Quail Creek resident Carol Signore knew practically nothing about gourds when she and her husband moved to Arizona in 2009. She was introduced to them through other gourd artists in Quail Creek and the immediate attraction helped her learn fast. So fast that she soon began entering juried competition and selling her work at local craft fairs and even galleries like Tubac Territories. This year Carol was thrilled to win top honors at the 2014 Arizona Gourd Festival in Casa Grande. Her winsome Spirit Figure, 40” tall Margot, took First Place in the Spirit Figure category, Best of Show in the Advanced Division and Sponsor’s Choice Award from the Wurtz Gourd Farm.
There’s a back story to Carol’s winning gourd that I think is better than all the ribbons. It’s a lesson in persistence for anyone tempted to give up when the going gets rough. Carol has a habit of naming her gourds, especially when they are representational. Margot was named in honor of one of our grandkids, our 10 year old, who happened to be visiting at the time of the piece’s completion. In a rushed moment during that weekend the gourd was accidentally knocked from the wall in a hallway where we had taken the real Margot’s photo beside her gourdy namesake. The huge gourd crashed onto the tile and shattered into over 20 pieces. Most of us would have retired Margot to the recycling bin and hit the Margaritas but Carol took a deep breath, set it all aside for a few days, and then began the arduous task of restoring Margot to her erstwhile glory. A month later the damage was so well disguised only she could tell you where the many cracks were hidden. Certainly the Judges in Casa Grande never knew they were there. Perhaps that’s the true difference between an artist and a hobbyist. I’ve come to see that my wife’s artwork is not really a hobby but rather something she loves and needs to do. Each piece is special to her. Our home is overflowing with the fruits of her creativity and I’m delighted we found a place like Quail Creek where she has the time and space to tap her talents.