Each piece of our artwork is inspired by story, for the story is what connects us all.The creations you find here are from us, a husband and wife Artisan team from the Appalachia. We offer Contemporary Folk Art Paintings,Native Flute Music, Eastern Woodland Style Flutes, Folk Art and Spirit Dolls, Gourd Art, Gourd Jewelry, Drums and Rattles, and Animal Totem Stones. Here on our blog you can find the symbolic meanings behind our artwork, and animal totem meanings.
Sometimes we feel stuck in life. Maybe it's the season, often winters can make us feel that way. Maybe it's the life events that are surrounding us, ours or someone Else's. And maybe it's our own ups and downs, the changing of our own rhythms, those times when we feel a lack in our own personal power.
These are the times when I look to the Horse Totem. Recently I have gone back to visit the horse and his symbolism, doing so in physical life and within my artwork. Many times the way that I work with a totem is by painting them. The more I paint them, the more I can connect with their energy.
The Equine Journey by Jeanne Fry
Horse Totem Symbolism
Long ago when the Horse was befriended to assist in our travels, he was looked at as a freeing agent. He could take you away from your little corner of the world and take you to unknown places. He would be your guide as you explored mysterious lands, not only on the physical plane but on a spiritual plane. Horse would remind you of the expansiveness of the Universe and of your own soul. As you rode, Father Wind would blow through your hair and across your face and cleanse you of stagnancy.
The Horse offered a balance of not only stepping on this Earth, but also of connecting with the Sky. He confirms that all things are possible and that we are all truly important in the grand scheme of things. In essence All Things Are Possible.
The ride can invigorate the Spirit, and draw one away from feelings of being stuck. His soul and his lessons are so strong, that just standing with him...looking in his eyes....and stroking his cheek can have the same effect. He reminds us of the freedom that is possible within this vessel that we live in - that our soul's are boundless.
Working with the Horse Totem
When I sat down to work with the horse, the first painting I did last week was of "Running Horse" on a gourd art bowl. He spoke to me of Strength.
"Running Horse" Gourd Art Bowl - SOLD
This weekend I painted my second, "The Equine Journey", a pair of running horses. When examining them I see that the second feels more freeing, more earnest in his sprint. It has a feeling of the wildness and of the Run.
"The Equine Journey" Gourd Art Bowl - For Sale
I now anticipate the next Horse painting and the lessons that will come.
This week I have been working on several new gourd art pieces, bowls and ceremonial rattles. This particular gourd bowl began speaking to me before I even sat down at the work table, and I knew that I wanted to bring a horse to life on this earthen canvas. I wanted the Horse itself to a flowing feel of movement to it within its design.
Since I had created a rich dark background on the bowl itself, I wanted the Horse to be full of Light, a striking contrast. I wanted the colors to feel like the wind and sky, to hold a crisp coolness as if you could feel the wind as you were running with him.
Running Horse Symbolism: He teaches us the importance of being true to
ourselves. You must seize each moment of every day and make it your own.
Stand with strength and be determined about your destination and your
dreams, and then run towards them. Take the journey and claim your space
in the World.
I am more than ready for this long dismal winter to be over. This one has been a particularly difficult one on my psyche, challenging me daily to be vibrant amidst a landscape that is like a blanket of brown and grey bleakness. Spring is around the corner and every once in a while Mother Nature will tease us with her sunny warmth. I'm anticipating the new season more than ever, and looking forward to blossoming life and the dance of colors. A trip to the Gourd Farm yesterday was a definite must, bringing us one step closer to Spring and getting ready for some art shows.
Why make the trip?
I always opt to physically go to the farm to get my gourds instead of ordering them online. Keeping that human connection with the grower and being able to see the process of how the gourds get from the garden to your studio makes your creation even more meaningful. By supporting local, I can see how the money stays within and supports that family and our community.
When we arrive, we are always first greeted by the guardians of the farm, the dogs. All of them are friendly, and of course if you pet them they are then your constant companions while you are choosing your gourds.
Cleaning of the Gourds
While I have made many trips to the farm, this time I was able to see a part of the production process that I haven't been able to witness before. The farm offers gourds that are cleaned and ready for you, and they do a pretty good job considering the amount of gourds they are working with. Very rarely I will have to do some cleaning, but most times the gourds are ready to work with. This is one of the things that I am most appreciative of with this grower, because cleaning gourds can be the most labor intensive part of doing gourd art.
As I started walking to the pole barn, there were a bunch of gourds in the metal tub getting a bath. I would love to have this set up for gourd cleaning, so effective and time saving.
Choosing of the Gourds
We gather many different types of gourds because we have an array of different artwork that we create with them. We choose large African Bushel, Bushel Basket, and Kettle Gourds for creating our Gourd Art Bowls. In crafting our Ceremonial Rattles we use Apache Dippers, Long and Short Handle Dippers, Goose Neck and Water Jugs. My Folk Art Gourd Dolls are crafted with all sorts of gourds, but I mostly use Chinese Bottle Gourds, Banana Gourds, and Goose Neck Gourds. African Bushel Gourds of a large size are used for our frame drums. Then of course we create pendants and jewelry from the gourds. We use the scraps from all types in doing so, but will also choose some nice Zucca Gourds and Cannon Ball Gourds.
The farm separates their gourds by type making it easy for them and visitors to find what they are looking for.
Walking through the barn looking at all the gourds could be compared to walking through an art supply store and looking at canvas. As you pick them up and check them for thickness and integrity, you begin thinking about what that "specific" gourd could become and all of its possibilities. Whenever I may be feeling a creative block, a walk through the gourd farm can pull me out of it before I leave. By the time we are back in the car for the drive home, I have a list of themes and ideas for our gourd gathering in the back seat.
Once home I am ready to begin working with them. We grab pencils and start marking what each of them will be so that the cutting, grinding, shaping, and inside cleaning is more efficient. Over the next several weeks it looks as if we have a gourd factory, with various works stations set up to handle their processes.
Now, these two really spoke to me at the farm, although I am not entirely sure what they will become. They are wild cards...and the magic will be revealed later.