IF YOU GO

What: Gourd Show

When: June 28 through July 19. Reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on June 28

Where: Feat of Clay Gallery, 107 S Main Ave in Aztec

Classes Saturday, June 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., gourd artist Dar Stone will be teaching a class titled “Conquering Color.” Sunday, June 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Stone will be teaching “Southwest Kachina.” Classes are $75. Registrations must be made and paid in advance because class size is limited.

More info: Contact Lona Warne at 505-320-5634 or email lona1207@yahoo.com

Farmington — When Lona Warne joined the Feat of Clay Gallery's co-op two years ago, she was the only gourd artist, but that didn't stop her from proposing an annual gourd show at the gallery.

This year's gourd show starts June 28 at the Feat of Clay Gallery and will continue until July 19. A reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on June 28. Charles Stacey, a local musician, will be playing during the reception. The show will feature more than a dozen gourd artists.

A gourd is similar to a squash or a pumpkin. When dried, they are useful for making canteens, bottles, storage containers and even musical instruments.

Classes will be offered at the show by Albuquerque's Dar Stone, a founding member of the New Mexico Gourd Society. Stone, an American Gourd Society Certified Judge Instructor, has judged festivals in the Southwest. Classes will be held 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30, and will focus on creating Southwestern designs as well as figure building.

"I've got people who've never done gourd art who've signed up for the class," Warne said.

 Dee Pfeiffer’s gourd art will be on display at Feat of Clay.
Dee Pfeiffer's gourd art will be on display at Feat of Clay. (Courtesy of Dee Pfeiffer )

Warne began gourd art around 30 years ago and has taken classes from Robert Rivera and others. Rivera is conisdered by some to be the first modern gourd artist.

Many of the people showing at Feat of Clay are people Warne has met through gourd shows and classes. For instance, Warne met Tuscon aritst Karen Phillips while taking a class from Rivera.

"We'll be friends for life because of the gourds," Warne said.

Even though they use the same base, the gourd, the artists will choose different mediums and different styles to decorate their gourds. Laura Haberman, a Colorado native, uses teneriffe, a needle lace, to decorate the gourds. She then adds beads and dried natural materials. Another artist, Aztec resident Carole Birdsell, uses wood burning methods for her gourd art.

"We all share the same passion of decorating gourds," Warne said.

During the 1980s, Warne saw her first gourd growing beside the road. She stopped and picked the gourd. Her gourd art began then. At first, she mainly created painted ornaments, but after taking a variety of classes, she expanded her repertoire. Some of the pieces she will have for sale during the show include musical instruments such as rattles and drums made with gourds.

Warne said she's learned something new at every class she's attended and she's been able to incorporate the techniques she's learned into making her gourds.

Warne said people who see gourd art for the first time are often enthralled at the variety of different possibilities.

"Something that grows out of the ground can become a beautiful art object," Warne said.

Hannah Grover covers arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover.