Close to 25 years ago Carla Bratt attended her first gourd workshop in Berkely, California. Since childhood art had always held an integral role in her life, yet none of her past creative experiences would compare with the love affair she would eventually undertake with gourds. Gourds presented Bratt with an infinite number of shapes and endless numbers of sizes; complex curves, smooth surfaces and the golden glows of each one challenged her imagination. She realized that working with an organic object had it's own unqiue soul, providing an unlimited number of creative posssibilities and potentials.
Cutting, carving, burning, painting embellishing and weaving-Over the years Bratt has employed countless techniques on her gourds, most self taught and even some self invented, such as the use of encaustic wax applications . Using pyroengraving, painting, carving and metal leaf as a center, Bratt couples her creative intellect with processes from collage work, photography and printmaking to guide her artistic journey.
Finding her inspiration in quiet thoughts, random reflections and charming epiphanies, an individual gourd by Bratt might offer the viewer the timelessness of a Navajo rug, a creature of the deep sea or the mysterious iconography of ancient and diverse cultures. Each piece she produces is an attempt to capture a moment in the mind's eye through a splash of color, the smoothness of polished abalone or the flash of a bird's feather. Bratt also finds her inspiration in the trueness of nature's beauty, never forgetting how fragile our earth home is, but also honoring it's strength and resilience.
Along the path of Bratt's creative journey, she discovered the tradtional art of Japanese fish printing or "gyotaku". Working in both traditional and non tradtional ways with her fish prints, she offers delicate, realistic prints and fish print collage work mounted on board and canvas.
Recently, Bratt purchased an etching press and has set up a second studio, aside from her gourd art studio, to explore the world of printmaking. Her background in gourd design work has successfully transferred over to her print work. Eventually, Bratt's goal is to offer both fine art gourds and art prints, celebrating the exciting space between the heart and soul of human connectedness with nature, as well as with each other.
Now showing in West Coast galleries and retail stores, Bratt's work has also been published in two Lark Publication books : Beyond The Basics: Gourd Art and Gourd Art: Southwestern Techniques. Her work has achieved many awards and is found in collector's homes and businesses, both nationally and internationally.
"It has been such a long and rewarding process, this gourd art trip of mine. Along the way I have discovered myself, acquired life long friends, branched out to new art processes and learned to look at life's never ending connections and reconnections-all the while valuing the journey that continues to delight and surprise me.. Thre is not a moment in my life that holds a whisper of boredom!" Carla Bratt; fine art gourd artist, printmaker and multi media collage creator.