Artist Gogo Ferguson shares the inspiration for her work and her love of Cumberland Island, Georgia in an interview with Martha Teichner on the CBS Television Network.
Ferguson, a descendant of iron magnate Thomas Carnegie (who purchased most of Cumberland Island in the 1880s), creates artworks from what she finds on the sparsely settled southern sea island, home to just 38 people and many more wild horses.
Watch CBS SUNDAY MORNING show on Cumberland Island, GA
Ferguson’s jewelry and household art pieces are created from odd island finds, ranging from bones, shells and anything else she deems worthy. “If I’m hiking through the woods or you know, walking down the sand dunes,” Ferguson tells Teichner, “I can spot the whiteness of a bone anywhere.”
For example, she turned a whale’s skeleton that washed up on a beach into a mobile. Shells have become salt and pepper wells. And her logo is crafted from inverted rattlesnake ribs.
Her nature inspired work has earned critical praise and was recently featured at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and is now on display in Montgomery, Alabama.
But while Cumberland Island is an inspiration, Ferguson is also troubled by what has happened to some of the historic structures that have crumbled. In 1972, members of the Carnegie family gave or sold most of their land and many of the buildings to the National Park Service. The challenge has been maintaining it.
“I’ve seen so many of the historic structures fallen by demolition, by neglect,” Ferguson says, “and that bothers me greatly.”
“I think we’re doing an adequate job in some very lean times,” Park Superintendent Fred Boyles says, adding the Park Service has made a decision to maintain some buildings and let others go.
“I can’t think of any other place that I’d want to be,” says Ferguson. “I get everything from Cumberland Island.”
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.