Artists of Note | Denny Wainscott

From nature to art

Denny Wainscott, Vision Quest, gourd, 5 x 9.

Denny Wainscott, Vision Quest, gourd, 5 x 9.

This story was featured in the July 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Denny Wainscott grew up attuned to nature. His grandfathers instilled in him a reverence for the land. They also grew gourds, which would one day become the medium for Wainscott’s creative endeavors. “They taught me to respect nature and always put back more than you take,” he says. “I started with gourds because I always liked their shape and the feel of just holding them in my hand.” Wainscott earned a master’s degree in education from Purdue University but worked at his father’s TV shop for 18 years and in the auto industry for another six before focusing on his art at age 50.

For over 15 years he’s been creating his artistic gourds through trial and error, initially painting and using wood-burning tools, then carving in them intricate designs and adorning them with stone inlays. Many are designed with Native American and wildlife themes.

Nearly nine years ago, Wainscott learned he had a brain tumor; with the support of his family and friends, he persevered through his radiation treatment and emerged with a greater philosophy on life and his works. “Normally I work on eight to 10 pieces at a time, but I decided during the radiation I would work on one piece,” he says. “I called it SPIRIT OF THE WARRIOR because you have to have the spirit of the warrior to attack something like this. It doesn’t take physical strength—it takes spiritual strength.” —Joe Kovack

Wainscott’s works can be found at this year’s Indian Market in Santa Fe, NM; Little Bird at Loretto, Santa Fe, NM; and

Featured in the July 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art July 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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