Iowa State Fair and the biggest Pumpkin
Every time I go to the Iowa State Fair I look at the schedule and figure out different things to see and do and eat. But there are also things I repeat every year because they are touchstones for me – they anchor all the variables that color the day. One such touchstone is seeing the largest pumpkin competition. These massive, hulking, blobs look like they are on a path to spread out flat and melt into the ground. They do not look much like the squash we carve jack-o-lanterns from. Why do they call to me?
I remember my first ugly pumpkin connection was in art school. Someone brought in this large off-color, blobby shaped pumpkin thinking they would draw it or paint the pumpkin itself. They did not want it anymore and were going to throw it out. I kept it thinking maybe I would use it in my art. What happened is I adopted this homeless pumpkin. It’s home became my table where all my paints were laid out and it kept me company for a whole semester. It never rotted in part because the heat was nothing to admire in the studio building and maybe because it liked my company as well. I never named it and I never sketched or painted it but I did admire its graceful, convoluted ugly personality every time I looked at it.
Fast forward to the Iowa State Fair and now I must see these huge wonders with their graceful lines and visit with them for a minute and honor my friend from long ago who silently and eloquently introduced me to strength and presence in a squash. What is ugly or not wanted or sad when alone is none of those things when added to one more. Go! Go and adopt your own ugly squash and learn what there is to learn.
I have pictures at last of my “Make Art Not Walls” sculpture. It needs a permanent home which is one of my current projects. Next art? I am at the delicious early stage where sketching could lead me in any direction. Next teaching? I am building something on Eric Evan Poiema Course with his permission. I will be looking for an on-line and in person test of the materials so if you are interested in participating let me know. I will be sending out another e-mail specifically about the class and asking again for volunteer participants.
Lastly when you visit my website next please “like” the page if you haven’t already.