Interview with Member Artist Margaret Sullivan
What is your medium and why did you chose it?
Gourd Art - When I moved to the Phoenix area 20 years ago, I had just retired and spent most of my time playing tennis and golf. After spending many of my days "playing," I decided to try to find something more fulfilling. I was at a cocktail party and saw a gourd on the host's coffee table and my love of the gourd came about. I loved the dirty things and spent hours figuring out what to do with them. Today, I still don't know what I love the most - the masks with their array of feathers, the whimsical "people" gourds or the vessels with the many ways of inlaying precious stones or carving or wood burning, or the combination of all.
How long have you been making art?
19 years of gourd creating - before that, and still, I am a quilter.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere - books, other people, walking on the street, seeing a cloud in the sky - nothing should have only one meaning.
What does your studio look like?
My studio is a mess - however, when people come for workshops and are invited into my studio, they are almost always in awe and express the desire to have one that looks the same. I never restrict myself to a "studio," however - I can be found in my kitchen, on the patio or in the garage where all my tools are.
What is your favorite time of day to make art?
Do you listen to music or have complete silence when you work?
I love the silence and do not need background noise of any kind.
Describe your creative process.
Because gourds need to be cleaned outside, opened up (normally) and cleaned inside, I usually clean 4-20 times, depending on time so that when I want to start a new piece of art, I have plenty of "gourd canvasses" to work from. I normally start out with only the mild beginning of an idea and build on it as I go.
What else would you like people to know about you or your art?
I try never to completely duplicate a piece of art, there may be similarities, but not an exact duplication. I work very hard to only use natural feathers, although I'm beginning to experiment with handmade feathers and, hopefully, some feathers made of paper and/or fabric.