Betty Finch and her fantastic gourd creations will be featured at Gallery 'N Gifts March First Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m. March 1. 

Finch, who was raised in Mojave, began her working life as a commercial artist before beginning a 26-year career in law enforcement at the Kern County Sheriff's Office. Her duties included patrol, homicide detective, CSI Unit supervisor, 12 years as a SWAT hostage negotiator, and 15 years as the department's composite artist.

The FBI sponsored Finch to attend the National Academy Forensic Facial Imaging Course. She now uses facial reconstruction skills in creating three-dimensional faces on gourds.

Finch's interest in manipulating gourds prompted her to travel to Indiana to meet mentor and master gourd trainer Jim Story. After retirement, Finch traveled to Tianjin, China, to learn from Zhang Cairi, renowned for growing perfect replicas of Chinese emperors' gourds. This led to her co-authoring a book to preserve this unique art form.

Finch now devotes her time to raising colorful Appaloosa horses, working with plant genetics, experimenting with manipulated, coffee-dyed and molded gourds, and creating fine art with gourds.

"I work in partnership with nature to transform compelling visions into reality," Finch said.

Come join us to be amazed and delighted with her gourd creations.

Michelle Miller is the fine art room coordinator at Gallery 'N Gifts.