Bonnie Leigh

Posted on September 29, 2009 by Sawdust Art Festival

A Native Californian, Bonnie comes from a long line of professional artists. Her first museum show, some forty years ago, at the Bowers Museum in Orange County, awarded her first place and an honorable mention. The first place piece also won the tour of the US which took 5 years to be returned to her. That was the beginning of many such award that continue to the present.

Her interest in wildlife and nature provides her with a never-ending source of material for her sculptures and carvings. Her wonderful personality and excellent creative talents have led her to many teaching positions in California and elsewhere around the country.

The subject matter of her art is life in a multitude of forms: plants, animals, and occasionally fantasy such as her leather dragons. Her ability to render these complex and interesting creatures comes from the hands-on experience, in caring for animals, both tame and wild.

She has worked in a multitude of medias ranging from copper, mosaics, enameling, sculpting leather, and hand-carving many varieties of wood. The lush animal forms that adorn her gourds may look as if they’ve always lived there.

The process of preparing the gourds and carving them is tedious and time-consuming. Depending on the size, some of them can take up to a year to dry before the artist can start her carving. Using a number of different instruments, each figure and plant is carved, some in relief form before adding any color.