Rosie & Dave Claus, both retired educators, began working with hard-shelled gourds about thirteen years ago. After many years of weaving "off loom", Rosie found herself gradually changing to making natural baskets. During travels west, they first discovered gourd art in a small shop in Frisco, Colorado and immediately began thinking of how they could incorporate their combined talents onto natural vessels.
Dave, an architectural illustrator and wood working hobbyist, does the surface
preparation and pyro engraving while Rosie does the weaving and coiling.
Both artists believe gourds have an inherent natural beauty. They strive to magnify and preserve this beauty through the use of meaningful embellishments. Materials natural to the grasslands and forests of the Midwest, such as dried plants, pine needles, seedpods, and woodland fungi, are often used to emphasize the beauty of the gourd "canvasses".
They are often complimented for taking what many consider a Southwestern art form and emphasizing a mid-western point of view. Perhaps their deep appreciation of the nature of gourds can be traced to their interest in gardening. Although their wooded studio site, located in Naperville, Illinois, does not promote growing the sun-loving gourds, it does afford ideal conditions for growing shade-loving hostas, wild flowers, and other woodland plants. The symmetry and balance of these plants are often the inspiration for much of their gourd artwork. The finished pieces are the results of the couples' shared talents and artistic values.
The artist's have developed distinctive and recognizable Off The Vine Gourd's style, which remains continually well received. The fluidity of Dave's undulating top cuts and "femininity" of Rosie's textured wraps reflects the commonality of these artists' talents. The positive acceptance of their artwork continues to be validated by the numerous awards they have received at over the past 13 years at juried art shows.