Have a seat right there. Gotcha a warm cuppa? Are you comfy? Okay! Well, goodness where do I start?
The Black Swamp Gourdess is a moniker I chose because I live in the Flatlands of NW Ohio where the former Black Swamp resided. She hasn’t totally disappeared. She whispers in the gurgles of the land after rain. You find evidence of her in waterlogged farm fields and ditches full to their britches with rainwater. Gourdess comes from, well you’re smart, gourds! I was introduced to them sometime in 2004. A friend of mine and I were selling things (I made dream pillows back then) at The Unity Church’s parking lot sale in Michigan. She brought this wondrous being called Gourd Woman. She whispered of adventures, something new and potentially life-changing. Once I heard, “You could make Gourdesses!” I was hooked. My friend (thank you Laurie!) sent her home with me. She has a special place of honor in The Lair (my workspace) because it’s her doing that I now play with gourds. If you’d like to jump forward and read the list of fun facts and tidbits about me, please click here. Otherwise, continue onward.
I love hard shell gourds’ shapes and how they lend themselves perfectly for doll making. I never imagined that I’d get so much pleasure out of making dolls or doll-like sculptures. But, here we are many many turns around the sun later and I’ve gone full circle to one of my childhood loves.
Ah childhood, that time in my life that was not all rainbows and unicorns in the real world. However, it was full of adventure and fun in the world of play. I loved Barbie dolls, my brother’s GI Joes, Star Wars action figures, and stuffed animals. My favorite doll of them all was an extra-large Raggedy Ann that would ride shotgun in the basket on my bicycle. Ragdolls are special creatures. Stuffed animals would morph into mountain ranges. Barbie dolls would magically remove their heads before swimming (Mom said don’t get their hair wet). The nub that holds their heads in place would become their special “swimming” head. After a jaunt in the pool they would put their every-day regular head back on, hair dry and intact. I thought it was rather clever.
Looking back, my childhood was full of imagination and thinking outside the box in play. Pine trees became ships, bicycles were cars, chunks of snow became beasts to hunt as my brother and I traversed the wilds of the North. And then, I grew up. I caught a terrible case of FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s taken a lot of years to get rid of that. Do you know what jump-started my imagination and opened it up to a full-on woosh again? My kids.
I had kids later (31 and 33) in life. I became a stay at home Mom. My son would say something and a story would pop into my head. Spiders became Spider Faeries collecting the early dew to make dewdrop tea. Tangles in your hair after sleep were left there by the Snarly Monster. There were made-up silly songs at bedtime, over twenty nicknames for the kids each and our family famous Twelve Days of Swartzmas. This was sung (caterwauled) the day after my birthday (December 13th) up to Christmas morning with a new verse added each day.
Take all of THAT, mix it up with a love of odd, peculiar and wyrd things and you have the perfect recipe for visiting wild worlds full of odd, peculiar, and uncommon beasties and beings. Welcome. Welcome to my world.
As mentioned above, here’s a list of fun facts and tidbits so you can get to know me a bit more
I’m the Room of Snacks Manager in The Land of Lunch by day.
Pet Hooman of 2 Calicos, 1 Tux, 1 Void, 1 Hell Hound & 1 Sausage Dawg
G’Ma to 1 Daemoness inhabiting the body of a Tortie Feline
Favorite color is purple (deep dark purple) add swash of orange & I’m swooning.
I am an unabashed fan of ’80s/’90s/2000 & up club music.
I ADORE/LOVE/AM CRAZY ADDICTED to RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Ditto the above for Boulet Brother’s Dragula.
I love mind-bendy outside of the box people.
I will have a VW minibus one day. I WILL!
I can inhale ice cream at an unholy speed without nary a brain freeze. It’s a curse and a blessing.
I can’t hold a tune or note but caterwaul with the best of them.
I enjoy music at ear blistering levels.
I love shoes that are wearable works of art. I can’t wear them but I love them!
I love teenagers. Really. Really.
I’m in touch with my inner teenager way too much.
I’ve been grounded to my room by my kids for being too hooeyish.
And finally, this Haiku. It sums up how I try to look at the world.
The Door Knob
I grasp the cold brass.
What lies behind the doorway?
Magic or mundane?
©Tracy Swartz January 16, 2010