Stippling is a natural pattern found on Virginia’s fresh water rainbow trout, along with it natural scales, array of colors and rosy band. To Rene', the other two gourd fish on this string represent food. (1) Trout feed on aquatic and terrestrial life. One gourd contains a lady bug, bee, moth and butterfly. (2) The other gourd contains words. Humans, like the trout, feed on aquatic and terrestrial life as human food. Yet, “The Word” sustains our souls.
These are naturally dried gourds, burned, carved then enhanced using water-based inks: pine-tree green, chartreuse, apple, turquoise, pink and blazing blue; heat set and sprayed using gallery conservation varnish; and accented with fishing line and buzzard feathers.
There is Native American Indian prophesy that says, one day there will be "Rainbow Warriors." Inking gourds rainbow colors reminds us of that prophesy and gives us all hope.
When Rene' was in college, she served as an intern for a Maritime Museum in Beaufort NC. That job helped her see the world in a new way.
"Our Land is Our Legacy," Gourd
Virginia’s Clarke County officials searched for an artisan who could fashion an image suitable to represent their county, so they picked Rene'. This gourd ornament is an oval-shaped dried gourd 3” x 5 ½,” ink-dyed, carved, burned and painted with local plants and wild life on to the gourd to honor Clarke County’s historical motto, “Our Land is Our Legacy.”
Chris and Rene' meeting the Virginia Governor and to see her ornament on the Governor's Manson 2016 Christmas Tree.
When Rene' begins to work on a gourd, she listens to the Spirit within her to guide her and then she watches nature. Amazing things simply happen. For example, after she painted red lady bugs, within a few minutes she was surrounded by yellow squash beetles that look like lady bugs. So I added a yellow squash beetle beside the lady bugs.
When she finished painting the butterflies on top Rene' began burning a bee on the steam to represent the dramatic die-off of local bees. But, as she was listening to music with Native American eagle-bone flute on her deck, she heard a piercing shrill above and looked up to see two bald eagles flying over her head. So, on top of the gourd in the center Rene' burned a majestic eagle flying over Clarke County. Clarke is ink dyed various greens in the background.
Her love for her father- and mother-in-laws inspired these gourds. Poppa and Mammy grew up during the Great Depression. These are Depression glass colors. Clear or colored translucent glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the United States during the Great Depression.
Rene' enhanced nature shapes she saw in this gourd.
To help raise money for albino children and Humanity Healing International, Rene' named this gourd Leucism /ˈljuːsɪzəm/ for its white feathers and white specks. Leuc- in Latin means "white." Leucism is a condition in animals characterized by reduced pigmentation during development. Unlike albinism, leucism is caused by a reduction in all types of pigment. Leucistic animals have normally colored eyes. This gourd has blue eyes. Animals with lighter plumage may be robbed of protective camouflage and more vulnerable to predators.
Rene' named this gourd "Courage." It is her first luminary gourd and first memory-ink gourd. It has dragon flies and bugs. She said it took courage for her to create this. She was unsure what she was doing. She admits she still has no idea what something will look like at the end. But she always takes the chance.
Thanks to the Virginia Lovers' Gourd Society Rene' won the Gail Smith Memorial Award for her first gourd. The sacrifices of Gail and the education programs offered by VLGS propelled Rene' into the realm of Gourd Art. Rene' served as the VLGS vice president from 2015-2016.
Music is Good Medicine
The basic design began as pine-tree bark. I grew up in the pines. All my people are surrounded by the pines and our Lumber River. At the top of the neck, two lone feathers mark the transition to the solid pine-tree green which slowly blends to chartreuse. Chartreuse is one of those unexpected and underappreciated colors – like many people. As the base of feathers began to take shape, the bark transformed into a combination of pine-tree bark and feathers. The whole design was not imaged from the beginning. None of my work is. Life if like that. We cannot plan it all out. We just have to go with the flow. Sometimes life hands us chartreuse, and you go with it.
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