Ronald L King

Penobscot - "From a very early age I was attracted to textiles. When I was five years old, my mother taught me how to knit and I have been knitting every since. In college I discovered I could actually study textiles and, so, learned how to weave. For graduate school,  I had the good fortune to study textile design at Cranbrook Academy of Art, and since then, I worked as a textile designer in NYC, taught design and textile design at a number of colleges, and have worked as a production weaver.

My primary interest in textiles is in the design and production of functional fabrics; and my continuing fascination is rooted in the fundamental aspects of and the exploration of the structure of fabric, the interaction of fibers, and how colors, textures and patterns are created.

I believe that one of the reasons I was put on this planet was to become a weaver. Another reason was to become an advocate, caregiver and supporter in my community.  When, in the 1980s, HIV emerged as a critical health challenge, I started volunteering, and, in time, I began to work professionally in the field of HIV as an educator, case manger, and community organizer. For the past 20 years I worked within the HIV and gay communities, my experiences were great blessings, teaching me many things about myself and the folks on this planet.

For most of my life, except the ten years I was in college or living in NYC, I have lived and worked as a farmer. Having been raised a pacifist, it seems natural to be a farmer and to be close to the growing processes on this planet has always been important to my spirit.  Along the way over the last 25 years, merging farming with art/craft, I started growing gourds—magical vegetables. The plants themselves are amazing to behold, some of which grow to 25 feet long. A gourd starts out as a heavy water-filled vegetable; but when dried, it becomes a container that human beings—long before the development of baskets or pots—learned to use as containers.  In addition, it is believed that gourd seeds were probably the first seeds collected by humans to plant.

For me, the way I decorate gourds is very different from my approach to weaving. It is more intuitive and involves much less planning."

peace, Ron King