Gourding it up, part one

Some of the projects you see on the Fanciful Lobster are quite recent; others, like this one, were finished several months ago, even longer. Generally I like to keep several completed posts on file at any given time, in case things get busy and I don't have time to write on a regular basis. This means then, that some projects get their moment in the Fanciful Lobster spotlight postponed.

Oh well. Let's talk about gourds now.

Generally I don't work with sketches from the past, I prefer to base my works in my current setting, but gourds have a particular symbolic significance to me. Gourds to me connote the home, domesticity, and warmth. As a child I carved jack o'lanterns with my family, and I always looked forward to the holidays with pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies (yes, they exist, and they're incredible), and other winter-squash dishes.

So if you haven't figured it out by now, this project is all about gourds.

I translated some old sketches into Plexiglas drypoints, since that material is readily available in town, and I can easily cut it to the size of my choosing. I bought several sheets of 8" x 10" Plex, and then sliced them in half to 8" x 5" rectangles. Eight divided by five equals 1.6, which is close to 1.618, which is the golden ratio, or phi. In other words, I wanted harmony and balance, the things I associate with a peaceful home, to underlie the entire composition, so I decided to fit my original sketches around the golden ratio.

Next, I traced the outline of the Plex onto some paper in order to determine how the original sketches would be adjusted in order to fit harmoniously into the smaller space. Using my compass and ruler, I created a series of circles, triangles, and other shapes within the rectangles. I then marked out the major points of intersection for these shapes.

From there, it was a matter of drawing out the gourds using the intersection points as guides. Creating a geometric grid allowed me to idealize the compositions and enhance their sense of flow and balance.

Once I penciled them in, I outlined the gourds with a sharpie, which bled through the paper. Since intaglio prints in reverse, I was able to trace the mirror image on the back on the page to ensure that the final print would face the same direction as the original sketch.

Here's one sketch, with the Sharpie bleeding through the back of the paper:

And here's the other:

Drawing out the Plexiglas plate entailed the usual patience and tedium, but it's always worth the effort. Next week we'll print these guys out.