I create art in order to express who I am and for the personal satisfaction and happiness it makes me feel. My art is actually an extension of myself, and reveals who I am. It's not about selling art but about the passion of creating something new that will make someone want to stop and think about what they are looking at, while appreciating and interpreting what I have created in their own way.

Gourds are my passion and I surround myself with gourds in my studio. Each one is a unique canvas and demands its own unique style and design. Some want a Native American look, while others lean towards an art nouveau or an art deco look. Its all in the gourd.

Gourds have been described as one of nature's greatest gifts to mankind and they have been used for thousands of years as containers, musical instruments, floatation devices, a source for artist's expression and much more. They are sometimes referred to as “nature’s pottery”.

I have been fascinated and hooked on gourds ever since I started growing them on a whim, from seeds I purchased. Each gourd has its own unique personality which dictates the design. Most of my designs are influenced by Native American and African pottery which are embellished upon by using dye, acrylic paint, wood stain, water putty, glass inlay, beads, clay, pyrography, carving, gold leaf, iron metal paint with patina and small bits of rusted car parts or rusty metal found on the beach or desert.

Each piece can take between 30 and 140 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the design. Sometimes a gourd is an experiment in a new technique in order to create a design for its specific personality.

Acrylic stain is used on the painted surfaces which enhances the gourd's natural markings. The work is finished with a UV resistant and moisture resistant varnish. All metal patinas are sealed with Permacoat Xtreme which chemically arrests the oxidized metal finish, minimizing any further corrosion.

I invite you to visit my website and please feel free to send your comments to mvelasquez815@hotmail.com . I am also available to do commissions so visit the “Contact” section for more information.