The Coastal Arts Guild (CAG) and Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA) welcomes Gourd Artist Louise Hemphill as it’s speaker for their January 2nd luncheon. This luncheon is held monthly on the first Thursday in the second-floor classroom of the Visual Arts Center located in Nye Beach. The event will begin at 11:00 and the program starts at 11:30 followed by lunch which this month will be pot luck. CAG invites those interested to attend.
Hemphill, a Newport based artist, will be discussing and demonstrating her decorative and functional gourd artwork. For me, gourds are a source of constant inspiration and artistic fulfillment,” says Louise Hemphill. “The joyful play is in watching the gourd evolve and emerge in my hands from something plain to a beautiful work of art.”
Hemphill begins by carefully preparing the gourd – washing, scrubbing and cleaning it inside and out. After it dries and its natural colors are exposed, she sits with the prepared gourd in “meditation” until it speaks to her and the “play” begins! “Sometimes the gourd calls me to weave threads into its already interesting surface, adding beads or shells or precious stones for further ornamentation,” she says. “Other times, I paint designs onto its surface–Indian motifs and tribal patterns in turquoise and other vibrant colors, or floral designs or flowing shapes. Sometimes the pulse of the ocean comes through and wavelike designs emerge or I cut into the gourd and change its shape, creating more contrast.”
A native Oregonian and long-time Nye Beach resident, Hemphill’s first career was that as an elementary school teacher in Newport for over 30 years. She’d always been drawn to art but never had the time to fully explore the possibilities of creative expression until she retired in 1997.
She apprenticed with potter Richard Cabral and studied watercolor with Joyce. Having grown up in Eastern Oregon with an affinity for the outdoors, in the early 2000s she began experimenting with wood and wood carving. She became fascinated with the images that emerged as she whittled, and then in 2016 in Peoria, Oregon, she discovered gourds.
Gourd decoration is an ancient tradition in Africa and Asia as well as among the indigenous peoples of the Americas, notably the central highland people of Peru, and the indigenous nations of the American Southwest and British Columbia. A variety of gourd shapes and sizes yields an array of art pieces, including ornaments, bowls, sculpture, vases, and wall art such as masks. Artistic styles can range from craft to fine art. You can currently view her work at the COVAS Showcase on the Second floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center.
For additional information and an invitation to attend CAG’s luncheon call Mary Holt at 541-765-4599. Seating is limited. There is a suggested donation of $10.00 for the luncheon for non-members. Holt can also provide information about the Coastal Arts Guild, a volunteer program that staffs the visual arts center and serves the arts community in Lincoln County. CAG welcomes new members and there is no membership fee.