Gourd Girls, by Priscilla Wilson

Published in: GIA Reader, Vol 20, No 1 (Spring 2009)

Reviewed by John Killacky

Gourd Girls
Priscilla Wilson
2005, 220 pages
Mt. Yonah Press, Sautee, Georgia

Gourd Girls details an entrepreneurial odyssey that began thirty years ago when Priscilla Wilson and her partner Janice Lymburner left urban teaching jobs to create an artisan's niche centered on gourds. These two women learned from the ground up, literally, how to develop and manage an arts business predicated on running a small farm as well as how to build a lively community in rural Georgia. Initially closeted, the couple's coming out struggles with friends, family, and neighbors are eloquently captured. Wilson's candor in depicting their struggles to explore new directions, maintain an artistic practice, and balance retail realities illuminates myriad lessons pertinent to all artists.

Priscilla Wilson presented her work as part of GIA's pre-conference “Rural Arts Funding: Exploring a Hidden Landscape” track at the 2008 annual conference. She can be reached at pwjl@hemc.net or visit www.gourdplace.com.

John Killacky is program officer, The San Francisco Foundation, and also
a writer and independent filmmaker.