Gourds Adorned: Gail Ratliffe, Artist Biography

Gail Ratliffe was born in New Jersey and, from an early age, was fascinated by art, all artists, media, and associated media used to create art. Except for attending art school briefly as a child, she is self-taught. Now living in King George, VA, she grows most of the gourds used in her pieces from seed. Gail gives special thanks to the Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society for getting her started with gourd crafting and for all the years of encouragement!

Burrowing owls

Nature serves as her inspiration. Her work is done using a variety of tools and media, including lead pencils, pyrography, chalk and colored pencils, oil pastels, leather dyes, watercolors, professional markers, India inks, and acrylic paints. Stabilizing bases for her gourds (when used) begin with re-purposed plastic containers. Floral “collages” use gourds which can’t be used as a canvas, and depict nature’s opportunism! Most of her pieces are sealed with either polyacrylic or spar urethane which make them easy to clean with a soft brush or damp cloth. It’s not wise to submerge gourd art pieces in water to clean them!

All art is signed with the copyright mark she’s used since childhood— a lower case “g” bordered by two angled slashes with the date created under the slash to the right. She also numbers her pieces, starting with 001 each year.

Barn Owl

AWARDS: Artist “Best in Show”, Fredericksburg VA Art Festival, 2012; “Honorable Mention”, King George Art Guild, 2014

AFFILIATIONS: Juried Virginia Artisan; Member, American Gourd Society; Member, Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society; VLGS Gourd Patch Member, Fun with Gourds in Center Virginia; Former Member, American Society of Folk Artists; and Former Member of Colored Pencil Society of America.

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