Past Exhibit - Kate Venus
(Walton Reading Room Display Case, Mullins Library
An exhibit of pyroengraved lagenaria gourds by Fayetteville artist Kate Venus. In her artist's statement, Venus declares, "I am the sole creator of each of the gourd pieces on display. No one assists me except for the people who grow some of the gourds that I use. I grow the majority of the gourds."
Venus explains her unusual medium: "Pyroengraving is a burning technique. I use a burning pen with interchangeable points to apply the entire design. I start with completely dried, hard-shelled gourds, species lagenaria. After removing the outer skin, I am ready to draw the basics of the design on the gourd freehand with pencil, or to reconstruct or sculpt the gourd in a different format from its natural growth. For instance, I attach a neck stem to a bowl bottom to make a figure form. When burning is completed, color from leather dye, wood stain, permanent ink, or paint may be applied. Also, beads or other objects may be attached depending on the piece. Interiors are finished with several coats of shellac. Exteriors are finished with a water-based UV protective varnish."
Venus adds that her inspiration "comes from a fascination with geometric patterns and a respect for the intelligence of nature. Ideas are sketched and developed on paper first, but especially in the case of the figures, the reconstructed gourd provides the inspiration for the design."
Kate has created gourd art since 1986. She has sold her work at shows ranging from the Southwest Arts and Crafts Fair in Albuquerque to the prestigious Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, D.C., three times winning Best of Show awards.