March updates from the desert southwest...
Welcome to the March issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter!
Update: Gourd Classes
There are still a few gourd class openings available in March. The Advanced Wildlife Carving class that I team teach with Phyllis Sickles is being offered for the last time (for at least this year), so if you are able to attend this may be your best opportunity. This class is for those that want to learn how to carve dimensionally. In addition to carving techniques, we'll show you how to analyze a photo or drawing and turn it into a 3- dimensional carving. Please visit the "Classes" page for more information. If you wish to sign up, please send me an email. Registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. You must pay for your class as soon as possible in order to hold your space. Once the class lists are full, unpaid registrations will not be held. Classes at the Welburn Gourd Festival are now online and already filling up. Please note that I am starting to limit my teaching load, so this may be my last year to teach at the Welburn Gourd Festival - if you want to take a class from me at this location, please try to do so this summer.
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Tip of the Month: Alternatives for cleaning tough gourds!
Jackie Indelicato of Florida offers her tip for cleaning tough gourds. She found a deal on uncleaned gourds and ordered a box and when they arrived they were covered with black mold and white film and horrible to clean. She put them outside just to get away from them for a couple of days. She had a happy discovery when pressure cleaning her patio and one of the gourd fell to the ground and got in the way of the pressure cleaner hose. She couldn’t believe it……it cleaned everything off the gourd in a flash. Mold, and also the hard to get off white film. She cleaned the whole box that way and in about 20 minutes. From Jackie: "PRESSURE CLEAN YOUR GOURDS, THAT’S MY TIP!"
You can see Jackies work at www.gourdsonthevine.com.
Other gourd cleaning options:
Kristy Dial of California uses Dawn Power Scrubber, a product from Procter & Gamble that is available in most grocery
or discount stores. She covers the gourd with a heavy spray and then waits 15 minutes or so before scrubbing with a
copper scrubbie. She suggests using hot water for best results.
Waylon Wuertz of the Wuertz Gourd Farm discovered that tough Arizona gourds are easily cleaned by burying the gourd in damp potting soil or peat moss. The moisture from the wet soil or moss clings to the gourd so the skin will soften and can be removed with little effort. *Caution: I have heard of occasional problems with gourds cracking when this method is used on a very dry gourd, or when the gourds are left too long in the soil/peat moss mixture. Drill a small hole at the bottom of the gourd to relieve the stress that comes from expansion.
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Featured Gourd of the Month:
This gourd has a bit more color than I usually use. The faux malachite effect was created with oil paints. I dragged the rough, corrugated edge of the cardboard that you tear from the top of a new tissue box through the paint to create the swirled pattern. The gourd features inlaid dichroic glass, variegated leafing and a fancy handle.
Featured Books of the Month:
*Do you have a tip or tutorial we can feature here? Please contact me.
March Feature: Wuertz Festival Report
Beyond the Basics is now being released in a paperback edition. If you don't own a copy already, here is a chance to get one at a very reasonable price. If you order it before the official release date of March 4th, you'll get an extra 5% discount. *Note: Even though the cover is different, the book content is the same as the hardcover edition.
The other two titles are by Angela Mohr. She has released many new books and some of her titles are available as pre-releases. (Pre-releases are available at an additional 5% discount) Most of her books are geared more to beginning gourd crafters. I have not seen actual copies of her new books as many of them are not yet on the market.
*Be sure to visit all these different book pages shown at right to see some of the many other titles that are available. Click on each topic to see a variety of suggested books about each subject.
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Gourds Southwest Gourd Techniques & Projects from Simple to Sophisticated
by Bonnie Gibson
All photos and designs copyright © 2008 Bonnie Gibson
and may not be used without express written permission.
Left: Very nice turtle entered in the Novice "My Way" category. It won a first in category and a Best of Division Award.
3 photos from the Master Craftsman Division. The judges had some very difficult decisions!
Spring is arriving in the desert! It's time for me to spend more time outdoors and to get some gourd carving done. I have lots of gourd classes going on during March, and the weather should be ideal. Some of you are probably beginning to think about planting your new gourd crop. Be sure to check out the Gourd Magazine issued by the American Gourd Society for information on growing your own gourds (and great articles on crafting too!) My next gourd trip will be to attend the Leiser Festival just outside of Sacramento, California. That event will be held May 17-18th. I will be teaching classes at the festival. Please visit the Folsom Gourd Arts site for registration information. This month there are several new additions to the Arizona Gourds site: Visit the Special Embellishments page to find NEW small copper cones, copper plated brass beads, and agate arrowheads. The feathered strips (below) are now back in stock! I've found a new supplier for premium quality African Quills (also on the Special Embellishments page.) The new stock of quills are all in the 8-10 inch range, and are sturdy and thick. These are the best quills I've ever had in stock! There are plenty of new turquoise cabochons, new sizes of drilled turquoise teardrops, and really cool Ammonite Fossils on the Inlay Supplies page.
Wuertz Festival Report: I had a great time at the recent Wuertz festival, but I was so busy the whole time that it just seemed to fly by! I did enjoy seeing many old friends and meeting lots of new people. The crowds were fantastic and by the end of the day everyone was pleasantly exhausted. I will include a few photos below from the festival. If you've never been to this festival before, you will want to plan to attend in the future. The competition was wonderful to see and the vendors had about every gourd related thing you can imagine. The Wuertz family always does a great job running the show, and in addition to the kids games, mariachi bands, gourd car races and all the other activities, there was even fun "fair food" including fry bread and curly fries. And by the way, there were thousands of raw gourds to buy!!
Photo of my booth taken one morning before the show opened.
Above: Photo courtesy Dynva Todd. Gourd now in the collection of Gerri Bishop.
This Gila Monster won best of class in the youth/teen division.
While this elk antler and cannonball gourd candle holder didn't win an award, I thought it was very imaginative and attractive. Made by Terry Frank of Tucson
The Wuertz family chose this piece as one of the winners of the annual "Festival Sponsor's award".
You may notice that this issue looks a bit different than in the past. After analyzing my site statistics, I've discovered that 85% of the visitors use screen settings of at least 1024 width. This seems to be a fast growing trend as people update their computer systems. I will be gradually switching over all of my pages to 1024 width. If you are still at the older 800 resolution you may see a small scroll bar at the bottom, but for everyone else the page will fill your screen better.
Other interesting facts:
Over 82% of my visitors use Internet Explorer. 12% use Firefox.
65% use a high speed connection; while only 6 - 7% are using dialup connections.
Above: L-R Kathy Wuertz, Lana Hinde (President, Arizona Gourd Society) Phyllis Sickles (Vice President) and Irma Brewer (Treasurer). Photo courtesy Ken Oliphant.
Below: Cruiser Patron of Tucson made this unusual motorized bobbing head chicken toy. It won a first place in the Toy category and also a "Festival Sponsor's Award".
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 the site.
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters