Gourds by Gertskid (Part I) – Meet the Artist
Mary Cinnamon – Gourd Artist Extraordinaire!
Gourds by Gertskid
In 2001, Mary Cinnamon had never seen a gourd until she and her husband, Jim Cinnamon went to an art festival in Coryden, Indiana. The couple walked past a big wagon full of gourds and Mary asked Jim, “What are those?”
“Gourds,” he told her. As they continued to wander through the festival and into one of those shops made for tourists, he pointed to the rafters and said, “See?”
Mary looked up and hanging from the rafters were all types of painted gourds. “I can do that,” she thought to herself. Then she had Jim go and buy a dozen of the gourds. Within the first week, she painted all twelve and when that didn’t quite satisfy her need to paint them, she got more.
For the first year, Jim didn’t get involved. Mary understood that he just thought it was one of her passing fancies and that she would eventually lose interest. Mary decided to take some of her gourds to a church show – her very first, and she came home
with $489 from the sale of her art. Mary says she could see the look on Jim’s face and his mind going, “Maybe I should look at this a little…” being an accountant Jim probably realized the value of Mary’s work. Today Mary looks back and sees these early pieces as very elementary compared to the way she paints now, and how she expresses herself in the creation of these sculptural works.
This small success gave her the confidence to enter more shows, and she began to look for shows that were juried. A juried show is generally an art exhibit that has at least one judge, often more, who are experts in their field,
and who judge the work on its merits, both technical and artistic. Whatever the medium, painting, sculpture, or gourd, juried shows give a legitimacy to the art that it would not get in a general show that anyone can enter. Juried shows help create a resume validating the artist’s work, and it generates reviews by the artist’s peers.
Mary submitted her work to the Kentucky Gourd Show in Taylorsville, Kentucky; her first real juried art show. Of the seven works Mary submitted, five came home with ribbons, and three of those were blue!
After the Kentucky show, Mary gained the confidence she needed to enter other shows and all were juried. By winning a place in a juried show, Mary got the recognition of other professionals and feels “Oh my peers think my work is not so elementary…” and she believes that you have to continue to work, learn, try, and experiment to create the best art possible.
Each of Mary’s painted gourds is an original and no two are exactly alike. She looks at each as if they are part of her family and she will often paint them in families that have relationships to each other and to her. Mary stresses that each gourd, the
foundation of the work, is an individual. Just as with people each has its flaws but she always has a way of making that bump or blemish work for her in the creation of the figure.
Just as a painter would have to build a stretcher, stretch a canvas, then prime the canvas, Mary’s gourds also have to be prepared before she even begins to work on it. The gourds are soaked in bleach to prevent mold, power washed by Jim, and detailed by Mary, all in an effort to make the surface of the gourd as clean as possible. This rigorous cleaning also helps to remove the outer skin from the gourd making it a viable surface for painting. Mary says the most important part of the process is properly prepping the gourd before painting. Once the gourd is cleaned some of the bumps and gouges are spackled or puttied, then sanded so that the surface is smooth and ready to take paint. Some of these flaws work for her and are integrated into the design.
See part II of this four part series in the next edition. You can find Mary’s one-of-a-kind, hand painted art pieces at the Canada Goose Gallery. Remember: If you love one that is pictured here, please call right away because no two are identical.
For more information about Mary Cinnamon or any of the work featured in this article, please contact the Canada Goose Gallery at 97 South Main Street, Waynesville, OH, 45068 or call (513)897-4348 or on the web at http://www.canadagoosegallerypbuckleymoss.com/Pages/Gourds.aspx