Art comes from unexpected places

Published 8:47 am Thursday, March 23, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Art comes in many forms in unexpected places. Forms that are ever expanding and becoming more varied as artists discover new things they enjoy and mix different mediums.

Here in Chilton County, the beginnings of art are found in the garden, and March has been dedicated to this unique art form using inedible gourds.

This year was my first experience with the Chilton County Art Council’s March Gourd Madness and I was impressed and intrigued by the different art pieces. Everything from masks to animals were featured in the art pieces on display at the Rose Gallery downtown.

Making art from gourds originated by designing homes for birds in them and hanging them from trees. Today, the art form can encompass any other art form. Those with an art background in painting, paint on the gourds. Those with a woodworking background carve into the thick skin. Details are added in wood or clay to finish out the desired shapes. I expected to see bowls and vases, but had not imagined there would be snowmen, a crane, a manatee and an owl.

The details on the owl made it seem lifelike as it sat on the shelf.

Another intensely detailed piece was a two-story house styled like one from “The Lord of The Rings.” The artists called it, ” The Hobbit House.” It was complete with a yard, tire swing and campfire (thought it was not lit of course).

Each gourd artist will tell you their inspiration for what a gourd will become comes from the shape of the gourd itself. Wider gourds look more like a vase than their skinner counterparts. Curved gourds look more like animals than less curved ones.

A few gourds had a marbleized look from dipping it in special paint.

Art featured came from all over the region.

March Gourd Madness came to a close on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean that the unique creativity will be dormant. Gourd artists, like Mack Gothard, will continue creating whimsical and colorful, serious and practical art. They will continue to express their creativity within the confines of a gourd.

Gothard is already excited and planning for next year’s March Gourd Madness, which he says will be bigger and better than any Chilton County has seen before.