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March updates from the desert southwest...
Welcome to the March issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter!
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Featured Books of the Month:
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Here is a You Tube video from the recent Wuertz Festival. It features flute maker Zach Farley playing a homegrown and handmade Gourd Flute.
All photos and designs copyright © 2010 Bonnie Gibson and may not be used without express written permission.
Featured Gourd of the Month:
March Feature - Wuertz Festival
The Wuertz Festival was a great show once again! Despite the tough economy, about 8500 people came out to enjoy the vendor booths, classes, competition and tons of other activites that went on continuously. The Arizona weather cooperated and a good time was had by all. The gourd car races sounded like a huge hit; the cheering from that end of the building illustrated that there were some tough races happening. I enjoyed seeing he parade of gourd cars and racers thatwhich was led by the running gourd man bicycle and the mariachi band. The gourd art competition was as fantastic as ever. There were hundreds of entries and they included some truly impressive pieces!
Tip of the Month: Bird Feeder Drain
Mike Connelly of Lynchburg, Virginia, sent me this very clever idea he uses for his bird feeders. Mike adds a 3" metal drain cover in the base using Apoxie Sculpt.
(These are inexpensive, Mike buys them at Walmart for 99 cents) First, he uses a hole saw to cut a hole in the gourd at the center of the base. He tacks the cover in place with a bit of hot melt glue, then makes a long snake of mixed Apoxie Sculpt and presses it in place around the edge. Unlike regular wood fillers, the Apoxie Sculpt acts as a glue and also makes a waterproof join which is not affected by temperature. *Do you have a tip or tutorial we can feature here? Please contact me.
Special Notice: I will be taking a family trip, and will not be shipping orders from March 2nd - 19th. Orders placed during this time will be held and filled starting March 20th. All orders will be filled in the order they are received.
I enjoyed seeing a lot of you at the recent Wuertz Gourd Festival! It was hectic and crazy the whole weekend; I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to really visit with everyone. Some of you were disappointed when I ran out of some items at the show; most items have now been restocked and are available on the website.
I now have plenty of Apoxie Sculpt back in stock. I also have some great new turquoise cabochons, a new supply of nice large ammonite fossils , oil candle inserts, beaded hummingbird, butterfly and turtle pins, lots of wooden stands , and plenty of premium African quills , (including special deals on bundles of quills) back in stock. NEW ITEMS - Fantastic "Mud Beads" made from bone and horn at a very special price, Sea Beans, Dark Coffee Buffalo Teeth, Shell Dangles , Economy Chopsticks, and more!
People's Choice went to Willie Wilson. This was entered in the NOVICE category and was only her 4th gourd ever!
I just want to tell you that I think your gourd art is very beautiful and unique. I am a new gourd artist. I am not very good yet but I plan to become so. Who knew you could carve and inlay things, it is just beautiful and creative. I love working with gourds. They have brought out my creative side. I am still one dimensional but you have inspired me to try carving and inlaying. Thank you so much! Rebecca C
I got my order yesterday and wanted to thank you for the extra gift of beads you included, you didn't have to do that as I understand how hard it is to run a business and delays happen. I do thank you though, and would like to also tell you what a great person you are for all you do for us beginners, also please thank your husband as I know how valuable of an asset he is to you and your passion. The two of you have changed the lives of quite a few people and the world could use a lot more folks like you. I love the mud beads and hope you will carry them for a long time, my order was perfect as usual. Tami S - Colorado
This figure is also a rainstick. It has added shell embellishments, a leather cape and a woodend headdress.
It's always fun to arrive at the fairgrounds and see what new gourd figures the Wuertz family has prepared for the festival. The fellow at the left stands at the directional signpost to greet people as they arrive.
Right: Kathy Wuertz shows off a gourd figure riding astride one of the farm ponies. Kathy recently suffered a broken pelvis in a horseback accident, but she didn't let it keep her away!
Above and Left - Phyllis Sickles- Master's Division
Above and Left: This artist had a very unique carved style - it appeared as though the carved channels were filled with stained glass paint.
Random photos from the competition.
This best of show gourd by Lana Hinde came from the open division.
Many of you have had the chance to meet my very helpful husband, Everett, when you've attended a class or show. After 10 years of listening to me teach classes, he finally decided it was time to try a gourd project for himself. He evidently put much thought into coming up with something different. Here's his first (and probably only) gourd creation - he's laughingly calling his crafting endeavors "Bonnie Gibson's Husband's Black and White Gourds".
Ev now has a new found respect for gourd crafting and the time and skill that it takes to finish a project. I think he deserves this special mention! By the way - Everett is just shy of 80 years old, so you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
Hi Bonnie, Picked up your Project Packet for filigree hole cutting last spring. I designed this gourd in 2005. It was about 10" in height and 9" in diameter. Although I received many complements on the piece I felt it needed some revamping. I decided to try the filigree hole cutting technique all over the carved areas of the piece. I added a few battery operated candles inside and the result was beautiful. The gourd sold right after I made the changes. I would love to take one of your classes in person but since I am unable to attend, your instructional packets are the next best thing. Thank you!!
Patricia Wagner - Rhode Island
From my bookshelf: 6 of my favorite classic books that are great additions to anyone's gourd crafting library.
The Complete Book of Gourd Crafting started it all - and it has remained one of the best and most complete books for gourd crafters from beginning to advance. Gourds with Southwestern Motifs is the paperback version of my book, Gourds: Southwestern Techniques and Projects. (The hardcover edition is now out of print, but I still have a few autographed copies available.) I'm not sure why the publisher decided to change the title when it was republished, but both versions are filled with the same great information that will keep you coming back to it over and over again. Beyond the Basics: Gourd Art is another great find - you'll enjoy reading and seeing photos from some of the top gourd artists. The bottom 3 books are not specifically about gourds, but they are filled with info and photos from related crafts. These will provide you with inspiration to try some new ideas. 500 Wooden Bowls is from a series by Lark. Each of the "500" books is total eye candy! I suggest you take a look at a few of them, you'll be amazed by the art in each one. Pyrography Workbook is by the master of woodburning, Sue Walters, and is well worth the price. Finally, Pine Needle Basketry is a great resource for anyone that wants to try some weaving on gourds.
Update: Gourd Classes
Tucson classes are posted on my classes page. The new Air Dry Clay Workshop has filled quickly - but I am taking names for the waiting list for the sessions that are full. It's almost time for classes at the second Gourd Retreat at the After Midnight Art Ranch in Sonoita, AZ in April. There will be 5 days of gourd classes, including two with Maria Dellos, author of the book Gourd Art with Ink Dyes, and three days of classes with me. The stay-onsite retreat spaces are now full, but there are still some spaces in all of the classes. Register for classes on the After Midnight website. If you need lodging nearby, contact Linda Hanson. I will be teaching classes at the Pennsylvania Gourd Festival this June! Class listings are posted on the Pennsylvania Gourd Society festival page, please check there for more information and to register for classes. I will be teaching classes at the Michigan Gourd Festival September 17-19. Registration should be sent in through their festival website.
Photo courtesy of Cass Iverson
Mariachis and the "Running Gourd Man" led the group of gourd car entrants into the building and the race track area.
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.
NEW - Newsletter Index - Article and tip index from all the past newsletters!
The holes in the drain cover are small enough to keep the seeds in, but let the water out after a rain.
Special: Diamond Wheel Sets
Diamond burs are great for sanding and smoothing carved areas. A wheel shape is perfect for sanding carved background areas, for smoothing cut edges along borders, and for making perfect round and flat bottomed openings for cabochon inlay. The smaller inverted cone shape is used for undercutting dimensional carving. Regular price is $8 for 3 burs - This month they are on sale for $6 per set.
Tip: Cabochon Inlay
Use a steel ball shaped bur to break the gourd skin where the stone will be inlaid. Carve the area approximately the size of the cabochon. Select a diamond wheel of the same size as the stone. Place the wheel at an angle to the gourd and gently rock the spinning bur forward into the carved area. As you rotate the bur forward, it will create an opening that is perfectly round and flat bottomed. I recommend that you practice a few times on some scrap material to get the feel of the technique.