Arizona Gourds
(Somewhat irregular) news from the desert southwest...
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Featured Books of the Month:

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I have a good friend whose favorite pasttime is visiting bookstores to find interesting art and reference books. One of her passions is exploring the use of collage and other unusual materials for use on her gourds and other art projects.  I was able to look through some of her favorite books on the subject and have listed a few of them here.  

The "500" and "Masters" series from Lark Publishing are some of the most inspirational books for artists.  They feature works from some of the top artists in their fields.  I own several of them including the Masters of Woodturning.   While I'm not a woodturner, the ideas for surface decoration carry well over to gourd art.  Definitely worth a look!

The Complete Book of Gourd Carving is a new, revised publication with expanded material including a gallery section from top of the line gourd carvers. (I have some more material in this version as well).   You can preorder it now to guarantee the best price.
*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.
What's new on the Arizona Gourds website? 
Featured Gourd of the Month:

"Harmony in Gold"

Golden autumn ginkgo leaves and an Anna's hummingbird are on this carved, lidded vessel.  10" canteen gourd. 
Thanks to Gary Bradley for this photo which was taken at the Arizona Gourd Society competiton at the 2014 Wuertz Festival.

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Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
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The Gourd Art Enthusiasts site continues to grow!  We have about 3780 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!   Check out our two great new GAE T-Shirt designs ! 
*Want to see my listing of top gourd books?  Here is my  "Listmania" listing on Amazon
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Tip of the Month:  Hoof Knife Cleaning tool - Rubber Grip Material

Do you have any helpful tips? We'd love to share them with our readers, and we'll be sure to give you proper credit.  
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Unless othewise noted, photos and designs are copyright © 2014 by Bonnie Gibson and may not be used without express written permission.

Welcome to the March issue of the (irregular) Arizona Gourds newsletter! 
UpdateGourd Classes

New on the embellishments page:  Imitation eagle and bear claws, large stone fans and more.

Lesley Orr of Georgia sent in these great tips:
"My husband is a horse shoer and his hoof knife (pictured) is one of my most treasured tools for cleaning out gourds. It works similar to a potato peeler but with only one blade and the curl at the tip helps get those stubborn veins out. 

Also,  I bought some of that waffled rubber stuff that is sold to put under throw rugs (it keeps throw rugs from slipping around on hard flooring). When sitting, I put one rectangle of that rubber stuff on each leg. The rubber grips my slacks and the gourd for a non-slip grip."     * Note:  you can buy rolls of this shelf liner type material at dollar stores - sew a large piece onto the front of your apron for a non slip work surface. 
Were you a winner of a top prize at the recent competition at the Wuertz Festival?  Are you hoping to be a big winner at a different 2014 AGS gourd competion?  Please read below. 

To reward excellence in artistry, and to promote interest in entering artwork in gourd competitions, Arizona Gourds will offer a special  2014 "Gourd Artistry" award including a cash prize. 

This year, any gourd art that wins "Best of Show", "People's Choice" or "Best of Division" awards, OR is entered into a "Grand Master" category at any 2014 AGS gourd show, will be eligible to compete for a $100 cash award OR a $150 merchandise credit from Arizona Gourds.   In addition, a $50 donation will be made to the state society that hosted the show where the winner qualified.  (If the winning entry won awards at more than one show, the donation will be divided among these state societies.)   Other prizes may also be awarded depending on the number of entries received.

How to enter:  If your gourd meets one of these criteria, submit up to three photos of your prize winning gourd,  and at the end of 2014, the winner will be announced. Because the judges will be basing their decisions on photos and will not be able to see the finished piece, it is very important that clear, high quality photos are submitted!  It will be your responsibility to submit photos of your art, but competition chairpersons are strongly encouraged to submit the photo entries for all of the qualifying winners at their shows.  Please include information about your photo including at which show the prize was awarded, your full name and contact information, and any special information about the piece you would like to include.

After a show is completed, please send photos and information about each winning piece to: or  Please put "Gourd Artistry Award Submission" in the subject line. 
Entries may also be mailed to Arizona Gourds, 5930 N Camino Arizpe  Tucson, AZ 85718-4612
Many thanks to all of you that stopped by my booth at the Wuertz festival or took classes from me at the festival.  It was great to see so many familiar faces and to meet new people.  I have to apologize though, as I picked up a nasty head cold during the event and I wasn't feeling all that great by the time the weekend concluded.   I hope all of you came home germ free.

Usually, the festival is so hectic that it is difficult to see things or to even remember what I have seen.  My trip to the competition area lasted about 5 minutes and I wish I had more time to really enjoy some of the wonderful entries.  I did take a few photos, which I will share below. I usually go around the building and quickly snap photos of whatever catches my eye and I don't even notice if they are ribbon winners.  The fun thing is to look at the photos later and realize that I don't even remember the piece - so I'm glad I have the photos to remind me.

The Arizona Gourd Society publishes a DVD of the winners from the show which includes the Grand Masters category as well.  The cost is $6 and you can find out how to order your own copy by visiting the Arizona Gourd Society home page

Below: This was what we saw early each morning on the drive from our hotel to the festival.
2014 Arizona Gourd Society Competiton at the Wuertz Festival

Here are some photos taken at the recent competition. These were taken at about 4:55 on Saturday afternoon - which left me with about 5 minutes to fly through the building and take photos of whatever caught my eye.  Most of the time I didn't even pay attention to the ribbons, I just took random photos of interesting pieces.  Unfortunately, I had to throw out a few photos, as my speed through the building combined with spinning turntables made it hard to get good shots.  Lots of nice work was on display!
I don't usually teach classes for absolute beginners, but recently I had a special session for the Tucson Museum of Art Docents.  They toured my home and studio last fall and after seeing all of the gourds, they decided they really wanted to learn how themselves.  We did a faux raku class and they also learned how to clean and cut gourds, and some of them used a dremel tool for the first time.  The class was fun -  I suggested that they should think back to kindergarten days and just go crazy and play with the colors, and pretend they were fingerpainting!  All of the gourds turned out beautifully and they all seemed to have a good time.  Thanks to Jashio Pei for the photos.
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Gourds with Southwestern Motifs by Bonnie Gibson

The hardcover edition is now out of print.  This is the paperback version of my "Gourds" book.

All copies I sell are autographed.

(Click on book cover for ordering information.)
NEW -  I will be teaching in Blue Diamond, Nevada (just outside of Las Vegas) on April 30th and May 1st.  Registration is now open - check the classes page for details.
Lots of unusual embellshments on the Metals, Embellishments and Special Embellishments pages!

Lots of new cabochons on the Inlay Supplies page!
* This piece was incorrectly identified at the show.  This gourd is by Jenn Avery of Pennsylvania.