Arizona Gourds
Updates from the desert southwest...
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You can use this Amazon search box link to find all kinds of books and other products. Amazon purchases made through the links on this website help to support this site. 
*Please visit the book page links shown at right to view collections of related  titles. Each topic includes a variety of suggested books about each subject.
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What's new on the Arizona Gourds website? 
Featured Gourd of the Month:
"Crown of Thorns"
This gourd is carved, painted with acrylics and wood dyes, and has inset vouta heishi and a carved basswood hummingbird.  The cactus fruit is made from small gourds, and the thorns are actual barrel cactus thorns that were gathered from a dead cactus and then inset into the gourd. The thorns were carefully snipped to remove the sharp points.

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Printable PDF File
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
Newsletter Index
The Gourd Art Enthusiasts site has about 5250 members, with gourd enthusiasts from all over the world!  The site also has state groups, event listings, a Q&A forum and a chat feature.

*Want to see my listing of top gourd books?  Here is my  "Listmania" listing on Amazon
"Like" Arizona Gourds on Facebook to get special offers, up to the minute news about new products and classes, and other gourding updates.   (Just a note - I don't add gourd friends on my personal page, I save that for family and non-gourding friends.)

*NEW GROUP on Facebook - "Gourding Destash".  This is the place to sell your used gourd tools and excess supplies.  No fees to sell your surplus supplies and raw gourds.* 
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Just type what you are looking for into the seach box below. *Can't see the search box?  Please disable your ad blocker for the Arizona Gourds domain.
Dental Drill Art by Roger Wolford is a book about carving on different surfaces using a high speed dental drill (like a turbocarver or shofu).  Roger is a skilled carver - you can find a lot of examples of his work on his Facebook page.  If you own or are interested in using a high speed drill for your art, this is one of the only resources available.

The second two books in the top row are out of print books that have been picked up by Echo Point Books and have been re-released, in most cases for a lower price than both the original book and the older used copies shown on Amazon!

The last 3 books are older (probably out of print) books on Wildlife art. These are listed at extremely reasonable prices on Amazon and are great technique books and reference material.  I have these in my personal library.
Arizona Gourds Newsletter Index
See all our old newlsetters from the past 10 years!  Articles and Tips are indexed.
Newsletter Index
I often get questions about shipping costs that are added to shopping cart sales.  To clarify things, I've added a new page to the website,
Shipping Policies.
I am using a no-frills shopping cart program that has limitations and little flexibility.  By not paying for expensive software, I can offer you lower prices on the website merchandise.  I'm not looking to make a profit on shipping;  if you order lightweight items you will likely get a refund or some freebies to make up for it. Please take a minute to look at the shipping policies page for clarification and explanation of how things work.  If you ever have any questions, please feel free to email me directly.  I value your business!
Welcome to the April issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter! 
Photos and design copyright © 2017 by Bonnie Gibson and  may not be used without express written permission.
Featured Books:

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Class updates

Tucson class on April 20th - Not gourds this time, but weaving with pine needles around a center cabochon.  Details on the Classes page.

Scheduled classes with openings:
3 day gourd retreat in Temecula, California  April 28-30 OR May 2-4 2017  Information on the classes page.  Leather Tooling, Inlace Inlay, and Added Handles/Patinas and Textures.  Supplies are included except for your own tools and gourds.  You'll even get a chance to try real leather tooling on leather!  Please contact me to register or for on-site lodging information.  There are still a couple of spaces in each session. NOTE: This will probably be the last year for this retreat for a while, as I prefer to teach in new areas periodically to serve a new group of students.

3 day gourd retreat in Page, Arizona October 21st - 23rd.  Information on the classes page.  Please contact Marcia Krickhahn at to register. Retreat will be a hummingbird gourd project and the Native Treasures gourd project. NOTE: This is an all inclusive retreat with lodging, food, gourds and instruction for an extremely low package price, plus, if you have never been to Page, you'll be amazed by the gorgeous location and things to see and do in the area.

Enter your email address into the text box, and hit the submit button to join the class updates notification list.
Spring arrived very early in the desert this year. I feel a bit guilty for enjoying our warm weather when other parts are still snowbound - but in July and August we will be the ones envious of their weather!  I try to go out for a walk each day in my neighborhood, and I've enjoyed seeing the spring wildflowers.  Cactus flowers bloom a bit later in the spring so we enjoy 2-3 months of color.  The air is also heavily perfumed with the scent of blooming citrus trees, so it makes my walks enjoyable.  Here are a couple of our local blooms - penstemon and fairy dusters.
NEW - Saburr Tooth Concave Cylinder bur.  This bur is perfect for quick rounding over of gourd rims, faux basketry and more.  It has a safe end so you can cut cleanly up to borders and edges.   On the Carving Burs page.

**Apoxie Sculpt in black, white and bronze are back in stock in both 1 and 4lb sizes.  Critter Clay is also back in stock!   On the Apoxie Sculpt page

New to the website - Jumbo pewter feathers. These have an extra loop at the tip end for hanging from both ends - but the loop can be removed easily if you wish.  Also, Man in Maze pewter beads that are flat on both sides and are perfect for inlay.   On the Metals Page

Thank you!  Your purchases made from Arizona Gourds and from our Amazon links enable us to keep these free newsletters and the Gourd Art Enthusiasts site available.  We sincerely appreciate your business.
Feature:  Fine Art Gourds by Bill Colligen

I have known Bill Colligen of Camp Verde, Arizona for many years, and have admired his innovative and meticulously done gourd art since the first time I saw them.  Bill is a full time gourd artist and sells through galleries and at fine art shows. He has won many awards for his work and has an avid collector base.  Bill's work is quite distinctive and he does some wonderful things with paints and patina finishes.  You can see more of his beautiful work by visiting his website at

Special Feature:  Book and CD Review 
"Kaye's Original Pine Needle Creations - Stitches, Techniques and Tips"
by Kaye Burlason

Many gourders are also weavers, as the two skills complement each other well.  Kaye Burlason of Florida is a pine needle basket weaver first, but also does weaving on gourds.  She has been making pine needle baskets for many years, and has been collecting notes and photos on her work since 1985.  With some help from talented friends, she has compiled her weaving wisdom into a lovely spiral bound book (lies flat when open!) that is fully illustrated with color photos and diagrams.  The book also includes a DVD that is filled with short video clips on different stitches and infomation.   If you prefer, you can purchase the book in pdf format on a DVD  (includes the videos as well) at a lower cost.  Watching Kaye's videos and reading her book is like sitting down with the artist and having her guide you through each step by actually doing it and explaining along the way.  The information she provides begins with collecting and preparing pine needles, storing, dyeing, and materials needed for bakset weaving.  The focus of the book is on weaving pine needle baskets, but almost all of the material translates to weaving on gourds with pine needles.  She shows with videos and diagrams how to start baskets, starting and ending threads, adding needles to the coil, and some basic teneriffe weaving.  If you want to make more traditional pine needle baskets, she shows you how to create decorative rings filled with teneriffe weavings for use as basket starts. 

Next, there are many chapters on the different weaving stitches including wheat, diamond, chain, fern, Indian wrap, popcorn and variations of some of these.  The full color photos clearly illustrate the stitches, and the videos clearly show you how the stitches are done.  This type of teaching is great for those who are more visual learners and do better actually seeing something done.   Another section deals with filler stitches - teneriff style weaving that fills gaps when coils are decoratively separated and there is a space to fill between them.  These include the smock, fagot, fish net, and caning style stitches.

Readers Mailbag:

Hi Bonnie, My recent order of drum skins arrived on schedule and I'm pleased with their quality; also thank you for the gift of a 14" skin.  It's much appreciated and I want to say "Thank You". 

I joined the Az Gourd Art Enthusiasts last spring and also look at the Minnesota website, too.  I've learned so much from computer videos and tutorials. I've been "gourding" for 4 years.

I live in the very rural area in MN and feel like I am pioneering decorating large gourds.  Our growing season is short but I try raising them in my garden.  The shells are too thin to carve or cut without collapsing. 

Again, Thanks for your good service.  Bonnie Anderson

*Are you looking to hook up with gourders from your area?  The GAE website is a great resource - you can search by state and find other that may be close by. 
Tip of the Month:  A Cupholder/Trashbag Tool and a Measuring Tool

The next section of the book includes a lot of small but valuable techniques for working with pine needles, adding stitches, shaping the  basket and more.  She also discusses ideas and materials for embellishing projects, how to make lids, and materials for knobs and handles.

Finally, there are directions for making specific basket projects.  There is a gallery section that shows many different styles and projects made from pine needles, including a couple of gourd weavings.  Faye's wish is to keep this tradtional craft alive, and this book should help to do so.

The book is 80 pages, spiral bound, includes a DVD of instructional videos, and costs $30 plust $7.20 for shipping.  The book in DVD format plus the videos is $20 plus $3 for shipping.  Both are available directly from the artist.  Her email address is , phone is 352 669-4097, and her mailing address to order and send payments is: Kaye Burlason  20802 South Rd., Altoona, FL  32702.
Readers Mailbag:

Hi Bonnie,
I'm just finishing a fully carved gourd and need to know the best way to dye or paint it. I read somewhere you said to seal it first and then dye or paint it, is that right?
Cliff Mozeter - WA

Cliff is correct - I usually seal carved areas with a light spray of lacquer sanding sealer. The sealer won't lift the gourd fibers like many other finishes so the surface stays smooth and clean. I mostly use wood dyes or acrylic paints; if you use other finishes you should experiment first to see if your color is compatable with the lacquer.  
Check out Cliff's fantastic carving/sanding job on his gourd!
One of my students showed up with this cool little gizmo at a recent retreat. The ScrapMaBob is a cup/mug holder and trash bag all in one, and it clamps to your work table for easy access. The cup holder can hold a 32 ounce drink but also has a slot on the side so it can hold a coffee mug with a handle.  The trash ring has a cloth bag included and is detachable if you only want to use the cup holder part.  Don't want to use it to hold a drink?  It makes a great holder for a cup full of pens, files, pencils or any other small tools you want to keep handy and easy to find while keeping the space on your working surface free.  You can also order added rings/bags as accessories to add onto the cup holder.
I am pleased to announce that you can now order the revised edition of my "Gourds with Southwestern Motifs" book which has been re-released by Echo Point Publishing! 
The book has changed a bit - including a new lower cover price!  Also, it now has an added "Filigree Carving" chapter, and an updated gallery section with newer work.  (The original edition received nothing but 5 star reviews on Amazon.) Here is the link on the Echo Point site - it is also available as a pre-order from Amazon - with a release date of April 7th.   Gourds with Southwestern Motifs on Echo Point Site   OR   on
Above- Some details from his recent work.
Bill groups his work in collections - Relics, Intention Vessels, Geometrics, Zen, etc.  Most works feature patina finishes, dimensional dots, wood burning and some carving for texture, and the addition of added elements as handles and accents.  
Bill is a self taught artist who grew up in the midwest but spent his adult life in the west. He currently resides in Arizona.
Another handy little tool is the Ring Ruler. It is especially helpful for laying out designs where measuring and distances are important.
Special - Buy any size drum skin during the month of April and get a couple of jewelry sized skins with each one!  On the Musical Supplies page.