The Uncommon Gourd
Mixed media gourd art
October hours: daily 10–5
Year round by appointment
Rosey Bolte’s dad introduced her to the idea of painting on gourds over 30 years ago.
“He brought a gourd from the family farm in Tipton County to my house in Brown County, suggesting I give it a try,” Rosey says. “I quickly discovered the many beautiful things one can create with a gourd.”
Rosey is a self-taught artist who is inspired by the natural shapes of the gourds, but is also influenced by her trips to Mexico and the American Southwest.
“I am in the authentic tradition of folk artists who developed their own style, which originates outside of formal instruction,” Rosey explains.
Raised on a farm in northern Indiana, she has lived in Brown County for most of her adult life, and her art emerges from her surroundings.
“I have always loved the hills, the colorful trees & the wildlife,” Rosey says.
For many of her gourds, she uses a Sassafras twig, and near her studio, there are many Sassafras trees with fallen limbs for her to choose from.
“My hiking in the woods is a business trip!” Rosey adds.
Her gourds also come from her impressive garden. Lately, she’s been experimenting with new ways of growing the gourds she uses in her artwork.
“I’m working with new methods & timing for sprouting the gourd seeds,” Rosey says, “as well as bed preparation, watering & weed control.”
After harvesting the gourds, drying them and cleaning them, Rosey sculpts with Paperclay on the gourds to create the shapes of her roosters and hens, as well as songbirds, owls, foxes and cats.
Over the 30 years she has made gourd art, she has never stopped inventing. Lately she’s been expanding the varieties of animals she makes, as well as working in new color palettes.
Rosey also creates holiday themed gourds, including Halloween ghouls, Santa Clauses and snowmen.
But her favorite gourds to make might be her Day of the Dead gourds, decorated skulls inspired by trips to Mexico.
“I’ve been excited to create new pieces in the Day of the Dead motif,” Rosey says.
These new pieces, alongside all of Rosey’s other whimsical work, will be on display in her home studio, The Uncommon Gourd, during the entire month of October during the Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour.
Visitors to her studio can also see Rosey demonstrate most steps in her process.