Gourding Engages Reflection

October 22, 2011

It is amazing how far in advance art teachers must prepare.  This probably holds true for many teachers, but every time I am around an art teacher most of the supplies they are using are not new.  Phrases like, “I got these beads from a yard sale last spring and the flashy gold cloth came from a friend last Christmas who had it leftover from making costumes for the winter play,” seem to be the norm when I ask art teachers where they found this or that item.

Now into our second year of My Future, not only do we find ourselves continually searching for affordable materials for the afterschool art program, but we also find we need to think seasons in advance!  For instance, here it is late October and at My Future we are working with gourds harvested last October.  Thanks to Robin Kabric, wonderful gardener who hangs out at United Christian Church in Yakima, we have a bunch of gourds raised in her 2010 garden.  Gourds from a year ago matter because gourds need a long drying period before they are art ready.  However, the timeline to have a reasonable gourd means not only is the gourd harvest last October, but that its seed had to be planted the prior spring!  If it were not for Robin, thinking and planting way back in the spring of 2010, we would be gourdless today!

The process of a gourd becoming art is a slow and reflective one.  Cleaning and sanding allows the artist time to think and explore cultural and familial values, remember stories, ask questions of themselves, and imagine how these values, stories, questions might be reflected on a gourd and in a manner that calls the observer to engage the art.  Thing is, while it might not seem the case, working with gourds help the artists become critical thinkers!

Any chance you are interested in being a part of My Future’s ongoing story?  Would you like to help promote art, reflection, and wisdom?  Are you a gardener?  If so, we are looking for gourds grown this year for next fall’s (2012) after-school art—got any you want to let go of?  And we a looking for folks who would like to grow gourds next spring for My Future 2013 fall art (Isn’t it amazing how far into the future you must live to create artful opportunities?).  Give it some thought and if you have an interest, please contact David at dave@yakamamission.org.

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