AUGUST - 2019
Colleen McKnight and Karen D. Nichols featured at Backstreet Gallery
Colleen McKnight, gourd artist and Karen D. Nichols, multimedia artist, will be honored at a
reception on August 10, 3-5 p.m., at Backstreet Gallery, 1421 Bay Street.
With no art training, Colleen Mc Knight has developed her skills decorating gourds since 2015,
converting her design skills from systems design and flower design to transforming the organic shapes of
gourds into fabulous works of art.
Her gourd crafting patterns emerge from the use of wood burning, cutting and carving, then finishing
with inks, dyes, paints, beading, embossing, decoupage, metal leafing, glass frit and mosaic work.
After hand-selecting gourds, she thoroughly scrubs them, removing dirt and mold. Colleen works in
harmony with the shape to finish a design that enhances its natural qualities, while creating a totally unique
work of art.
Whether you are looking for sculpture, a bit of whimsy, a playful animal, a useful vase, a basket or a
beautiful decorative piece of art, you will appreciate Colleen’s expertise of taking nature’s gift and
redefining it as fine art.
McKnight spends spring and summer in Florence with autumn and winter spent in Chandler,
Arizona, where she is the president of Spirit of the Desert, an Arizona Gourd Society.
Karen D. Nichols’ art includes, watercolor, acrylic and oils, however, her signature work is Paper
Painting Collage. The original technique she perfected starts with various kinds of fibrous papers. Using
watercolor or acrylic paints, the paper is colored. By tearing, cutting and molding paper, she creates three-
dimensional sculptural relief works. Certain papers lend themselves to feathery wings or animal fur. While
birds continue to be her favorite subjects, flowers and equine creatures come close.
Her articles, stories and column appear in the local Siuslaw News. She has edited and created cover
art and illustrations for other authors. You may see her feature stories for Backstreet Gallery in the local
Karen enjoys teaching and has been on writing panels, spoken at Literary Salons and taught classes
at writing seminars as well as beginning art workshops.
Besides fine art, Karen writes novels, short stories and poetry. You will find her seven books and
Pocket Poetry at the gallery. Her latest novel, A Name by Any Other, comes out in September.
She participated in developing the Florence Festival of Books and the Florence Regional Arts
Alliance and has been a member of Backstreet Gallery for 14 years.