Feature - Unusual Gourd Projects
Everyone has seen gourd bowls, vases, and birdhouses - but have you ever seen a gourd BRA? Last month, I challenged out readers to submit photos of the most unusual gourd creations they had seen or made. Some were fairly tame, while others were really surprising. I hope that seeing some of these interesting projects will open up your imagination's floodgate and that you'll consider trying something just a bit out of the ordinary!
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.
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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.
I decided to feature books on knotting and braiding, as a lot of people are interested in Kumihimo (Japanese braiding) and are using these decorative braids on their gourds. The different types of Asian and Celtic knots have also been a fascination for most gourders, and these books should inspire you to try something a bit new and different.
"Leather Braiding" is an old classic - it shows how to do some really fun and easy woven leather braids that can be woven right on the gourd rim.
*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: Not getting the email notices about the newsletters? Please check your spam folder near the end of each month and add our address to your "safe senders" list. 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
The hardcover edition is now OUT OF PRINT!
I still have some on hand, but supplies are limited. Last chance to get a copy before they are gone!
(Click on book cover for ordering information.)
All photos and designs copyright © 2012 by Bonnie Gibson and may not be used without express written permission.
Featured Gourd of the Month:
"Beaded Gourd Kaleidoscope"
This was made from an egg gourd, and it contains a kaleidoscope mechanism inside the gourd. The exterior is entirely hand beaded with holeless beads.
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
*Join the class updates list to receive advance notice of upcoming classes. Get the news first and have the best chance for popular classes!
The Gourd Art Enthusiasts site continues to grow! We have 2600 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!
Update: Gourd Classes
The Colorado Springs, CO workshop on August 17 - 19th is now full, but please contact Merle Dallison if you'd like to be placed on the waiting list. I'll be teaching at the Michigan Festival of Gourds, September 14-16. Classes and details are now posted on the festival site. I probably won't get up that way again for a few years.
*Sign up for the class updates list to the left if you want to get advance notice of all classes.
Can you believe that this is the SIXTH anniversary of the Arizona Gourds newsletter? I've learned a lot along the way, and I have to thank all of you that have sent in photos and information for the newsletters. As you can imagine, it's hard to write a good quality newsletter without some fresh input from my readers. I love sharing my passion for gourds and it really makes me happy when others enjoy the same hobby I love.
Did you know that you can still see all of the past issues of the newsletters (except for one issue, that I inadvertently deleted sometime back in the beginning stages!) All you have to do is visit the "Newsletter Index" page, where you'll see what the featured article and tip is for each month. Just click on the link to the left to access each issue. You'll find lots of other info in there as well - and while some of the dates and timely references are outdated, the rest of the info is still valuable.
WARNING: Reading past issues is addictive and time consuming! :)
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Hi Bonnie, Here's my gourd from the Doodles & Glass class, and a gourd that I did with cactus fiber. Barbara Marshall - CA
Right: Judy Einboden of California made this unusual gourd "Bat House". She used the bat house specifications found on the National Wildlife Federation web site for her area of the country, including putting ridges for them to cling to on the inside and entrance, but she used a gourd instead of building it out of wood. The gourd is attached with screws to the board backing and the edges are filled with caulk to keep it air and water tight. The natural gourd surface looks like the moon's surface!
Below: A friend commissioned Kathy Kopjak of Arizona to make this gourd wishing well.
4 fun projects from Terri Camp of Alabama.
The peacock's tail is attached to a wire screen for stability and the screen was then covered with real peacock feathers, and gourd shard feathers. It is sitting on a faux-leather tooled "tree".
The Wells Fargo Coach is made from all gourd, including the suitcases and mailsack, with the exception of the tongue-depressor undercarriage. The rear luggage-compartment door opens.
The elaborate chicken scuplture and the windchimes are also Terri's.
Below: Lee and Kathy Badrak of California collaborated to make this interesting freeform gourd sculpture, "Circles".
A couple of recent sightings in our yard! The Gila Monster was about 14" long! It's rare to see them.
Tip of the Month: Gourd Safety - Protect your eyes!
*ALL Amazon purchases made through site links and the search box help support Arizona Gourds and the Gourd Art Enthusiasts websites, and it costs you nothing extra!
Shirley Nesbitt of Arizona made a gourd fountain using a small water pump. The gourd interior was sealed with 2 part epoxy, and the outside was decorated with acrylic paints.
Below: Dianne Masi of North Carolina made the "Ancient Horn" sculpture and the "Coral Seas" sculptures.
From a skilled carver: "I had a near tragic accident yesterday. While carving, the bur came loose from my tool, flew out and hit my glasses, knocking the lens out (fortunately it did not hurt my eye.) I have a sore spot on my face and red mark. My lens is scratched but still usable. From now on I will wear safety glasses - that was a scary thing."
It is not unusual for a bur to become loose in the chuck, especially during heavy carving, and can happen when using either collets or keyless chucks. Be aware - check your bur periodically, and if it shows signs of beginning to creep out or loosen, turn off your tool and reinsert the bur and re-tighten the chuck.
New ~ Travel sized hand tools. These diamond files and riffler sets are smaller versions of the regular sized tools, and are perfect for people with small hands or to carry in your traveling class tool bag. Just like the big guys - only a bit smaller and less expensive. Both sets are packaged in a handy vinyl pouch. You'll find them on the tools page. Below: New light colored mudbeads. These beads have soft shades of tan that contrasts nicely with the white bone and black designs. Also, a special offer on the darker colored mudbeads. Buy 5 and get the 6th strand for free! On the Bone Beads and Embellishments page.
Special Purchase - Special Stone "Fan" Accents
Use them around a gourd neck or to dress up a spirit doll!
Karen Brown of Michigan made this angelfish sculpture - even the fish are made from gourd parts.
Right: Lisa Ginter of Kentucky made "Woodstork", a bird house sculpture. She used a swan gourd as her inspiration. This was created for a bird house show and charity auction at her local arboretum. She cut the top off of a swan gourd and split it in half to form the base for the wings, replaced the head with a mis-shaped penguin gourd, cut the bottoms off 2 other penguins for the thighs and took the top off a martin gourd for the tail. She secured everything with apoxie sculpt and a few nuts and bolts.
Below: Only Darlene Propp of California would have the self confidence and humor to proudly wear her gourd bra! I'm hoping this was created for a special occasion and it isn't what she normally wears......!
Below: Lynette Dawson of Michigan created these two unique items - a gourd snowglobe and a mitten hanger. A music box mechanism in the base of the snow globe plays Jingle Bells!
Right: Betty Banks of Oklahoma made this simple and elegant gourd quiver. The detail "beading" is enamel paint and turquoise inlace and eather and feathers were also used.
Nan Noble of Arizona made this gourd figure hat for a Red Hat Lady convention.
Jane Chandler made a pair of sunglasses from gourd pieces!
When Copying becomes Unethical
I received this note from an anonymous reader. I was dismayed when I read about the attitude that was displayed by this "artist".
I was drawn into a small craft consignment shop yesterday when I saw a basket of gourds out on their porch. There was a cupboard full of decorated gourds and the gal to whom they belonged was busy putting out other artsy crafty stuff in her space. She had a little of everything, her execution showed she was talented...only issue being she didn't have any original ideas.
I knew immediately she was aware of the Gourd Art Enthusiasts site, I could have easily identified who her favorite "inspirations" were. I asked her if she had ever heard of GAE, she said oh yes, she loves that site. I said yes, it is an amazing collection of gourd art. She said she used to rack her brain trying to get ideas but now she just goes to the website and every day she saves two or three pictures to "copy" later. Copy being the key word here. The hair was already standing on the back of my neck. It wouldn't have been so bad had she not actually managed to copy so well.
I said, "You do know that site is not intended to be a pattern book? Its meant for inspiration and information." She said, "Well, anything on the net is free, thats why its there." I explained to her how that hurts the artist that created the original and that customers purchase it thinking it is a one of a kind. Her attitude was "Well, how would they ever know?" What I was trying to explain was lost on her. I couldn't reason with stupid.
*I recently wrote an article for the AGS on when copying is permissable, and when it is not ok. The article is below in PDF format. Please read it and feel free to email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your comments on the Arizona Gourds Facebook page. I'd love to get a give and take discussion going on this issue, and well thought out comments both pro and con will be included in the next newsletter issue. Bonnie Gibson
Right: Flowering Agave (Century Plant)
*Notice: Due to my teaching schedule, we will not be shipping from June 2 - 7. Orders placed during those dates will be shipped out as quickly as possible beginning June 8th.
Pat Birdsell of Arizona made a gourd lamp base to fit over an inexpensive lamp. She used 2 different gourds and combined them. The second photo shows the back side of the lamp.
Here’s the description they posted with her entry:
"5 gourds + 4 oak dowels + 2 lbs apoxie sculpt + 1 pair glass eyes + 1 pair teddy bear glasses + window tinting film + teak and walnut stain + 557 wooden spoons + 72 pieces balsa wood + 50 popsicle sticks + 1 peace sign medallion + 2 psychedelic fabrics + paper clay + 1 round wooden base + lots and lots of wood glue and crazy glue + ONE VERY TWISTED IMAGINATION WITH A COMPLETE LACK OF RESPECT FOR THE LAWS OF GRAVITY = Woodstork!"
* Do you have any helpful tips? Please send them to: email@example.com. We'd love to share them with our readers.
Pam Horn-Ross of California "repurposed with love" some leg and vertebrae bones from a fawn that was killed by a car. "Ancient Pots" includes small/jewelry gourds (decorated with ink dyes and acrylic paints) all mounted on a piece of a slate tile.
Vickie Siefert of California made this wonderful Mudhead Storyteller figure. It includes 16 bottle gourds, 5 spinners, various jewelry gourds, and 7+ pounds of Apoxie Sculpt! *Congratulations to Vickie for winning a First Place, Best of Division and Judge's Choice awards at the recent California Gourd Society competition.
Hi Bonnie, Thanks for the extra goodies you added to my recent order. Here is my "Dragonfly Lace" gourd made with cactus fiber. The Saburr Tooth bur was great for removing the material quickly. Karen Friend - AZ
Just added - Magnesite Turquoise Stone Donuts
June Specials - Great Discounts on Feathered Cabochons and heishi!
Jill Atwood of Arizona shared this tissue cover crafted from a gourd!