The Mowrer Family Farm, Iva, PA
Victoria Mowrer is a multi-dimensional artist, storyteller, magic maker, and lover of all things wild and wonderful. She believes beauty has the power to heal. A passion for exploration, experimentation, and truth-seeking has been with her since childhood. Growing up as an only child on her grandparents’ farm in rural Pennsylvania gave her the freedom to seek out adventures in nature that called to her spirit: collecting stones and arrowheads, building life-size snow castles, and molding things out of clay gathered from the banks of the stream and pond in the pine woods nearby.
During that time, she witnessed her grandfather being excommunicated from his Mennonite community for purchasing a television. That experience sparked a wariness of authority and religion and fueled her already inquisitive nature to wonder about complex ideas from a young age.
Always enchanted by the innumerable delights and mediums for creative expression this world has to offer, she’s painted, printed, photographed with her cherished Holga, played in a gamelan orchestra, owned a small counter-culture cafe, served as a professional chef, designed gardens, arranged flowers, and sculpted with clay, stone, and gourds.
For pioneering a technique of pressing flowers into encaustic art, she was invited to Japan as part of the Nagano Olympics’ cultural exchange where she spent two weeks showcasing her art and teaching classes about her techniques. She currently loves singing with a community chorus and as backup for a local blues band.
She’s lived in Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, California, and New York, and studied garden design in UK with John Brooks and pebble mosaic in Chicago with Maggie Howarth. Ever in pursuit of adventure, art, stories, and herself, she has found her way back to her roots in Lancaster, PA, where some of her greatest stories are being unearthed as she plows the fields of her past.
The modest gourd has accompanied her as a muse, friend, and guide for more than half her life. And now, she’s written an illustrated folk tale about the stars, community, and her beloved gourd companion. What began as an oral recitation atop a giant gourd as part of her one-woman show, “Restlessness and Reverie,” has evolved and expanded into a wondrous tale of love, loss, and reclamation. As with everything in her life, the creation of this book carries the heartbeat of her mantra, Be Brave and Believe.
My artwork is a means for me to communicate my feelings and perceptions about the things I encounter both seen and unseen. I look for the joy, wonder, and awe in whatever I am experiencing, for myself first, and then through myriad mediums to share with a viewer.
The thread that weaves my work together is my fascination of the natural world. It is no surprise that the two books I consider the most influential of my young life were “The Little Engine That Could” and then, “The World We Live In”. I was mesmerized by the later. As long as I can remember I was peeking under stones, looking at tree bark, ripples in water, stars in the sky. I did not understand how, but I knew these things were all connected and I was part of that great matrix. My first botany class blew my mind!
I tend to gravitate toward using natures materials, especially my own fingers! I also enjoy capturing magic through alternative photographic processes, especially my Holga 120.
So far, mastering a medium is not where I want to focus my energy, although I admit that an inherited perfectionism gene finds its way into my process. When I dive into the great unknown of a new technique or medium, I reenter a childlike state of wonder and possibility.
I am increasingly distressed by the condition of our planet. Alarmed is a more accurate word. Part of the goal of my current project, The Dreaming Gourd, is to help mitigate the situation by sparking new awareness of the things that surround us and to consider how our actions and reactions to one another play a role.
After my adventure in the intense world of publishing and all the technology involved, I am looking forward to a prolonged reverie with natural pigments and adding plants, sticks, stones, and grasses to my set of brushes.I will see where my long-time muse, the gourd, takes me – no doubt to a place I cannot yet imagine.