About the Artist
Entrepreneurs usually measure business success with financial growth. Devon Cameron, an award winning artist from New York, measures business success by the growth of vines called lagenaria, aka hard-shelled gourds.
Though related to cucumbers and pumpkins, hard-shelled gourds have the strength, durability, and look of wood. Gourds have a rich history and have been used through the ages to store grains, hold liquids, play music, and purchase goods.
Cameron, a music therapist by trade, looked upon her first garden-grown gourd and recalls hearing Mother Nature whisper, "Kitty Cat," though she admits it may have been a creaky gate. Before long Cleo the Gourd Cat hit the local craft scene. Cleo's rotund body is adorned with swirling goldfish and a mischievous smile. Cameron attributes Cleo's body mass index to her sedentary lifestyle. Rooster, the second design to join the Gourdaments collection, debuted at The Arts and Crafts Festival at Lincoln Center in 2003 and soon became a best seller in the Folk Art venue.
Cameron's bedroom workshop in Circleville, NY, overflowed with orders for cats and roosters. Visitors were greeted with (paint brush in hand and offered) a place to sit on the bedroom floor. Friends and Family were frequently invited to Gourd-washing parties. where good food, fresh coffee, and, lots of grimy gourds abounded. "At first these parties were a success. I mean, how often are you invited to a gourd-washing party? It may not have been glamorous, but it was novel." Gourd washers soon dwindled and Cameron began purchasing washed gourds from Amish farmers in Lancaster, PA.
Devon Cameron has upgraded her bedroom studio to a workshop beside her house (though she often prefers to paint in front of British murder mysteries on PBS). Her work has been showcased in many galleries including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian's American Art Museum Gift Shops. Cameron is fascinated by the gourd art created in other cultures and countries. "Mother Nature has spread these wonderful creations of hers all over the world, enabling artists to present their unique cultures through gourd art. Art breaks down superficial barriers between nations and unites the creative human spirit in all of us. So, through Mother Nature's first, simple utterance of 'kitty cat,' I have discovered her more enduring message: 'peace through art.'"