ALBURGH — Artist Cathy Bohannon grows her canvases.

Bohannon, 59, of Alburgh figured out how to successfully grow gourds in Vermont’s notoriously short growing season, and uses them, once dried and prepped, as the canvases for her creativity.

She learned the craft from Betsey Sloan, known as ‘The Pod Lady’ online, at the Black Cat gallery in Grand Isle in 2000. Bohannon said she already grew gourds at that point so the idea of being able to do more with them, beyond simple decoration in the fall, sparked her interest.

“When I found out I could grow my own canvas,” she said; “now that’s pretty amazing.”

The hobby has since then taken off, with her husband building an art studio in the family room and her finished work for sale at the St. Albans downtown gallery, Artist in Residence.

Bohannon said she would like to do more with her finished creations, perhaps sell them online on Etsy, but her full-time job doing property maintenance on an estate in the islands keeps her busy.

gourd art

This work by Cathy Bohannon is on display at Artist in Residence.

Bohannon’s love for gardening was passed down from her mother. Raised on a farm down by the bay in Alburgh, she and her five siblings helped their parents garden and preserve food for the winter every year.

“My mom, I think she could make anything grow,” she said. “She not only grew it, we canned it. We had a root cellar… It was amazing, just amazing. That was instilled in us.”

Bohannon carried the skill set into adulthood and now uses the knowledge to grow gourds in Vermont to many people’s surprise.

For the full story, pick up a copy of the Friday Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.