Monday, August 15, 2011

Grants Support National Presentation of Artwork: Brenda Dewald

By Steffin Schoeppel, intern
Brenda Dewald, Walnut Wonder, Hand Dyed Kettle Gourd, Pine
Needles, Brown Sinew, Wheat Stitch, Walnut Slices 7 1/2”x9”x9” 
Actively pursuing advanced training and opportunities to meet a national audience, Brenda Dewald, received an Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Educational Grant in April and Professional Basics Grant in July.

For her education grant project, she attended classes for three days at the Welburn Gourd Festival in Fallbrook, CA. With the assistance of the grant, Dewald improved her skills, harnessed inspiration and learned from some of the nation’s leading gourd artists.

When interviewed, Dewald spoke anxiously about getting back to work at her studio. “I have a notepad full of ideas and a suitcase full of new equipment to bring my ideas to life. In September, I will be attending the Western Design Conference Show in Jackson Hole, WY. This will be my next opportunity to present my new design elements to the public,” Dewald said.

Being relatively new to the ‘gourd art’ world, but not necessarily new to art. Dewald, who began painting with oils in high school then later experimented with a number of mediums including fiber and other natural based arts forms, stumbled into the field of gourd art. “I quickly realized that I could combine a lot of my learned skills from past art experience into this art medium,” Dewald said. “I submitted my new found gourd art to several juried shows and found that others loved my work just as much as I did and it started selling! I work in my studio almost every day. With each finished piece I see improve and with each day I become more efficient with my time.” 
Brenda Dewald, RosieHand Dyed Tall Body Gourd, Pine Needles,
Natural Sinew, Split Stitch, 
All of Dewald’s devoted studio time and growth in her field is starting to pay off. Prior to going to the festival Dewald submitted photos of her work as entries for the cover of the Welburn Gourd Farm 2011-2012 Catalog competition and her piece titled “Spittoon” was selected for the cover of the new catalog. Catalogs were distributed at the festival and will be used throughout the year by the Welburn Gourd Farm.

Dewald said, “I love taking something that is overlooked and creating something that is beautiful in the eye of the beholder! I must say that a gourd straight out of the field is not a pleasant sight. It’s black with mold and dirt. It can be covered with gourd warts, deep gouges, or sometime it grows in a disfiguring shape. But with a little cleaning and care the gourd begins to develop its own personality and the very traits that were once unattractive become the most attractive and enticing part of the art piece.”

With passion for her art, and gained knowledge from attending the Welburn Gourd Festival, Brenda Dewald continues to grow and strive in her field. To view more of her work, please visit her website

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition provides artist project grants for growing artists’ careers, creative projects and exceptional continuing education. The next application deadline is October 15. Find guidelines and application here

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