Arizona Gourds
August updates from the desert southwest...
Welcome to the August issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter! 
Thanks for checking out the latest news! Feel free to pass the newsletter link along to your friends.

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Featured Books of the Month:

Search Now:
You can use this Amazon search box link to find all kinds of books and other products.  I appreciate those of you that do so; Amazon purchases made through the links on this website help to support this site.
The top three books shown here are by artists that specialize in using clay or found objects to make unusual sculptures and art works.  Sometimes it's very inspiring to view works from artists in other media - and often the techniques and materials transfer well to gourds.  There are some great reviews on Amazon that will give you more insight into each title.

The bottom three titles are available as pre-releases. They will be out in the fall. Pre-ordering will guarantee you a 33% discount or more. 

Antler Art for Baskets and Gourds is by Betsey Sloan, who also wrote Inlace Techniques: Resin Inlay for Gourd and Wood CraftsWeaving on Gourds is by Marianne Barnes, and Apples to Apples is by C. Angela Mohr.  All are offered by Schiffer Publishing. (*Some of my gourd art is included in the first two books.)
*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.
Note:  It is important that you add to your "safe senders" list, as many emails bounce each month due to spam blockers.

If your email address changes, just sign up again with your new address - no need to email me the change, as I purge non-working addresses monthly.
Gourds Southwest Gourd Techniques & Projects from Simple to Sophisticated
by Bonnie Gibson

NOW OUT OF PRINT - supplies are limited.  Last chance to get a copy before they are gone!

What's new on the Arizona Gourds website? 
(Click on book cover for ordering information.)
All photos and designs copyright © 2010 by Bonnie Gibson and may not be used without express written permission.
Featured Gourd of the Month:

Closeup - Harmony in Green
This is a closeup shot of the newest gourd pictured on the Arizona Gourds home page.  The gourd has carved ginkgo leaves and two added basswood carved hummingbirds.  The carved areas were colored with acrylics paints.
Tell a friend about this page
August Feature -  Gourd Lamps Part Two

Here are some more gourd lamps from around the world   If the artist included written instructions or other information, it is included along with their photos.


Special  - Humor
Gourding spouse, Bob Richie, has entertained us before with his observations on life as the spouse of a gourder.  Here's another great read - see how many of these describe you.

"Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy" by Bob Richie
In my observations as a gourd husband (that could also be read as widower) I have encountered some characteristics and behaviors that could be markers and identifiers of gourders.  You’ll have to add the word “gourders” to your spell check dictionary because the pitiful vocabulary of your stock spell checker does not include it as a valid English word.  So, with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, here are some of the identifiers I have observed:

If you know what a Dremel is (or own more than one), you might be a gourder. 
If you have a universal chuck installed on your Dremel, you might be a gourder.
If you know the difference between a Dremel and a Foredom you might be a gourder. 
If you know more than one grip for either, you might be a gourder.
If you know what a Turbo Carver, Power Carver or Shofu is, you might be a gourder.
If you would rather have a new set of carving burs than get a manicure, you might be a gourder.
If you know the website address of at least 3 rotary vendors, you might be a gourder.
If you have a wood burner that is several times more expensive than the Boy Scout camp variety, you might be a gourder.
If you are going on vacation and know every gourd farm within 100 miles of your planned route, you might be a gourder.
If, while on that vacation, you break out in a cold sweat when within 50 miles of a gourd farm, you might be a gourder.
If you are on that vacation looking at some gorgeous site and say “I just got an idea for a gourd”, you might be a gourder.
If you carry a sketch pad with you to sketch out gourd ideas, you might be a gourder.
If you see every seed pod, strange stick, cast off antler, turtle shell, feather, or any other durable natural object as a possible embellishment for a gourd, you might be a gourder.
If you know the difference between open and closed coiling, you might be a gourder.
If you consider every long grass leaf, reed, sedge, or cat tail leaf as a possibility for coiling, you might be a gourder.
If you have outgrown your workshop and expanded operations into your husband’s workshop, you might be a gourder.
If conversations start out in any other topic and end up focused on gourds, you might be a gourder.
If you are the spouse of a gourder you can probably add to this list.  You will also see the list as symptoms of an incurable affliction.  If you are a gourder you will read the list and say “So?”
*Do you have a tip or tutorial we can feature here?  Please contact me.
New Celtic Conchos  These are on the Metals page - Premium conchos. These have a concave back and a protruding stud, so they are easy to add to a gourd.  Just drill a hole and glue into place, or use the included screw backing.   Synthetic Bear Claws Available on the Beads and Embellishments page.
Hand carved small ironwood quail and roadrunner sculpturesThese are on the Special Embellishments page - limited stock.   On the same page:  NEW - HORSEHAIR Tassels.
Large Bur Boxes  These are really fantastic - they are made from hard plastic, are lightweight and have a carrying handle.  No more burs falling out when you tip the container - no more digging through a box looking for a one particular bur - get organized and find the bur you need with just a glance!   You'll find them on the Rotary Tool Accessories page.   Back in Stock:  Brad Point Drill Bits The spike on the end of the drill keeps the bit in place - no more skittering burs or need for starter holes!  You'll find them on the Tools page.   NEW - Large head cylinder shape structured tooth carbide burs from Saburr Tooth!  These 1/8" shaft burs have a 1/2" head (similar in size to a Dremel sanding drum), and the larger head makes it possible to hold the tool in a flatter position for cutting backgrounds and ripples.  They work fast!  These are on the Carving Burs page.
Printable PDF File
It's been a hot summer for most people - I was happy to spend a few days in northern Arizona where the elevation is high and the temperatures are lower.  While we were there, my sister in law shot these photos of fun chain saw carvings that people had out in front of their cabins. 

Notice:  I am gradually switching over to a new email address.  My old address ( will continue to work as a backup, but my new address,, will allow me to reach more people, as spam blockers have been kicking back emails from my old address.  The notice for this newsletter was sent out using gmail instead of my old qwest address, and I'm hopeful that the email reached those of you that have been having difficulties receiving the newsletter notices in the past.  Please update your address book and add to your safe senders list.

Notice:  I will be teaching classes in Kentucky from August 3 - 7.  Orders placed during this time will be held and shipped on August 8th.

The Gourd Art Enthusiasts site continues to grow!  We now have almost 1200 members and close to 4000 gourd photos to inspire you.  Membership is free and easy.  The site also has state groups, event listings, a Q&A forum and a chat feature if you need an answer to a gourding question fast! 
Erika Sagi of Hungary is known online as "Serka".  You can visit her website or contact her by email

Serka's lamps are her specialty; she does make other gourd art but lamps are her real passion.  Here are some tips on construction and use:

Gourd lamps are designed for indoor use. Please do not use them outdoors, unless well protected from weather, or in places where they are exposed to humidity or excessive heat.

Gourd lamps are fragile. Do not drop or hit them.

If the gourd gets too warm, switch off the lamp and let it cool down. Do not let gourd lamps burn for more than 8 hours without interruption.

Clean gourd lamps with microfiber glass cleaning cloth only. Avoid too much moisture and don't press heavily to prevent any damage to the gourd surface or decoration.

Do not use light bulbs of more than 25 watts.
It is recommended to use 1.6 watt LED bulbs,
which hardly emit any heat at all.
(These are European LEDs, there may be
something similar in the US )

Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
Newsletter Index
UpdateGourd Classes
It's almost time! I will be teaching classes in Kentucky (in Taylorsville) on August 4-6.
Classes will include Faux Raku, River Bed Gourd, and more. 
Please visit the NEW KY Chapter webpage for more information and registration.

I will be teaching classes at the Michigan Gourd Festival  September 17-19. 
Registration is available on their festival website
*Join the class updates list if you want to receive advance notice of classes.  Get the news first and  have the best opportunity to select your classes! 
Reader's Mailbag
More world gourd sightings!  The pieces shown below are from Elena Troyan of Kiev, Ukraine. It is amazing how gourd crafting is being discovered all over the world, and how the internet has helped us all to connect and to learn about each other.  Elena is a member of the Gourd Art Enthusiasts site, and has her own page there. 

Elena has had trouble finding gourds so she obtained some seeds and is growing her own.  The gourds do not have thick shells, so she prefers to paint and embellish the gourds using a variety of natural and other materials.
Special Feature - Spotlight on Amazing Gourd Art Sculptures!
I wanted to share some amazing gourd sculptures and to tell you a little about the artists that created them.   There are many less well known artists out there that are doing beautiful work - if you know of someone deserving of special recognition, please send me their contact information and we'll include them in a future newsletter.

Connie Beckett of California sent me photos of her gourd lamp (below).  She wanted to share it because of the beautiful natural gourd.  A friend gave her this large gourd for Christmas and she outlined the natural patterns with my woodburner, added a clear wax and buffed it.  She says this is the most beautiful naturally patterned gourd she's ever seen.  The finished lamp is very attractive!

Graham O - New York (Photos below)
Graham says she is just a beginner, but if you visit her website, you'll find many attractive lamps.

Gourd with inlaid dichroic glass and an ironwood quail handle.
I travel a lot and see people reading with these all the time.  The price was just lowered significantly - you might want to check it out
Order Apoxie Sculpt this month and you'll get a free tips sheet of useful information for working with the product.
Gourd with celtic design and added dragon concho.
This lamp has inserted glass beads to color the light.
Serka's You Tube video featuring her lamp designs.
Karen Waitley was thrilled to win a ribbon on her lamp!  (Below)
Mari Lucena  and Walter Ocampo of Brazil, are a married couple doing business under the name of "Laggenaria".  They have been working on gourds for about 2 years, and you can see more of their work on their Gourd Art Enthusiasts page or on their website.  They are inspired by gourd lamps made for artists from Japan, Turkey, and France.  They make table lamps, pendant lamps and garden lamps as well as other types of gourd art.  They use different designs and painting techniques, as well as carving and embroidery.

This gourd took Daniel about 40 hours to create.  It has an added foot carved from wood, the rest is gourd. It was carved and burned and then painted.
Daniel Montano of California is a woodcarver first, but also likes to work with gourds.  He has little time available for gourds, but whenever he creates something it is a winner. This flamingo gourd won first place in the Master's Division at the recent California Gourd Society competition.   Daniel is an award winning woodcarver, and was recently featured on the cover of Wildfowl Carving Magazine for his palm frond sculpture of a peacock.  His current project is to carve a life sized common loon.  
Nikki Ogle of Texas is an imaginative artist - I saw some of her work at the Texas Gourd competition last year and was very impressed by her creativity.  (She had the unique and brightly painted seahorse lamp in the last newsletter.)  Nikki is a young artist, so we should be seeing a lot more great things from her in the future.  You can see more of Nikki's work on her etsy page, and you can see step by step progress and read about the creation of her beetle sculpture in her facebook photo album.
This tiger beetle gourd is about 34" x 29", excluding the antennae, and is made from 4 gourds.  The antennae are covered in peyote beading, and the eyes are beads set in wax. 
Sculpted Nautilus - more photos on Nikki's etsy page.
Lois Dean of Ontario, Canada creates wonderful fantasy creatures.  Gourds are only one of the materials she uses; she also works in Apoxie Sculpt, Polymer Clay, and Paverpol (wire sculpting material) and uses gemstones, carving and painting for her creations.  I first saw Lois's gourd dragon at the Ohio Gourd show a few years ago; it's a large and impressive piece! You will enjoy reading and seeing a lot more photos on Lois's blog.
The "Avatar" people must have gotten ideas from Lois!
Reader's Mailbag
More reader photo submissions!
Mike Connelly of Virginia recently attended my "Pottery Shards" class.  I think he did a great job!
Renee Good of Lake Havasu City, AZ likes to wirewrap, so she made this pendant out of one of the ammonites from this site.
Gail Cunningham of Geelong, Victoria, Australia  made this gourd lamp with inset glass beads.  They beads don't show up clearly until the light is switched on.   Gail mentioned that in Australia, the government has already made a mandatory switch from incandescent to the spiral fluorescent bulbs, (CFLs) so she can no longer get the type of bulb she prefers.  Keep in mind that the US is on the same path and regular lightbulbs will be discontinued here as well starting in 2012. 

Gourd lamp by
Kurtuluş Güven of İzmir, Turkey
Diane Calderwood of California made this great gourd sun wall hanging.
Linda Womble of Tucson is one of my talented students - she has really mastered the art of carving!  I saw these owl gourds at our last meeting and she was kind enough to share some photos for this newsletter.
Lois enjoys working with crystals and minerals.  Here are a couple of lamps she made using quartz crystals.  Holes are pierced in the lamp and the light also glows through the crystals.
*August Special!  Buy $25 or more from the Arizona Gourds website and receive a free ironwood carving! (While they last)