I first remember Jim Story being at an Indiana gourd show that I attended around 1998-2000. I never really had any discussions with him, I mostly stood on the sideline listening to him and others. At that time I was new to growing gourds. I had just started attending gourd shows.
I remember at that time Jim was the expert on twisting gourds. I believe he won all the honors on knotted and twisted gourds at the shows. He was the first person that I knew that did these kind of beautiful designs with long handle dippers. I honestly believe there was none before him. I would stand back and listen to whatever he said as well as listening to the other well-known gourders such as Kern Akerman and Norm Brickner.
Many gourd growers and friends would go to Jim's house and he would gladly show everyone his twisted and knotted gourds growing on a trellis or fence. I never had the chance to go. Jim had a lot of patience during the growing season because he would slowly, day by day, twist his gourds around a broom handle. Now that took some patience when he could only twist each gourd a little each day without breaking it. It was a slow process because Idon't remember him having many twisted gourds at any gourd show.
Now, how did he impress me? Well, for one thing he was always trying to help others, especially explaining the knotting and twisting process. The second thing was I thought if he can do it so can I. Well, that was short lived. I found out that I didn't have the patience that was required for those beautiful broom handled twisties. Later I found a little easier way to do it, but Jim gave me the "spark."
The man who asked me to write this article is Glenn Burkhalter. As far as I remember Glenn also was "sparked" by Jim Story. Glenn became famous for his knotted gourds. Jim was a great gourder and one worthy to have a class award with his name before it. the Jim Story Award.