Las Cruces, NM - On this edition of PUENTES, bridges to the community, host Emily Guerra meets with Las Cruces Arts Fair Chairperson and Board member of the Doña Ana Arts Council, Marcia Starich, and Gourd Artist and Las Cruces Arts Fair participant, Kathe Stark.
For over 4,000 years indigenous artists of the Americas have used a hard-shell squash or gourd as an art medium. Although many cultures still use gourds for utilitarian purposes, the ancient tradition has evolved from creating eating utensils and intricate ornaments to collectable fine art.
Stark describes working with gourds: “Well I always said I should name my business “out of her gourd,” but somebody already had that name. You know a gourd is like a pumpkin, except that it dries hard like wood. And so you can do anything with a gourd that you can do with a piece of wood, my preference is to carve on them, so I do very detailed carving, I make Kachina like maidens and guardian dolls. And every gourd I pick up is a challenge.”
But not all gourds are alike, Stark prefers to use gourds grown in California: “For the kind of work that I do I’m looking for a very thick shelled gourd, and you can’t grow those in New Mexico consistently, we get too hot and we’re too dry. So they come out of the mountains in California because they can grow very, very thick.” Her gourd art is available on Facebook at K-Star Gourd Creations.
Starich says there will be 100 artists and musicians at this year’s 6th Annual Las Cruces Arts Fair which will open at 5 p.m. at the Las Cruces Convention Center on Friday, March 18th and runs through Sunday, March 20th. She exclaims, “It’s a fabulous show, we get artists from all over the United States, and we’ve got participating artists from Mexico, and we’ve got entertainment this year, and it will be continuous entertainment.”
The Las Cruces Arts Fair is presented by the Doña Ana Arts Council, for more information visit www.DAArts.org. Tickets may be purchased online at www.RioGrandeTheatre.com or by calling (575)523-6403; children ages 12 and under are admitted free of charge.