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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Countless Possibilities

Gourd artist, Margaret Sullivan, inspired by the palette of the great Southwest, creates her brilliantly detailed compositions into music for your eyes. Her gourds are sculpted using dyes, paints, beads, precious stones, feathers, and imagination. Sullivan adds texture to her surfaces with carving and woodburning with remarkable detail. Sullivan is well known for her Kachinas and masks, yet that doesn't prevent her from exploring countless other possibilities.

Sullivan grew up in Central Texas and moved to Dallas to begin her career as a secretary for a large insurance company before meeting her husband. The couple soon relocated to Parker, Colorado. During this time, she was raising three children and becoming involved in tennis as an outlet. Sullivan says, "I enjoyed playing the game and eventually became involved at the state level managing the tennis portion of the country club where we belonged." It was at this point she realized she could expand new interests and options.

"Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, and the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist's hand plays the keys of form, color, and composition."

Sullivan recounts, "The children began to leave for college, and the responsibilities for our aging parents lessened we decided to begin our "second" life, as retirees, moving to the Phoenix area." Sullivan was introduced to gourds, as an art form, by a friend. She was immediately taken by the diverse possibilities that could be explored with the medium. She explains, "My inspiration is found in every aspect of life; the color of fabric, the shape of a piece of jewelry, the word in a book, everything has more than one meaning or purpose." Experiencing Sullivan's work firsthand is a true testament to her philosophy, "Every piece speaks on its own."

Thirteen years ago, Sullivan became one of the first artists and manager of a "Co-op" gallery in Fountain Hills, where she has mentored many "second acts" into art experiences. Ten years ago, a fellow artist approached Sullivan about opening a second gallery in Scottsdale. Easier said than done, but where there is a will, there is a way. A group from the original gallery pulled together, found a location, created a budget and a plan for the operation, as well as, convincing five of the Fountain Hills Gallery Board of Directors to launch 'On the Edge Galley' in Scottsdale. Their independent "sister" gallery was born! "I was proud to manage 'On the Edge Gallery' the first four years of operation, and I'm still serving on its Board of Directors," states Sullivan.

In addition to exhibiting her work in both galleries, Sullivan shows her work privately at her home east of Scottsdale. Each Fall and Winter, she holds six to seven workshops to inspire others to join the arts community. As if Sullivan isn't busy enough, she is also a member of the American Gourd Society, the Arizona Gourd Society, and the Verdes Art League. Artist Margaret Sullivan invites you to drop in at either gallery The Fountain Hills Artist Gallery in Fountain Hills or On the Edge Gallery in Scottsdale to view and purchase her work.


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