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Boise, Idaho classes
I enjoyed my recent visit to Boise, Idaho. This was my first visit to the area, and I arrived during a lovely time of year. There were beautiful flowering trees everywhere you looked, and lots of lush green grass. The temperature also was much cooler than home in the desert. I hope to visit again sometime!
I was hosted by the local Woodcraft store, and I owe a special thank you to Woodcraft employee and gourd enthusiast, Heather Mingus for making this event a reality. I also want to thank store owner Monte Eldfrick and all of the other Woodcraft employees for making the three days of classes a great success. I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces and meeting many new people at each class. The classroom facility was great; the store workshop is outfitted with dust collectors and we made LOTS of that!
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June updates from the desert southwest...
Welcome to the June issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter!
Thanks for checking out the latest news! Feel free to pass the newsletter link along to your friends.
Not receiving the newsletter? You can join the newsletter mailing list by clicking on the envelope icon. If you are receiving duplicate mailings, or want to unsubscribe from the newletter list, please send me an email.
Featured Books of the Month:
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.
I recently had a chance to view a couple of the 1000 Motifs Book series. These books have really nice line drawings and patterns for use in a variety of crafts. They are an excellent resource if you want some basic (no shading) patterns. I have not had the opportunity to look through the Pattern Motifs book, but it has received excellent reviews from Amazon readers.
Two new gourd books will be released later this month! The first is an advanced Chip Carving book by Marilyn Rehm, the second is a book on Inlace Techniques by Betsey Sloan. (Some of my gourds are featured in this book!) Both are available at a special pre-release price. Order now, and your book will ship as soon as it is available.
Several readers have asked if I have a source for the silver rims for making yerba mate cups. Unfortunately, I do not know of a supplier for these. However, these attractive little mate cups are cleaned on the outside, have a metal rim, come complete with a bombilla (the combination straw/strainer used with yerba teas) and they are the perfect surface for adding your own woodburning or other decorations. Best of all, the set is priced at just under $10. You can also order other styles of the cups plus the yerba teas from the same supplier. Just click on the photo or the link to see details of each item.
*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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
A short video showing the rotary chisels in use - this is my first ever attempt at making a video. I hope to create more in the future (and once I master the camcorder and the computer software, they should be much better!)
Carved and textured gourd with lid and hand carved wooden handle. The other side of this gourd features additional Zuni water related symbols and carved basketry, but the carved rain cloud effect is the design element that gets the most attention.
"Chip Carving" with Power!
I've always enjoyed trying new things - and when one of my students introduced me to some unusual new rotary tool burs, I knew I had to give them a try. "Rotary Chisels" were designed by a woodcarver who wanted to achieve the look of carving with hand chisels, but with the speed of rotary tools. These revolutionary new burs are surprisingly powerful, and they create great texture effects in addition to removing material quickly. The rotary chisel bur's unique, triangular shape allows you full view of the cut and allows for rapid heat dissipation, thereby extending the life of the tool. Since each cutter head is manufactured from solid carbide, the self-cleaning edge will remain sharp far longer than conventional carving tools. You'll be amazed at how fast you can work using these!
Gourd Scrap Projects - What can you make with all those cut off tops?
Do you have a box full of cut off gourd tops? Here are a few ideas for projects using these lid type scrap pieces.
1) Create an added lid. This is an old idea, but one you may not have tried. Use scrap lid pieces to create fancy fitted lids. Please visit the "Added Lids" page for complete directions. 2)Make some mini pots. Use a belt sander to flatten the stem end of cut off bottle gourd tops. They make great little vases. 3) Make a mini wall vase. Cut a small top in half and glue one half to a old barn wood or some other decorative baking. Add dried flowers for a nice little wall hanging. 4) Craft a mini birdhouse. Use the a rounded top from a bottle gourd to make the bottom of a small birdhouse, and use a larger, wider, top piece to craft a roof with an overhang. Glue the two together and add a small hole for the bird to enter. 5)Make a yerba mate gourd. Use a rounded bottle gourd top to make a cup - you can even drink from it when it has been "cured" properly. 6) Create mini "bells". Add a small bead for a clapper and hang these outside or use small ones as Christmas tree ornaments. 7) Make a mini mask. Flatter tops make great little wall masks. See the "Masquerade Vase" project for ideas on decorating your mini mask. 8) Create a gourd wind chime. Use dowels to make an upper crossbar for your mobile, or use a round bamboo purse handle instead. Add strings of small gourd lids. Place them so they will gently clap against each other in the breeze. 9) Make a mini hanging planter. Drill 3 or 4 holes at the top edge of a cut off bottle gourd top or a long vase shaped gourd top. Add wire to create a hanger. Alternatively, use cord to create a macrame style hanger. Add a bit of dirt, a small plant, and hang in a sunny location!
There are plenty of other projects that utilize tops or broken pieces of gourd scraps. Do you have some ideas to share? Send me some photos and/or brief descriptions of your "scrap" projects and I'll feature them in a future newsletter issue!
*Do you have a tip or tutorial we can feature here? Please contact me.
Special Notice: I will will be teaching classes this month in Sonoita, Arizona. I will be away from June 12th to June 15th. Orders placed during this time will be held and filled just as soon as I return. All orders will be filled in the order they are received. (There are still a few slots remaining in these classes!)
New to the website - four new colors of synthetic stone heishi. "Spring Mix" heishi has a regular pattern of blue turquoise, red coral, white, malachite, and azurite. Two new coral colors; bright red coral and ruby red coral. Both are brighter than the older style rusty red coral with orange matrix. The apple green Gaspeite is a pretty color and quite different! You find these on the Inlay Supplies page.
Printable PDF File
Update: Gourd Classes
I am teaching for the first time at the After Midnight Art Ranch, located in Sonoita, Arizona, from June 12-15th. Linda Hanson, is hosting us at her ranch in the scenic (and cooler) rolling hills of southern Arizona. I am trying to cut back on the classes I teach in Arizona, so this is a great opportunity to take several classes at one event. Sign up for these classes is on the After Midnight website. You may sign up for any of the classes individually. If you need lodging nearby, please contact Linda for more information.) Also, one new Tucson class - "Leather Tooled" Gourd - FULL
The September Florida Gourd Retreat classes are now posted. You can see them and register through the Florida Gourd Societyclass information page.
Future class dates: Texas Gourd Show - October (Please email me if you have a request for a particular class topic at the Texas show. I'm in the process of deciding which classes to offer there.)
It's hard to believe that this is the third anniversary of the Arizona Gourds Newletters! I want to thank everyone for your input and suggestions, for all of the wonderful contributions from many of you, and for the the support you provide through your orders from the Arizona Gourds website. It takes a lot of time to put the newsletters together each month, so please keep your suggestions, ideas, and photographs coming! ( If you haven't already seen them, all of the previous issues are available through the link at the bottom of each newsletter. Some of the "current events" may be outdated, but the photos, tips and articles still make for interesting reading.)
*Dynva Todd took my Peacock Feather gourd class at the Wuertz festival. She completed the large peacock feather and then carried the design much further - the large peacock with the fanned tail on the opposite side is stunning!
Sketching, wood burning, painting and carving quills and highlights on the peacock taught me a very good lesson! I will NEVER do another peacock with his tail fanned out as long as I live. I am glad I stuck with it!
Dynva Todd - Washington
"River Bed" gourd by Jo Cooley of California. Jo added the stand to make the gourd more of a sculptural piece. The added turquoise cabochon is also a nice addition.
Rotary chisels come in larger sizes, but these 1/8" shank burs are the perfect size for gourd carving. Larger sizes would be suitable for woodcarving or carving on thicker materials. These burs also work well on harder materials.
Profile A - "U" shape Profile B - "V" shapeProfile C Profile D
Rounded groove suitable for heishi inlay Creates lines quickly - similar to wheel cut Great for removing a lot of material quickly - flat bottom cuts Wonderful multi line textures
Photographs courtesy of Pat Stewart (above)
Tip: At a recent class, one of my students offered a great idea for making more precise openings when inlaying stones and cabochons. Brenda Morton suggests using carbon or graphite paper as a way of marking high spots, similar to how a dentist checks new fillings to see if they are too high and need to be ground down a bit.
Carve the opening, then lay a piece of carbon paper (carbon side down) over the hole. Press the stone down firmly. When you remove the stone and the paper, the carbon should have marked any areas that are not wide enough or areas that are too high.
Pottery Shard gourd by Darlene Propp of California. Darlene took this class at the recent Leiser festival. This is a large gourd and beautifully finished.
Book News: My original publisher, Sterling Publishing, has recently decided to cease publication of most craft book titles including all gourd related books. The rights for my "Gourds" book have been transferred to one of their subsidiaries, Lark Publishing. Lark will be issuing a new paperback edition later this year. The book will have a slightly different cover and title, but the contents will be the same. The new cover art is shown at the bottom left.
The original hardcover edition is NOW OUT OF PRINT and becoming hard to find. I still have a limited supply, and while they last, I will also include a copy of the "Rustic Leaves" project packet with all book orders. All books will be autographed (and personalized as well if you wish!)
This gourd was done as a demonstration in two of the classes, power carving and inlace inlay.
Leiser Gourd Festival
I recently taught classes just prior to the Leiser Gourd Festival. The Leiser farm is located just to the northwest of Sacramento, CA and is in a rich agricultural area. Mary and Greg Leiser were wonderful hosts, and I enjoyed being at their farm even though it was a brief visit. I did not stay for the festival on Saturday and Sunday, but by Friday when I left things were in full swing and vendors were setting up for what looked like a great time. There were several large sheltered areas for booths and classes, as well as a large building that hosted the first ever Northern California gourd competition and display. Parking and admission were free and the local communities did a nice job of promoting the festival in their newspapers.
Some overviews of the farm and festival location. My classes are ongoing in the covered area to the right. The large building held the gourd sales area and the California competition. The large curved tent like structures to the rear of the property held the vendor booths. There were plenty of racks of gourds and they were of very nice quality this year! Some were very large gourds as you can see in the photo to the bottom right.
The three photos just above and to the left are from my pottery shards class. Our class decided to take a group photo with the gourds in progress.
Some nice filigree work with fall leaves by Alice Pawlowski of Indiana.
Two gourds from Ruth Ann Smith of Boise, Idaho. Ruth Ann took a basic carving class and a feather class and I think she did a great job on both pieces. I love getting photos!
This gourd was carved in high relief by Clint Appelt of Reno, Nevada. Clint does great carving, and also makes beautiful rope baskets.
Above: Two gourd compliations by Sue Berger, showing different sides of two gourds. The top gourd has inlaid dichroic glass, the bottom gourd has an added clay octopus. They are both unusual and original!
Just for fun... A recent sighting just down the street from my home - a cell phone antenna being disguised as a saguaro cactus!.
I Goofed! The last time I ordered feathered items from my supplier, I made a mistake and got way too many of the small oval feathered cabochons. While supplies last, the small ovals (other shapes and sizes are at the regular price) are on SALE during the month of June. You can find these on the Special Embellishments page. Also on sale while they last, pairs of painted bone feather earrings. These are great for gourd masks and are also fun to wear as earrings! These are on the Embellishments page.