Bill has always had an interest in both artistic creation and nature. He still lives on the farm in Greenwood, Mo., where he grew up. Bill and his wife, Donna, both love to kayak, bike, hike, and spend time with their six grandchildren.

As a child, Bill began to develop his God given talents by taking art lessons from a neighbor and later obtained a Bachelors Degree in Art from Eastern Michigan University. While raising his family, he used his artistic talents mostly as a hobby.

In 2005, Bill was exposed to "gourd art". He bought his first raw gourd and wood burned his first design; he was hooked! He has discovered that the possibilities for being creative are limitless. He draws his designs free hand on the gourds. He especially enjoys wood burning but he also uses dyes, acrylics, and pen and ink to obtain the look he wants for the finished product.

Bill entered his first competition with three gourds in the Missouri Gourd Show in 2006. Since then each year has brought several honors in Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Arizona.

Bill has had much success with his fine art gourds. He has sold gourds at Peter Engler Designs, Branson, Mo., Powell Gardens Gourd Art Exhibit in Missouri, Kerrville Arts and Cultural Center, Kerrville, Tx., and Show-Me Gourd Festival, Sedalia, Mo. His award winning work can be seen in
"The Gourd Magazine", an official publication of the American Gourd Society. (americangourdsociety.org)  At the Texas Gourd Show in October, 2007, Bill was awarded Artist of the Year for 2008 for his sculpture, "Raptor with Snake". In February, 2008, "Raptor with Snake" also won Best of Show in the Arizona Gourd Show. 2009 began with an award for People's Choice at the Missouri Gourd Show in April for his sculpture, "Owl and Mouse". He was honored with several first place awards at Kerrville Arts and Cultural Center, Kerrville, Tx. in June, 2009.

In 2009, Bill began to teach his sculpture and wood burning techniques to others in Missouri and Texas.

Bill is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Show-Me Gourd Society in the State of Missouri. This group sponsors many local and national artists at the Missouri Gourd Show in April of each year in Sedalia, Mo.
(showmegourdsociety.com) He is also a member of the American, Arizona, Texas, and Georgia Gourd Societies and is a juried member of Best of Missouri Hands.


ARTIST STATEMENT

I create my art a lot like I drive when I'm on a road trip or on vacation. I'll look at a map if I need to; otherwise, I just like to take my time, enjoy the scenery and let the trip unfold along the way. If I go to the same place more than once, I almost never go the same route; I prefer checking out the different possibilities.

It's very similar with my art. I have something in mind when I start but I don't plan everything in advance. Rather I do one design element and let that lead me to the next. It's more intuitive, more of a feeling process and less mental....a happening.

As far as gourd art goes, I had not even heard of it until about three years ago. Even then I would have never thought this would become an art form that I would want to do, let alone become so passionate about. Over the years, I've been exposed to quite a few forms of artistic expression; sculpture, pastel, watercolor, oil, wood, clay and drawing to name a few. But nothing has ever appealed to my inner feeling of satisfaction and relaxation as creating with gourds. In fact, in working with watercolor and drawing which had previously been my medium of choice, I was almost always uptight and unsatisfied with the process and the outcome of each project. As a result I didn't create much.

Gourds are just the opposite. I have so many ideas and future projects in mind that I am sure I'll never get them all done. I wake up and am ready to go to my studio. I work seven days a week when I can, and sometimes 9-10 hours or more a day. I usually go to bed thinking about how to do something different or better.

I have no idea what it is that is so appealing about working with gourds but I feel truly blessed that I have discovered this wonderful art form.

Bill Decker