Nancy J. Overmyer has been using gourds as an art form since 2002. Her gourd art is on exhibition at the Lee Dam Center for Fine Art throughout the month of August. The exhibition, “From Garden to Gallery: Handmade Gourd Creations,” opens Sunday, August 9, and closes Sunday, August 30.
The art center, 201 South 9th Street in Marysville, is open Thursdays 4-6 p.m.; Saturdays 10-4 p.m.; and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Admission is free.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Marshall County Arts Cooperative.
Overmyer creates pots, vases, sculptures, and jewelry all made from the natural form of the hard shelled gourd. Nature is the usual theme in the designs on her work. Her country home provides the perfect location to dream and create.
The gourd is often referred to as nature’s pottery. Overmyer is inspired by the shapes and colors of nature which surround her country studio. Gourds come in many shapes and sizes giving the artist an abundance of blank forms to experiment with and try new creative techniques.
Overmyer says letting the gourds’ natural patterns and colors peek through continues to be part of her design process. By using leather dyes and different inks she introduces colors that complement the tones of the raw gourd. All of her designs are original, free hand drawn, and then imbedded into the gourd with a wood burning tool or carver. Experimenting with unusual texture finishes can be found in her work.
When she’s not working on a whole gourd, Overmyer loves experimenting with the pieces left over from a project. These shards are the base for all her art jewelry. Several of her jewelry designs have been published in Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine. She has created an abundance of styles throughout the years and has yet to run out of ideas.
Overmyer’s most fulfilling part of creating and selling her gourd art is hearing the lovely stories from people who now wear a piece of her jewelry or have a gourd in their home.
Overmyer received her Bachelor of Science degree in Design from Kansas State University. Her main career for the last 21 years was working at Topeka & Shawnee Public Library. This is where she admits her gourd art passion started when she checked out three books on the topic and got hooked.
More information about the exhibition may be found at the arts cooperative’s website marshallcountyarts.org.