Training Wheels: A Newbie’s Story

Hi, I’m Kara, the newest member of the Meadowbrooke Gourds family. A few months ago I accepted a position as “floater”. A floater does a variety of different tasks to include washing, crafting, and finishing the gourds. I had a general idea of what I was getting myself into, but I didn’t know the depth of detail that came with the job of perfecting each unique finished gourd.

Since May I’ve seemed to settle into a “finisher’s position”. To me finishing a gourd covers three descriptions within one. They include hairdressers, make-up artists, and fashion designers. Many of these titles are held by women in the workforce. However I work in a room with men, yes, men. I have to give credit and kudos to these incredible crafters because they are incredibly skilled and talented. I am especially amazed at Shawn’s talent for applying blush to gourds.

Before I began working at Meadowbrooke, I had some past experience at crafts. I painted decorative signs and even stopped by the farm to look through their selection of raw gourds to get ideas and be inspired. Having some experience has helped greatly but there are still things to improve upon. Something as simple as tying a knot can totally throw off the appearance of a gourd if not done correctly. Paint doesn’t always land where you want it to. Oh, and there is a proper way to hold pigtail raffia while trimming ends – scissors are sharp and will cut knuckles. Also, gourd dust in cut knuckles (or any cut) can be quite serious. Who knew?!

So I’m finding out that this is a highly skilled and detail oriented job. It’s one that I find incredibly challenging and even though I see a good bit of the same product every day or week, it never gets old. I get to be creative and think freely. Enjoying your job takes little effort at Meadowbrooke Gourd Farm. When something I do incorrectly is discovered, I don’t feel inadequate. A lot of the times, I have a smile looking up at me from an understanding gourd. I may get picked on, but that’s absolutely ok with me.

Working here is truly amazing! It’s like a second home and I can splatter paint on the walls and get away with it. Since my start, my creativeness has given me four different products currently being sold in the store. One of my favorites was in the store competition for our “product of the month”. My hopes are to one day be able to make a catalog piece, but for right now getting customer feedback and encouragement is what drives me to free my mind to new ideas and creations.

We are always looking for new and better ways to do our jobs, but this time we think Shawn has taken the blushing thing a bit far.