most of the Smiths’ gourds are raised on their 5-acre farm. A good dried gourd, though, is just the beginning. Each gourd must be washed to remove the outer skin, which has molded and left an interesting pattern and texture on the gourd surface. Once the gourd is clean, it is sanded before its lid is cut. Donnie is constantly finding creative ways to cut gourds, transforming them into baskets and lidded vessels using cut-out filigreed designs that enhance and integrate the painted surface and form.
Works by the Smiths are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea, Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea currently features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. A special exhibit, “It Takes Two: Collaborations by Kentucky Artisans,” is on display through Feb. 27, 2016, and in the lobby the exhibit, “Kentucky Clay: A Continuing Tradition” is on display.
For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov