Close to 25 years ago, fine art gourd artist & printmaker, Carla Bratt attended her first gourd workshop in Berkeley, California. Since childhood, art has 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, a diversity of sizes, as well as complex curves, smooth surfaces and a golden surface glow, which have all challenged her imagination. She realized that working with such an organic object, had it's own unique soul, providing uncharted creative posssibilities and potentials. She began using fine art gourd techniques such as;cutting, carving, burning, painting, embellishing, and weaving on her gourds. Over the years, Bratt has also employed many new techniques on her gourds,mostly self taught and a few self invented, such as the use of encaustic wax applications and sculptural totem work. Using pyroengraving, painting, carving, and metal leaf applications, as a center, Bratt couples her creative intellect with processes from collage work, photography and printmaking to further guide her artistic voice.
Finding her inspiration in quiet thoughts, random reflections, and charming epiphanies, an individual fine art gourd by Bratt, might offer the viewer the timelessness of a Navajo rug, a beautiful creature of the deep sea, or some mysterious iconography of an ancient culture. Each piece is an attempt to capture a moment in the mind's eye through a splash of color, the smoothness of a wind polished rock, or a 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 art of Japanese fish printing or "gyotaku". Working in both traditional and non tradtional ways;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 fine art gourd studio; to explore the world of printmaking. Her background in gourd design work has successfully translated to her print work. Eventually, Bratt's goal is to offer both fine art gourds and an extended line of 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 been published in two Sterling Publication books: Beyond The Basics: Gourd Art and Gourd Art:Southwestern Techniques as well as Fox Chapel's Complete Book of Gourd Carving, Revised & Expanded (please see Links page). 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 journey, this wonderful art path 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. It has taught me to also value the "now" moments of my world that constantly bring me so many delights and surprises. There is not a moment in my life that holds a whisper of boredom!" Carla Bratt, fine art gourd artist & printmaker