Fine Gourd Art

Chickasaw Culture Keepers

Chickasaw artist Donna Welch recounts her two-decade journey of crafting art from gourds. From the very first gourd she crafted Welch has held a passion for this unique artform. "It was like a connection I couldn't explain," says Welch. Also known as Dancing Star, Welch describes the different types of gourds she works with and the various types of art she transforms them into, including rain and thunder gourds. At the core of Welch's work is a combination of beauty, utility and history. Obvious beauty as shown through her meticulous designs. Utility in the forms of drums, storage and other sundry uses. And a purposeful history aimed at keeping tradition alive, with a new modern twist. "Our ancestors would have used the gourds for drums or rattles, however, this is a new take on what our ancestors would have done," says Welch.