The June 2017 exhibit at The Dolphin Gallery features JoAnne Abreu and Barbara Dunsmoor. The opening night reception is on Saturday, June 3 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and the show runs through Sunday, June 25.
Working out of her home studio located in Albion JoAnne Abreu continues to shape gourds into distinctive art pieces. This show marks her fifth at The Dolphin dating back to 2004. Over the years her interest has shifted to working with embellished gourds, but her earlier experiences with basketry especially coiling continues to influence her creations.
Abreu says, “I have had a lifelong fascination with shapes and textures found in nature. I discovered hard-shell gourds in 1996. I’ve been working with them ever since.” Each piece begins with a study of the natural contours of a gourd, which she calls a wonderful gift of nature. By adding coils of waxed threads, beads, leather dyes, and colored papers, the gourd evolves into an artistic statement.
Her gourds have a rich texture with vibrant earth tones and graceful addition that accent the natural shape of each gourd. The final protective coating adds richness to the piece. For Abreu the entire process is a fascinating experience that is never repetitive and always leads to new insights that she finds personally gratifying.
Both critics and patrons have recognized her talent. She has won numerous prizes in the mixed media category of the annual Art in the Redwoods show and the Bay Area Basket Makers Guild has noted her technical skills.
Some examples of her work can be found on the web page for the Artists Co-op of Mendocino (ACM). One may also Google “Images for JoAnne Abreu” for more photos of her gourds. Abreu is a member of the Artists Co-op in Mendocino, www.artcoopmendocino.com and Scharffenberger Cellars winery in Philo also feature her work.
Over forty years ago Barbara Dunsmoor began quilting as an avocational creative outlet while she was busy raising a family. Like the traditional craft itself, her work has evolved from a practical pastime into an art form. Dunsmoor’s work has a magical quality that may suggest anything from the abstract patterns of Miro to the domestic serenity of Mary Cassatt.
Chronicling her evolution as a quilter Dunsmoor says, “I began as a very traditional quilter. I followed traditional patterns and primarily made bed quilts. My journey as a quilter mirrors the development of quilting from a practical craft to a recognized art from.” Although her pieces retain the traditional three layers of fabric sewn together that define a quilt, that’s where the process changes.
“The fabric I use can be cotton, silk velvet or even burlap. I embellish my quilts with anything from sparkling crystal beads to chicken wire. I often paint my fabrics and have been known to use combs, toothbrushes, or even sharpened sticks to obtain the desired texture.”
Dunsmoor adds, “I have given up large bed sized quilts in favor of wall hangings. They may be bound with fabric, placed under glass in picture frames or mounted on hand painted canvas. I am always looking for new ways to express what I want my quilts to say. However, I always focus on color and texture in my designs.
After she retired from a career as a high school English teacher and moved to The Sea Ranch in 2003, Dunsmoor joined the Pacific Piecemakers Quilt Guild and she attributes much of her growth as an artist to the influence of some amazingly creative people she met there who encouraged her to branch out and become more innovative. More information about PPQG can be found on their website, www.pacificpiecemakers.org.