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  • April Gavin

Dancing on the Rim of the World

My anxiety has been very high. On Tuesday, the Bay Area woke up to the familiar smell of smoke from nearby wildfires. The smoke ebbs at times, but the collective panic fills the air. Berkeley remains safe from fire for the time being. I'm taking each day as it comes.


In the summer of 1992, I moved to the Bay Area. The only thing I remember about my first visit to Berkeley were the poems embedded in the sidewalk near Addison and Shattuck. My 21 year old self thought any city that would embed poems in the sidewalk must the coolest city ever. One poem was by the Ohlone who are the original inhabitants of the area. The poem is called Dancing on the Rim of the World.


I wanted to learn how to carve a gourd. I drew these dancing figures onto the gourd and carefully cut them out using a mini-jigsaw. Initially, I thought this would be a practice gourd; but as the project unfolded, it became more precious and something I wanted to complete and share.




The figures are meant to mildly suggest gender. Here is the bridge between the male-ish figures and the female-ish figures. It's hard being a bridge and reaching out to make a connection. May we all be as brave as these two.


I had never painted the inner part of a gourd. When I was prepping this gourd for carving, I sanded out the inside but maybe not as carefully as I could have. Once the gourd was carved though, it felt perilous to sand again. The gourds from Welburn Gourd Farms are thick, but I didn't want to chance it. Ink is best for painting the outside of the gourd. I used light to medium acrylic textile paint for the inside. The texture from the un-sanded areas provides interest.


I am super proud of this piece and it's barely 4" high and 6" in diameter. Gourd carving is addictive but requires planning. I'm already thinking of the next one I'll do.


One day I think I'll do a post about my favorite Georges. Y'all already know about one, but here's a video from my other favorite George. This video talks about life expectancy in the U.S. and how inequality may be killing us. The beautiful, rich voice you hear narrating is none other than George Takei. He's popularly known as Mr. Sulu from the original Star Trek, but he is also an activist and righteous man.


For the past twelve days, I've done a stitching meditation. I use a 4" piece of muslin, scrap fabric cut into basic shapes, and I stitch for 30-45 minutes. It helps to alleviate my anxiety and give me some peace. Stitching isn't for everybody, but how about this. Anyone can do this...


Only ten more weeks until the national election - remember to vote.


Back soon y'all with fresh art





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