As a member of Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts in the Cotton Exchange in Wilmington NC, I have the pleasure of working with 20 other artists in a multitude of mediums. I showed views of the gallery and listed all the artists a few weeks ago right here in my blog.
Today I showcase the work of Dianne Masi of Coastal Pine Creations. We worked together at the gallery on Saturday, and as always, we enjoyed the collegiality and sharing of creative energy. While I knitted, she worked on coiling the rim of a gourd that she had already cleaned, painted, punched, and designed. It is just another of her unique gourd creations; it still needed a base and a decorative piece added to the front. I was witness to the time needed to complete one of these artistic masterpieces. I wish I had had my camera with me to record the process.
But I had asked Dianne earlier to complete an interview questionnaire, so I am happy to share that and photos of her work here.
1. What is the name of your shop and what do you sell?
The name of my company is Coastal Pine Creations. This name is used mostly when I teach at basket conventions throughout the southeast with my creative partner Dory Maier. I create one-of-a-kind gourd and pine needle art and sell through galleries; I do not have a storefront.
2. Where are you located?
I am originally from Cheshire, CT but since 2000 I live in Hampstead, NC.
3. Do you have your own website/store – or where do you sell?
At some point I hope to have a website under Coastal Pine Creations but for now I sell at Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts in downtown Wilmington, NC and at Topsail Art Gallery in Surf City, NC which is on Topsail Island.
4. How long have you been doing your craft/art and how did you get started?
I am going into my ninth year of creating and teaching gourd and pine needle art. I have always had a love for crafts, and when I relocated to North Carolina I met my friend Dory Maier who taught me the process of coiling pine needles. Seeing the pine needles coiled on gourds, my creativity was unleashed. When people see my gourd art they are more likely to think of pottery until they pick it up.
5. Who or what inspires you to create?
Nature and other artists inspire me. Gourds and pine needles combined with seedpods and other natural fibers are very organic. I find that when I am outside either gathering pine needles or even when I travel, I look at nature through different eyes than before, wondering if I can incorporate that odd shaped twig or pod into a new creation.
Artists inspire me when I talk to them or see their creations. I might look at a piece of jewelry and wonder how I can add a piece of wire to a gourd; a blown piece of glass and wonder if I can get the same flow in a gourd; a fiber artist who knits and I can see the texture of the yarn in the coils of my gourds.
6. Do you listen to music/watch TV when you work and if so what?
When I work in my garage cleaning, cutting or drilling my gourds I listen to Classic Rock & Roll. Being that I am a baby boomer I love the 70’s music. When I am coiling, usually in the afternoon or evening I have the TV on but you will usually hear me saying that there is nothing “good” to watch.
7. What do you like least/most about your craft?
The thing I like least is scrubbing and cleaning gourds inside and out. After a day of scrubbing two dozen gourds to prep for classes, my hands ache.
The thing I love the most is working on a gourd and developing a new idea. Whether it comes out as I planned or not, it is always a learning experience.
8. Describe your workspace.
I really have three different workspaces:
- A spare bedroom which my husband helped me convert into a work area by hanging one of the old counters from our kitchen in there so I have a place to paint and set resin centers.
- The garage and shed where I cut and clean gourds and in general the back yard where I sort pine needles and spray finish coats on the gourds.
- The living room where I do 95% of my coiling of baskets and gourds.
9. What is one of your best moments as a crafter/artist?
Being appreciated and recognized as an artist and having people understand my work as well as being able to teach and pass this craft on to other people.
10. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about starting their own craft business?
Have a plan, be open-minded and persevere – it doesn’t happen overnight.