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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.
To go with our "World" theme this month, here are just a few representative samples of art ideas from around the world. There are many other world and cultural design books available; please check the following pages for more examples.
Saguaro rib frame, antler, turkey feathers, deerskin lace, shell and stone necklace and carved wooden turtle.
*This is one of the few times that I have repeated a design.- I sold the original at the Wuertz festival, and someone there begged me to make them a copy. Once it was completed, the person never answered my emails. (Guess this is a good reason to always get a deposit on commissioned pieces!)
June Feature - Gourd Crafters Around the World - Part Two
Last month, we featured 4 artists from other parts of the world, and this month we are continuing with 6 more. There are so many people out there working with gourds that we could repeat this feature several times a year. If you know of other gourders from around the world, please send me their contact info and we'll try to share some of their art.
Everyone has a variety of products and tools that are used for crafting - everything from paints, finishes, and glues to carving and woodburning tools. Taking the proper care in storing and using these items will extend their useablity and save you money in the long run. We'll break these items into Materials and Tools - materials are items that are meant to be used up over time, while tools are items that are expected to last a long time without replacement. We'll discuss tool care in a future issue.
Materials such as paint, dyes and glues, and products such as air dry clays and Inlace have a shelf life. For some, the shelf life is long - including bottled or canned acrylic paints, tube paints, bottled finishes and dyes. Other items such as Inlace, glues, and air dry clay have a much shorter shelf life. The biggest enemies of these products are exposure to air, direct sunlight, and extreme temperatures.
Most products should be stored at room temperature or cooler (but above freezing). Avoid storing these items in a hot garage or outdoor work area. Excessive heat will cause paint, resin, and glue products to begin curing in their containers. Some people store sensitive products such as super glue in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life. White and yellow glues should never be left outdoors in extremes of heat or cold. I've forgotten this on a few occasions, and have had to replace the bottles because the glue becomes thick and unusable.
The other enemy of these products is air. It is crucial to keep bottles, cans and other packaging sealed as tightly as possible. For example, air dry clay is called that for a reason! Any exposure to air, such as not sealing the package well, will cause the clay to harden. Even sealed packages won't last forever - check the date on packaging to buy the freshest product possible, and only buy what you can use in a reasonable amount of time. Extend the life of paints by making sure the cap is not clogged with dried paint, and that the cap makes a good air-tight seal. There are special products sold that are sprayed over the top surface of paint to retard the air exposure - or just try turning your paint upside down for storage. (This tip even works on small containers of wood filler - less air enters containers when they are stored upside down.) After using a spray product, turn the can upside down and spray until only air comes out. This will clear the nozzle so the paint will work properly the next time you spray. Spray products have a shorter lifespan (1-2 years) than bottled products, as the gas that propels the aersol spray will eventually fail.
*Do you have a tip or tutorial we can feature here? Please contact me.
Special Notice:Shipments will be delayed from June 15th - 21st while I am teaching at the Pennsylvania Gourd Festival. 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.
Coming soon - Synthetic Bear Claws. These are made from resin but are amazingly realistic. I hope to have them available very soon - look for them on the Beads and Embellishments Page. On the same page, look for specialSALE prices on some of our most popular bone beads and embellishments. (Sale prices are good only while current inventory lasts.)
NEW 2mm wheel burs are on the carving burs page. NEW Bur Boxes - these are fantastic! Check out the details on the Rotary Tool Accessories Page.
Printable PDF File
This issue marks the 4th anniversary of the Arizona Gourds Newsletters! I am surprised how quickly time has passed, and I hope you've enjoyed reading all of the issues. All of the older issues are still online and available for viewing at any time. While some of the information in the older issues is no longer current, the photos, articles and tips are always good reading. You will find links to all of the old issues on the Newsletter Index page.
This month the feature article is a continuation from last month, with introductions to more gourders from other parts of the world. I've noticed that lamps are a popular item with European gourd crafters - I hope to have an article on creating them in a future newsletter.
After reading last month's newsletter about world gourds, reader Alicia Orsi sent me the photos at the right. The top one was taken at a Yerba Mate shop in Argentina. The salesgirl at the store is holding a giant mate gourd and you can see some examples of others on the counter. The bottom photo shows a museum exhibit of beautiful Alpaca Silver embellished Mate gourds. Some of the mates are very elaborate; Argentina and Uruguay have some of the most beautiful. (Please visit the "Yerba Mate Gourds" page on this website to see more photos and information about these gourds.
Tricia Newell of Great Britian is new to gourding, but her experience in graphic arts shows in her first projects.She recently discovered gourds and the Gourd Art Enthusiasts website, and has amazed everyone with her pyrography skills. The gourds shown here are her first ever attempts at working with gourds. Gourds are not readily available in Britain, as they are too far north for ideal growing conditions. One of our wonderful GAE readers sent her a box of gourds after seeing the great work she did on her first project.
Closeup of one of Przemek's lamps.
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
*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!
Jorge Luis Martinez Ramos is from Esteli, Nicaragua. Jorge is 39 years old and has two children; one of his daughters who also enjoys painting on gourds is pictured here. He is a professor at a University in Esteli, where he teaches classes in agriculture. He has been doing gourds as a hobby for about 8 years, and is eager to try woodburning and carving.
Przemek Krawczynski - who uses the web name "Calabarte", is a gourd artist from Poland. Przemek makes wonderful gourd lamps, and if you visit his flickr photopage you will see many others both lit and unlit. Some have very distinctive "bird foot" bases.
Przemek discovered gourds for the first time in December 2008. He searched for info about gourds on the internet and was intrigued by photos of lamps made from gourds. He made a lamp for his room and then just kept making more. Each lamp was better than previous and he discovered more and more ideas.
Gourd art is not well known in Poland. Przemek has no artistic education and everything he does he has learned by trial and error. He says he sometimes looks at gourd art galleries on the internet but prefers to use his own imagination and creativity. So far he has made 18 lamps and is looking forward to making more.
Przemek will have a new website soon and we'll post a link when it is available. Contact Przemek
Flora Ritman Bulens is a gourd artist from Menorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. Flora grows her own gourds on her organic farm and shows her completed work through an artisan gallery. These photos are from the artisan gallery website, where you can see other crafts from the area.
More world gourd sightings! Thanks to Joan Eerkes for sending photos that she took at an art gallery while visiting the Galapogos Islands.
Devraj Khastagir of Kolkata,India, considers himself as a pioneer of Indian gourd art.
Inset: Unlit view of lamp just above right
Fabrice Beuillé is a French gourd artist from the town of Savigny sur Orge, just south of Paris. His website, "Toutenkalbas" shows an incredible range of gourd art, from masks to lamps to furniture. Each creation is one of a kind, and many are made with large African gourds from Burkina Faso. The photos below with people are great for comparison so you can see the size!
Even though he has no formal art training, he has enjoyed art since his childhood. Upon discovering gourds being used as part of musical instruments, he became interested in creating with them. He began growing gourds and creating his own distinctive work. Many of his pieces are inspired by nature and Hindu mythology. Devraj does some wonderful carvings and sculptures, and has even won ribbons and awards after entering some Canadian and American competitions, and is a member of the American Gourd Society. You can see more of his art on his website.
Here are a few photos from the recent San Diego classes. Thanks to Rosario Wilke (in picture below) for the photos, and for hosting the classes. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the spectacular view of the San Diego area from her hilltop location. (We hope to make this an annual event, returning again next year one week earlier in May, and traveling the following weekend to teach at the Leiser Festival.)
The Filigree class gets a demo.
Perfect carving weather!
For scale, compare the mask at left to the same mask in the photo above. (Yes, she is sitting in a chair made from gourds!) A person is wearing a large mask in the photo below. Also, note the size of the wine glasses in comparison the the tables.
*Almost time for the Pennsylvania Gourd Festival! (June 17-19th) If you are attending, please stop by to say hello and to buy supplies and tools. We'll have a table set up at my class location.
The small (2mm) size of this wheel bur makes it possible to turn tight curves and to cut very fine, delicate lines like the ones on this mask. .