ara and Larry Cornwell get inspired when they look at a gourd, and they have seen their share of the woody plants.
The Prescott couple are officially self-described Decorative Gourd Artists, and their work speaks for itself. Bold and beautiful leaf patterns stenciled, carved and scored into the body of gourds, and many more ornate styles, often with natural and wildlife accents.
“The thing I like about gourds is they are all different. No two are alike,” Sara says. “I look at the shape and size of a gourd and say ‘What am I going to do? Where am I going to go with this?’”
The Cornwells, operate Rock Creek Creations, and are one of many local artists on display at Art2 Gallery, 120 W. Gurley St., mezzanine level.
Each fall for 10 years, the couple would participate as Artists in Residence at Custer State Park in South Dakota.
Additionally, they have taught classes on the craft of decorative gourds and have served as educators at businesses, arts and craft shows, conventions and other events across the country. Each year they participate at the Arizona Gourd Show in Casa Grande.
Some of the most popular styles include the leaf patterns, with Japanese Maple, Oak and Maple topping the lists of popularity, Larry said. Prices for these one-of-a-kind works of art can range from $50 to $300 for custom work.
The gourds themselves come from across the country, including a farm in California, and an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania who cleans and prepares the gourds ready for the artists, Larry said.
Both Sara and Larry are retired from careers with Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. In 1989, Larry began wood carving and became quite accomplished at the craft. Sometime later, the couple attended a decorative gourd class together and they both loved it.
Larry likes the fact that most gourd projects take a couple of days, or less, compared to most wood carvings “which take much longer”, he said.
Sometimes, Sara will start and complete a gourd by herself. Other times, Larry might start one gourd and she may pick it up and complete the work, or vice-versa. They clearly enjoy what they do and working together at the craft of gourd decorating.
To view the Cornwells work, please visit Art2 Gallery at 120 W. Gurley St., on the mezzanine level, overlooking the courthouse plaza in downtown Prescott. For more information about the gallery, please call (928) 499-4498.
To see a comprehensive gallery of the Cornwells art, please visit their website at www.rockcreekcarvings.com