Born and raised in California, Sacramento has been Debby's home since 2009. She is a talented artist who incorporates her love of woodworking, ceramics and bead work into gourds. While her Cherokee and Choctaw ancestors used gourds for daily and ceremonial uses, it was at an art installation at San Francisco City Hall in 2000 that she saw gourds as fine art. Growing up around wild gourds as a child and using them for play, gourds became an obsession after seeing them on display . Debby has taught traditional rattle making workshops in Native communities throughout the Central Valley, including the Tule River Reservation near Porterville, CA. She has been a featured artist at The Crocker Art Museum’s, Maker’s Fair, Sacramento, CA. Chris Sorensen Gallery Fresno, CA and she is a former resident artist of Panama Pottery and MyStudio Sacramento, CA, presently a member of Blue Line Arts in Roseville, CA and Community Shop Class in Oak Park. Most recently She was featured on Channel 40's, Studio40 program. Debby also holds a position on the council with the Cherokees of the North Central Valley and is on the committee of the annual All Nations Craft Fair. Classes and demonstrations are available by arrangement. Debby is a mother of 3 grown children and has recently been honored with 3 grandchildren, River, Maverick and Letty.
Life has afforded me the opportunity to express my artistic abilities with different mediums like, paint, pencil, pastel, clay, wood, fabric, food and sound. For the last 2 decades gourds have taken center stage. Partly because I can do all of the above on a gourd, but also because gourds have brought me full circle. They were common and plentiful in my early life and it was during some of my tougher moments later in life they brought me comfort and strength helping me to return to basic understandings. I am deeply grateful for the humble little gourd.
Almost all of the gourds I use come from the southwest where the growing season is long with above average temperatures I've sometimes used gourds from other places but the places that grow the best for what I do. Gourd hunting is an all-day experience and isn't for the faint of heart. I usually go with a list of "intended" shapes or types I need. But something happens and I leave with not only what I had on the list, but a whole lot more that "inspired" me while shopping! It's never a quick trip.
By the time the work gets underway with a particular gourd, it may not be what I "saw" at the farm. As I look at it and hold it in my hands I may get a different vision. It is like being talked to or guided. Although I may not see the finished piece at the onset of design, it unfolds as I work. Sometimes I'm quite surprised by what transpires. It is for this reason that I may sit with a gourd for a while or work at home with a gourd instead of at my studio. The majority of my gourds come from Welburn's Gourd Farm in Fallbrook, CA or Wuertz Gourd Farm in Casa Grande, AZ. Both farms gown gourds that fit my specifications yet have their own unique qualities from each farm.
Natural and found objects are often incorporated in my work. Acorns from trees along the Mokelumne River, stones from various places and adventures, antlers found by my children near a pond in southern FL, leaves from places I want to remember, and things gifted or exchanged in a trade at an event have been incorporated into some of my finished pieces over the years. No 2 gourds are exactly the same and neither are the creations that are put on them. if you see something that sparks your interest or you have an idea for something, contact me. Wado (Thank you) for stopping by... Dondagohv (Until we meet again).