A Show of Hands - The Art of Karin Anderson

Karin Anderson is a doll and gourd artist living in Georgia with her husband, John.  Karin works as a nurse and John is a respiratory therapist.  They hope to retire in the next few years.  

Karin has brought her unique perspective and talent to gourd dolls and gourd animals.  Her use of warty gourds to make animals is amazing.   She does not have a website, but you can see her work in the pictures below and the Georgia Gourd Society Website festival pictures.  You can contact Karin at praisethegourd@windstream.net  

I've been fascinated by the expressive hands, paws, and claws on her creations.  

While we were manning the Georgia Gourd Society Booth at the Georgia National Fair, I imposed upon Karin to show me how to make hands.

The supplies to create the hands are: 22 gauge or 26 gauge wire, wedding floral tape, Elmer's Glue, paint brush, wire cutter, and needle nose pliers.   

1.  Cut a 2 foot + length of wire.  Near one end of  the wire and twist to make a circle.  The circle forms the palm of the hand.  
Leave enough wire extending from both sides of the twist at the base of the circle to make the thumb and fingers. 

(Karin uses a much longer piece of wire when making both hands.  She runs the wire through the gourd body and gourd arms  that are made from cut dipper gourds - then she makes the hands.  This gives strength and stability to the piece.)

2. Loop the wire up along the wire palm (circle) and twist to form the thumb.

3. Take the other leg of the wire at the bottom of the circle and loop it through the circle and twist to form the index finger.

4.  Repeat this process until you have formed all of the fingers.  You will note in the picture that the wire has been looped through the circle to anchor the fingers.

Here are the photographs that I took of each step

5. Begin wrapping the wire form with the floral tape.  The tape will stick to itself as you pull it tight.

6. Be sure to create the bulge at the base on the thumb on the inside of the palm. (A small coiled piece of the tape will do the trick)

7.  Paint the outside of the hand with glue as you wrap the form with more layers of the floral tape. (Thin the glue as needed)

8.  To form nails at the end of the fingers use built up layers of the glue. 

In 2011 Karin and I shared the GGS demonstration booth  at the Georgia National Fair.   She was in a hurry to take pictures.  I suggested several of the art of the fine art and folk art pieces to photograph.   

At lunch she headed the hog barn to photograph the pigs.  Huh? Pigs? I didn't know that she was a livestock breeder or admirer.   

So I had to ask WHY?......  For a gourd hog of course!  To the right below you see the porker perfection created using the photos.

Using a gourd body and cut gourd parts to create the forms, Karin uses paper clay and water colors to complete her gourd art works.   

Below are composites of some more of Karin's gourd art.

Article by Reggie Eakin
Photographs by Reggie Eakin, Sarah Moon, and Chris Tatum 
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