Monday, October 3, 2011

Artist Interview - Debra Paddack of Gourds In Costume

Eleven days and counting! We can hardly wait to see all of our artists together at Art Works Downtown. Until then we hope you'll enjoy reading about another of our talented artists.

Today we introduce you to the work of Debra Paddack of Gourds In Costume ( Debra creates amazing carved, dyed and embellished artisan craft gourds. We are so glad to be able to start the autumn off right with her beautiful work, Tumbling Leaves.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

After retiring ten years ago, I bought a motor home and spent the next five years wandering around.  Weaving pine needle baskets was one hobby that would "fit" in the limited space of the motor home and since I was often in the mountains weaving materials were readily available.  I just naturally began to weave the pine needles onto gourds, which is still one of my favorite pieces to do.

What kind of artist are you, and what first drew you to that particular medium?

When a friend once asked me why I had so many freshly scrubbed gourds sitting in my living room, I replied “I am interviewing them to see what they want to be and who goes next.” This statement sums up my relationship with my gourds. I have had a lifelong love of crafts including needlework, stained glass, and pine needle baskets, but once I began working with gourds the wonderful organic nature of the work enthralled me.

 For inspiration in my designs I turn to many cultures, nature and my love of color and form. I use a variety of coloring mediums and prefer to embellish with materials provided by nature such as pine needles, seeds, driftwood and sea shells. Everything and anything can be used on my gourd “canvases” so the experimentation and learning process never end. My primary designing goal is to let the natural beauty of the gourd shine through. Though the gourd may be dyed, painted, carved or embellished, I want the viewer to always be aware that it is first and foremost a beautiful, organic creation of nature, thus the name “Gourds in Costume.”

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
 I have sold my pieces at art galleries and art fairs in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties (yeah for wine country!), and love the diversity of the people I meet in this area.  They make the whole "fair" experience so enjoyable I hope to always be able to do them, but would love to expand my on-line marketing to further support my gourd habit!

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