By René White (Feather)
Lumbee, Native American Indian
Bluemont, VA – These natural gourds belonged to Mammy, my mother-in-law Jewell. Mammy and Poppa grew up during the Great Depression in Frederick County, Va. where they raise, Black Angus cows, farm fresh eggs & chickens and barn yard Pilgrim geese.
This is one of Mammy’s goose eggs. She cleaned it and wrote something in pencil on it.
Inspiration for this gourd design came from Mammy’s love of Depression glass and my love of her.
Depression glass is clear or colored translucent glassware, plain or textured, that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the United States during the Great Depression. I mixed and blended the less common colors of Depression Glass: jadeite (opaque pale green), delphite (opaque pale blue) and cobalt blue. These colors remind me, that even during hard times something good can be created.
As a blue glass bowl shape began to take form around the gourds, it reminded me of a dream I had in 2013.
I dreamed of a little girl. She was carving something underwater. It was the most exquisite art I have ever seen. I told her, “It is very beautiful.”
She didn’t speak English very well. Pointing back at the piece she managed to say, “It has memory.”
I stood on the river bank and watched her under water carving turn in every piece of art she had created. The art remembered what it had been each time before.
The plants, animals and insects on these gourds could appear under water. They include endangered Virginia fresh river-water Pigtoe and Birdwing Pearly Mussels, Virginia beach Tiger Beetle and the Shenandoah Salamander.
The egg represents a place where life grows, then breaks out of its shell, and hatches. Ideas are like that.
Sometimes it takes a long time to create space for ideas and for passion to hatch. I waited nearly 50 years before I could say, “I am an artist.”
Thank you for admiring the work I am creating now of my memories and yours.
About the Mill.
All of these pieces are part of the exhibit at the Burwell-Morgan Mill in the quaint village of Millwood, Virginia. Around 300 artists display over 1,000 pieces of art of all descriptions and media. Oil paintings are predominant, but other types of painting, mixed-media, sculpture, fine woodworking, and pottery round out the stunning diversity of the show. There is truly something for every taste, budget, and decor.
Art at the Mill is Clarke County’s Historical Association’s primary fundraiser, providing the operating funds for both the Mill and the Museum and Archives. CCHA retains 28% of each sale; the artist 70%; and the remaining 2% goes to the Sarah P. Trumbower Memorial Scholarship fund, which was established to help a deserving local student pursue a university education in the fine arts. It is a $5,000 scholarship awarded annually.