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Meet Trustina Sabah of Timonium

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trustina Sabah.

Trustina, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am a gourd artist from Ghana who lives in the Baltimore area. A year after my MFA degree in Theater Arts at Towson University, I needed to do work that could sustain me. I needed to make money somehow since I could not depend entirely on acting in stage plays at that time for sustenance. My first thought was to start a theater company. I attempted. However, it did not seem feasible. I prayed a lot, spoke with my spiritual father, and searched for what to do. At that time, I remembered I took a vocational class in gourd jewelry back in junior high. I decided to look into making jewelry with gourds and discovered I could make art from the whole thing! That is how it all started in June 2016. I have since created a business and have been making gourd art, vases, wall hangings, and lamps.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Making the actual work has been a delight and a blessing. The obstacles I have faced and continue to face occasionally are; When I have an idea of what I want to achieve with my work but can’t seem to know the right tool to use to accomplish that. Because I am a self-taught artist, sometimes it takes one to several years of experimenting till I get the suitable device, tool, or parts I need. Besides that, I have been very grateful for the talent and the fact that I get to make art and share it with all you beautiful people.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a gourd artist and a business owner. My business name is Gourds By Fafa. That means I use gourds to make various household and home decoration items. I make accent vases, lamps, wall hangings, covered bowls, jewelry keepers, ornaments, fruit bowls, candle covers, and so on! Each gourd I make takes me on a different and thrilling journey of love. I work with the gourd’s shape, blemishes, and size to reveal the beauty that may be obscure. Some techniques I use include carving, woodburning, patina work, painting, dying, and mixed media. My Calming Gourd Lamps™ are the most popular and best-selling of all my works. I make a lamp by creating a design on a gourd, then making holes in the gourd so that when lit, the light reveals the design and sometimes projects the design when placed near a wall.

When lit, the Calming Gourd Lamps™, creates ambiance and a very calming atmosphere. One thing I do, enjoy, and believe in is that I leave a piece of me in all my work. My middle name is Fafa which means “peace.” When I send a gourd vase or lamp to their forever home, I pray that they will be an agent of peace in that home so that trouble will be far from that home. I get joy knowing that this person will have so much peace and calm in their home because my work is in their home.

What’s next?
Realized one of my big plans in March. I was able to get my work into a storefront. Stonehouse Collective in Ellicott City, MD, now has my work in the building. The next thing I am looking forward to is getting a nice and spacious studio where I can make even more work and eventually offer classes.


  • $19-$400

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