Feature - Recycled/Upcycled Gourd Art

When my daughter was in elementary school, she asked me why we didn't recycle, and she pointed out that we threw away a lot of newspapers and other things that went into a landfill.  (They must have had a unit on environmental responsibility in science class!)  At the time, recycling wasn't common, and the only recycling that I remember was an occasional paper drive and a few people that collected soda cans to take to a scrap yard for redemption.  I started sending all of my old newspapers to the school art teacher where they were used at least once more for covering tables or making paper mache projects.  I gave my cans to the scouts for recycling - and I started thinking more about all of the things that were being thrown away. 

I really love the idea of extending the use of an item so that it doesn't go right into a landfill, and some of the items that I've saved over the years have become great materials for art projects.  When I ship out packages, I try to use recycled packing materials and boxes when appropriate.  My husband laughs when I come home with a big bag of styrofoam peanuts or packing paper from the family that just moved in up the street - but I feel better knowing that it's that much less that has been trashed after one use.  (Plus, as my friends say, "I'm frugal'!)

With that in mind, I've enjoyed seeing art projects that use old, recycled items in their creation.  Click on their names to visit their websites and see other ways they use recycled items.  The YouTube video below is fun to watch; you'll be amazed at what one artist makes with things most people would throw away!   Gourd art with recycled objects follows - perhaps seeing some of these will give you a whole new outlook on interesting art supplies, and at the same time will make you feel like you've done a good deed.

Arizona Gourds
August updates from the desert southwest...
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Featured Books of the Month:

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Gourds with Southwestern Motifs by Bonnie Gibson

The hardcover edition is now out of print.  This is the paperback version of my "Gourds" book.

All copies I sell are autographed.

What's new on the Arizona Gourds website? 
(Click on book cover for ordering information.)
All photos and designs copyright © 2013 by Bonnie Gibson and may not be used without express written permission.
Featured Gourd of the Month:

"Colorado Wedding"

This gourd is done with woodburning and colored pencil.  It features the Colorado state bird, the Lark Bunting, and some of the commonly found wildflowers of the state.
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Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
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The Gourd Art Enthusiasts site continues to grow!  We have about 3400 members, with gourd enthusiasts from all over the world!  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 quick answer to a gourding question!  

Check out our two GAE T-Shirt designs ! 
*Want to see my listing of top gourd books?  Here is my  "Listmania" listing on Amazon
*Thank you to all of you that wrote to offer get well wishes for my husband.  We both appreciate your thoughfulness.   Once things are settled down, I hope to begin offering classes again, at least locally to start. 

If I am to return to teaching and having a booth at the Wuertz Festival, I will probably need some assistance to make it happen.  (Interested in helping either at the booth or at my classes?  Please send me a note.  I'm happy to swap some merchandise or pay for labor.  Experience is a plus.)

I also want to say thank you to everyone that voted for the photo of my "Beetle Garden" gourd on the Crafts Report Facebook page.  With your help, this photo will now be on the October issue of the Crafts Report magazine!  It will be satisfying to see a gourd featured so prominently on a craft business magazine!
Note: Do you get inspired seeing art of all diffrent types?   I post one or more art photos a day on the Arizona Gourds facebook page.  Whenever possible, links are provided to the original artist's page. 
Remember - these are for inspiration - use them to come up with your own spin on an idea but please do not just copy other people's art.

"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.)
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future newsletters when I am able to resume teaching classes.
Tip of the Month - Patina Tricks

I've been getting good feedback from the new patina paints made by Sculpt Nouveau.   These are specialty paints that contain real copper metal in an atomized fine powder, they are not ordinary metallic paints.

Some people have ordered kits, but others have just ordered a single color of paint.  Let me tell you why buying the complete kit is the way to go.   The patina process requires two coats of paint; the oxidizing solution is added to the second layer while it is still wet. The problem is that when you paint on the second layer, it is usually pretty hard to tell where you have recoated, and where you might have missed spots.  The solution is to do your first coat in a different color than your desired finish color.  For example, I undercoat things that will end up being copper with the bronze paint first.  This way, you can see where the second coat has been applied and where you have missed!  The paint is dense and covers the first coat very well, and this means you get the results you want.

Troubleshooting: Not getting a good patina?  The most common reasons are:
1) You didn't mix the paint well before starting.  STIR well before using.
2) You didn't get on adequate layers of paint.  Really thin paint applications won't contain enough metal.
3) You didn't apply the oxidizing solution while the paint was wet.  If you are having problems with the paint drying too fast, either work in sections, or spray with either water or rubbing alcohol to retard the paint drying.
4) Your oxidizing solution is contaminated.  Use only brushes with plastic ferrules, so that metal on your brush doesn't contaminate the solution.  Pour some solution into a small container and throw away any excess after using.  Dipping back and forth from wet paint to the solution container will contaminate the solution.
5) Be patient - it takes up to an hour or more for the patina to develop.  If you don't like your results, simply paint the area again and reapply solution. 
6) Finish only with matte finishes.  I use Krylon matte.  A thin application is enough.  Gloss or satin or heavy coats will muddy the finished patina.

Upcoming new release from Marianne Barnes: Creative Embellishments for Gourd Art.  This book is not scheduled for release until January 2014, but this will give you something to look forward to in the new year! The Beauty of Zentangle is another pre-release; look for it to arrive in November.  Amazon guarantees you the lowest possible price if you preorder.
Reader's Mailbox
Hi Bonnie - I find your newsletter a source of inspiration for the work I do. Although not nearly up to the caliber of you and several of your contributors, my craft is hand-making exotic wood canes with turquoise, red coral, or chrysocolla inlays. I've gone as far as making my own textured 99.9% textured silver collars using PMC metal clays (but not the one here). It's simple, but I thought you might like to see that your influence on readers extends well beyond gourds.  Vlad
New the to website, two different coin conchos. The large concho is the obverse side of a Morgan dollar, while the smaller one is the obverse side of a standing liberty quarter.  These are exact replicas of the actual coins.  The quarter is so real you will swear it is an actual coin.  On the Metals page.

Recycled/Upcycled Gourd Art
Cannonball candleholder gourd by Steph Ross of New Mexico uses old rusted bottle caps as a decorative embellishment.
Right:  Sylvia Hendrickson of New Mexico made this piece called "The Hunter".  The body is a piece of metal that was inside a gas hot water heater, and the arrow on the spear was knapped from a piece of old TV glass that was found in the desert.

Far Right: Cyndee Newick of California made these "Masai Family" figures.  She added recycled jewelry and beads and washers.  Cyndee says "I read that the Masai create art and functional items from recycled materials so I tried to honor that spirit with these figures." 

Below: Sherry Benedict of Indiana created "Mattie". 
She is made from two gourds, old springs, reused jewelry keys and locks, a used ribbon and clay embelishments.

New - Inlaid Feather Earrings on the embellishments page.  (Email me when you order if you have color preferences, or let us choose for you.)  The photo below left shows some of the "heavy inlay" earrings and a bone feather earring that I've beaded.  Now I just have to find a great project to use these with - or they could be worn as earrings. ;)
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 orders.
Arizona Gourds Newsletter Index
See all our old newlsetters from the past 6 years!  Articles and Tip are indexed.
Newsletter Index
Below: Jan Meng of Oklahoma uses a variety of items to embellish her gourd art.  The pieces shown here creatively use old bottle caps, safety pins and pull tabs.  Jan sells her work on her Hungry Holler Etsy Shop. The YouTube video  below has a nice interview with Jan and her husband. 

Below: Recycled owl gourd project by the Pocono Gourd Patch. Each member made a small owl using driftwood, small gears and chains.  Contributors were Terry Noxel, Linda Cancelliere, Claudia Hill, Liz Morris, Susan Peckala, Terry Kloiber, Nancy Veety, and Mariellen Hitner
*Notice:  We will not be shipping from August 8 - 17.  Orders placed during those dates will be shipped out as quickly as possible after those dates.
August Specials - 30 piece Diamond bur sets and travel size Diamond Files are on saleYou'll find the burs on the carving burs page. Files are on the tools page.

Tip: Did you know that you can use a pin vise to hold diamond burs?  It turns the vise into a handy sanding tool!
Toby Fraley
Teapots made from found items.
Spool Art by Crafts Unleashed  - more fun art made from old spools here.
Nirit Levav
Dog sculptures made from old bicycle chains.
DM Stained Glass
Stained glass window made from broken bottles, stemware and recycled glass dishes.
Zac Freeman makes large portraits from everyday found objects.  See the video above for a view of his process.
Cannonball candleholder gourd by Heather Schmutzer of Ontario, Canada.  The dragonfly swas made from the gourd stem plus old jewelry pieces she picked up at a garage sale.

Right: Clint Appelt of Nevada recycles old lariats and uses them as decorative accents on his gourd bowls.

Below:  Brenda Safiotti of Arkansas used baby shoes to embellish the top of a gourd used for paint brushes and pencils.

Left:  This is my own form of recycled art - I find old chairs in the trash or at yard sales and fix them and paint them.  They are pretty seating for my classes.
Right: Steampunk songbird sculptures by Mullanium (Jim and Tori Mullan.)

Below: Recycled Spoon sculpture by Peter McFarlane. 
New the to website,  two new types of Saburr Tooth carving burs.  These are great for left handed carvers as they cut well in any direction. Use the end of the ball tipped cylinder when sharp edges are undesireable, or use the side for cutting flat areas.  The safety head cylinder is perfect for when you want to cut along borders or other areas where a clean, sharp edge is needed. On the Carving Burs page.

Looking for a laugh? Use this link to visit the "eggton" blog, where the non-gourd crafting author decides to sign up for a gourd class.  Seeing this experience from a novice's eye is pretty humorous and entertaining!
eggton blog - I join the gourd society by accident

Below - a fun sign you can hang up at your workstation on in your booth.  You can print your own copy from the pdf file included just below.
(Apologies to "Gourdelia Curcubitae", the mystery gourder of GAE.)
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!
Overstock Sale - Reduced price on GREEN feathered cabs.  (While they last! ) 
On the Special Embellishments Page.

Right: Art with recycled materials from the "Ships" series by Christina Weise.
Welcome to the August issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter! 
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Love the sunsets we get in Arizona during our monsoon season!
Reader's Mailbox
Hi Bonnie - In Ohio this year, we are having a very hot, humid, rainy year.  My friend has an old bank barn that she has made into a shop to sell her gourds.  What she is getting is mold/mildew on all her finished work!!  These were all perfectly dry gourds that she has wood burned, painted, etc. All were sealed also.  Now they are a mess! She wiped them down with Clorox Cleanups and they remolded.  Then she tried Lysol and the same thing happened.  Today, it total disgust, she used straight Clorox!  She is going to lose all her wonderful work from the looks of it.  She has fans on them to circulate the air.  The barn is too big and not air tight enough to use a dehumidifier on them.  Any help you or your readers could give her would be appreciated.  She can't be the only one that has been effected with this, with all the wet weather we have been having.
Any ideas?  Linda Dunlap

How about it, readers?  Any suggestions?  Here in Arizona humidity is not a problem, so I've never encountered similar issues.  If you have some great ideas, please send them to me and I will pass them along.
Coming Next Month - Woodburning
We are looking to showcase some great woodburned projects!  If you have a photo to share, please send it to bonnie@arizonagourds.com.  We'd also love to share any tips or techniques you've found.  Thanks to all of you that participate - your content is appreciated by all of the people that see the newsletter.  FYI - Our email notices go out to over 3500 readers, plus the newsletters are seen by many more including facebook followers and web surfers.  :)