Courtesy of Marilyn Peterie
A Springfield artist uses gourds as a canvas for her southwestern-themed creations.
Marilyn Peterie's artwork brings southwest style to Missouri. Motivated by work she discovered at a Colorado gallery in 2000, Marilyn read and researched the process of carving gourds before beginning to create her own design concepts in her home state.
Today, the Springfield resident travels the nation, collecting her supplies from numerous sources. She selects her gourds from farms in California and Arkansas, on a quest for the right variety; only large canteen types with thick skin to ensure sufficient design space make the cut and ride back to Missouri in a van crammed full of other winning models. Those lucky vegetables then enter into her workshop where they are transformed from ordinary to colorful and meticulously crafted pieces of art that capture the Southwestern spirit.
For Marilyn, the hardest part of her work is coming up with a design and continuing to go with it. Still, she says that “sometimes the gourd suggests what it ought to be.” So
Marilyn listens, designing everything from wall hangings and masks to vessels and lamps inspired by American Indian traditions. Her distinctive products are detailed with deeply carved lines and embedded with turquoise, feathers, stones, and antlers gathered from as far away as New Mexico and as close as Missouri backyards. Leaves, turtles, dragonflies, and other natural creations take shape on her handiwork, which is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
There’s no doubt that Marilyn loves what she does as she puts much effort into her creations. The process to perfection for each piece can take months to fully conclude, but the results are worth every hour spent hovering over the gourd to Marilyn.
Marilyn’s takes custom orders and has shown her work at numerous shows around the country including The Downtown Kansas City Art, The Best of Missouri Market at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and Artsfest in Springfield.