Michele Tejuola Spindle

I am a contemporary craft artist whose work tells the African and African American experience through story. My chosen media, American gourds and African calabashes, offer a three-dimensional canvas that connects me to the land and stories that inspire me.

INSPIRATION- Stories drive me. My early work was inspired by stories from West African folklore and mythology. In recent years, my focus has shifted to sharing stories that connect to my ancestral past and capture my experiences as an African American woman.

MY METHOD- Using a power tool, I carve images and words into gourds. I use vibrant acrylic paint to add depth and detail.

a) I usually start with a story I want to use, choose a gourd, sketch the idea on paper, use a pencil to draw the images on the gourd, carve (Dremel) and then paint it.

b) Or I’ll choose the gourd first, that may have a shape I really like, then choose a story for it or create a design made with shapes. It really goes back and forth.

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