In This Issue: We are pleased to introduce Stu Fabe, an artist who is passionate about his work. Over time his medium has changed, but his fervor for perfection has not. Before gourds, Stu travelled with a camera in his hand and his stage included North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Gourds came later and like his photography, his gourd art gained instant recognition. Please welcome Stu Fabe to this November issue of Gourd Fever.
The holidays are right around the corner and to get you in the mood Carolyn Cooper has written a tutorial on how to make a festive snowman. It is easy to do; a cozy afternoon project for children and adults and a gift for that special someone on their Christmas list. Now what could be better.
We are still busy at the shows and it feels as though we have put in a lot of miles the last month or two. Right now it is a great relief to be at home allowing us to go through the mailbag. Thank you to all of you that write and send photos. It is pure enjoyment for us and it once again reinforces that even though the gourd community is small, it is strong!
Stu Fabe was submersed into the world of art from
an early age. His father was a widely-collected painter and a Professor Emeritus of Fine Art at the University of Cincinnati. The large studio was always filled with interesting people and around the dinner table, subjects ranged from art to history and philosophy.
Some would argue that it was the environment, plus some genetics, that created Stu's artistic sensibilities. "As much as anything," he responds "I was encouraged to select an artistic medium and to develop my own style." And that he did, firstly with photography and then gourds.
Stu always loved photography while growing up. Most of his darkroom training was self-taught which gave him a certain freedom of discovery. He and his father would spend hours, sitting side by side, critiquing images for composition, subject matter, use of perspective and shadows, etc. He listened, learned, and soon was classified as a serious photographer. He ended up having five solo exhibitions.
Mt Adams Vista
During these years Stu also had a successful career raising charitable funds for several of Cincinnati's most prestigious organizations including the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Zoo. It was a busy life and it was just by chance, that in 2003, everything changed.
In his spare time Stu loved to go to art shows and the 2003 Summerfair Art Show was arriving in Cincinnati. Walking the aisles he came upon a booth which featured gourd art. Selling this art was the artist; a lovely woman named Marla Helton. In a matter of mere minutes he was hooked on both and during that weekend, ended up buying eleven gourds. Soon a dinner date followed and now, the rest is history.
Stu soon gave up his lifestyle in Cincinnati and moved to Indiana to share his life with Marla. He began to experiment with gourds and found that he loved their versatility in both shape and size. He states "The shapes of gourds often dictate the overall design of my art. I principally do coil-weaving, using Danish Cord and waxed linen thread. I weave very tightly, so my designs have strength and flow in intriguing swirls and windows."
He often colours the gourds depending on the mottling on the surface of the gourd. Some of those mottling designs are so beautiful he uses transparent yellows, oranges or tan dyes to let the mottling speak for itself.
Stu's artistic style with gourds and photography has changed over time, but he doesn't think it is necessarily a natural progression. He believes that all artists develop their personal style and thinks that it is important to stretch one's thinking and try new approaches over time. The key is being open to new ideas and to develop a comfort level with new methods and materials.
Copper, glass and metal objects are often incorporated into Stu's art and he is looking forward to using different pigments and clay in the near future. He finds it fun to be displaying his work at an art show and for knowledgeable judges to enter the booth and see artistic objects that they have never seen before. That individuality helps both Marla and him to win awards.
We asked Stu, in his opinion, what role does the artist and art have in today's society? He replied "The artist? Well without getting too philosophical, the artist's role is to create works that are meaningful to him or her. Beyond that, hopefully the public will like the work too and will want to acquire it.
"Society? The role of art in society today is too broad a question for me to answer adequately. Many people are happy buying an inexpensive picture or object at a craft store or on-line. This is fine and it is important for artists to realize this reality."
"In other words most people are perfectly happy spending $15 for a print of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. In a nutshell, the world isn't necessarily out there panting after some uniquely created piece of art."
Stu has a wonderful life with Marla living on their farm where they create pieces of art everyday. He feels fortunate to have been raised in a family that valued and encouraged artistic expression and to have had a successful and rewarding career raising funds for several important charities.
Most of all he feels fortunate to have found a great life-partner whose sensibilities are similar to his own. He was able to transition from a corporate life to one of art and country-living and once done, there was no looking back. Stu Fabe has a rich life and it is lucky for us that gourds have become a part of it.
To see more of Stu's art click here:
It was a pleasure meeting you Stu. Your art is wonderful and we love the book you and Marla wrote. It is fun and has some great stories. We look forward to seeing future work.
Carolyn and Linda
Tutorial: Making A Christmas Snowman by Carolyn Cooper
Christmas is right around the corner and as we all know, the gifts that are treasured the most are the ones that are made from the heart. We have chosen a simple snowman design that children and adults can do quite easily. It would be a most welcomed gift for a child / grandchild to give to a favorite grand-parent or teacher.
1.) Pick a kettle with a shorter neck. Drill a small hole where the nose is going to be. Using the Apoxie Sculpt roll it into a cone shape with one end being very fine. Push it through the hole to help anchor it in place. Form the Apoxie into a nice shaped nose. I personally like to scrunch the nose up a bit - it gives a playful feeling to the snowman once completed.
2.) Using white paint apply two to three coats until you get the coverage you like.
3.) The eyes: For beginner painters, the eyes can be as simple as a couple of dots of black paint. If you feel comfortable with finer details, paint teardrop shapes using black paint. Add a cresent of white and one drop of white paint to each eye.
The cheeks: I have found that adding a dry brush of Gourd Luster on the cheeks adds a real sparkle with a gentle blush colour.
There is nothing better than lots of glitter at Christmas!
4.) While the snowman is drying, cut out one star shape and one heart shape with the heart being just a little smaller than the star. Paint the heart red. Let dry and then go over the heart, star and stem of the gourd with gold glitter paint.
5.) Hot glue the heat on to the star and wrap with rusty metal shaping the ends into a curl and then glue onto the snowman. The final step is to apply one or two coats of varnish. If you are able to get your hands on some grapevine, make the wreath for your snowman to sit on.
For the final touch tie some raffia around the stem. There, now it is the perfect Christmas snowman!
For Apoxie Sculpt click here:
This image is on the top of Carol Mason's drum.
It was great seeing Carol Mason and Marcia Osbourne again. Marcia is from Calgary, Alberta and she comes to Ontario to visit sister Carol whenever she can. They always come up to Northern Dipper for a visit and we love seeing them and their art. You can see from the photos that Carol loves gourds!.
Carolyn and Linda
Just a quick note to thank you once again for all the information about gourding. Here are some pictures of the gourd birdhouse workshop that I held at the Cold Creek Conservation Area Visitors Centre through Arts Society King.
Happy participants with their prizes
One of the women that attended the workshop will be contacting you to come and get another gourd. I bet she won't be able to buy just one...a little bit like potato chips they are!
This is Cheryl and Curtis who dropped by to show us the shekere that they made from a gourd they had bought on a previous visit. Cheryl has been playing with beading on gourds while Curtis is in the musical department.
To hear the shekere click here:
Hello Carolyn and Linda,
It was a pleasure meeting you at the Ball's Falls show. My holiday in Ontario was fabulous and one of the highlights was to be able to talk to someone who is a wealth of information about all things gourdly.
As you can see from the photo my lonely gourd is still surviving but it most certainly isn't growing by leaps or bounds. The leaves are starting to brown off a bit. I suspect it is going to be a touch and go situation. This month I am going to measure the circumference just to keep better track.
I do believe that I may be the only person in all of Canada crazy enough to be growing gourds in November and December...what a hoot that is. Will keep you informed.
Gareth Pearson, Saanich, Vancouver Island
Jen's cat Min loves Halloween and her new witches' hat. The other cats in the household chuckle and say "How appropiate" because Min growls and hisses as soon as she sees them.
Looking Ahead: December 2011
We are happy to have with us our old friend Lynette Dawson. Lynette is a Michigan artist with an imagination that has no bounds. In describing her art she says that her choice of art form is painting with threads and her tools are a thread and a needle. When gourds entered the picture it was a match made in heaven resulting in art that has won numerous awards in both Canada and the U.S. Lynette is a one of a kind person who creates one of a kind art and we can't wait for you to meet her.
As is our December tradition we like to look back and revisit a few of the featured artists who have graced the pages of this newsletter. Gourd Fever has been out for seven years now and in that time we have met many interesting and creative people. They have awed us and inspired us and it will be fun to get caught up.
See you next month,
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
We love mail. If you have any stories, ideas or photos send them to email@example.com