Arizona Gourds
Updates from the desert southwest...
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Featured Gourd of the Month:
Some of my recent students may recognize this piece as one that I worked on as part of class demonstrations.  This gourd is carved, painted with acrylics and wood dyes, has inset hematite heishi and a carved basswood hummingbird.

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Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
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The Gourd Art Enthusiasts site has about 5250 members, with gourd enthusiasts from all over the world!  The site also has state groups, event listings, a Q&A forum and a chat feature.

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*NEW GROUP on Facebook - "Gourding Destash".  This is the place to sell your used gourd tools and excess supplies.  No fees to sell your surplus supplies and raw gourds.* 
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The first two books are re-releases of a couple of gourd books that were out of print for a while.  The "Gourds in your Garden" is a classic for those who want to grow their own gourds - and it's already planting time in some parts of the country!

The last 3 items are just to show you some of the interesting gourd related things you can find on Amazon. I love the carved wooden cookie mold and I can picture a gourd club making gourd cookies with the metal cookie cutter.  The third gourd is supposed to be good feng shui, but it's kind of a fun piece that would also look good hanging from the rear view mirror in a car!
Arizona Gourds Newsletter Index
See all our old newlsetters from the past 10 years!  Articles and Tips are indexed.
Newsletter Index
I often get questions about shipping costs that are added to shopping cart sales.  To clarify things, I've added a new page to the website,
Shipping Policies.
I am using a no-frills shopping cart program that has limitations and little flexibility.  By not paying for expensive software, I can offer you lower prices on the website merchandise.  I'm not looking to make a profit on shipping;  if you order lightweight items you will likely get a refund or some freebies to make up for it. Please take a minute to look at the shipping policies page for clarification and explanation of how things work.  If you ever have any questions, please feel free to email me directly.  I value your business!
Welcome to the March issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter! 
Photos and design copyright ©  by Bonnie Gibson and  may not be used without express written permission.
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Class updates

Tucson classes will be offered again at the beginning of April.  Keep an eye on the Classes page for more info - or email me with your requests for specific classes.   Anyone interested in a pine needle weaving with a cabochon class? 

Scheduled classes with openings:
3 day gourd retreat in Temecula, California  April 28-30 OR May 2-4 2017  Information on the classes page.  Leather Tooling, Inlace Inlay, and Added Handles/Patinas and Textures.  Please contact me to register or for on site lodging information.  There are still a couple of spaces in each session.

3 day gourd retreat in Page, Arizona October 21st - 23rd.  Information on the classes page.  Please contact Marcia Krickhahn at to register. Retreat will be a hummingbird gourd project and the Native Treasures gourd project. NOTE: This is an all inclusive retreat with lodging, food, gourds and instruction for an extremely low package price.

Enter your email address into the text box, and hit the submit button to join the class updates notification list.
NEW LOWER PRICING on all stone studs in all colors and sizes!  (These are some of the crystal studs I used on the "Evening Star" gourd shown at the top of this page.)  On the Metals page
Another year of the Wuertz gourd festival has gone by, and it was a busy 4 days of classes and activities.  While I didn't have a booth this year, many of my gourd friends stopped by my class location to say hello and of course we had a great time in the classes as well. This year probably was the best over all weather and temperature we've ever enjoyed for the festival.

I have added some photos below from the competition that was held by the Arizona Gourd Society.  I took them before judging had taken place, so I apologize that the ribbons and recognitions aren't included with the photos.  There were a lot of lovely pieces in the show.  Shown to the left is a photo of the piece I entered in the Grand Masters display, entitled "Evening Star".  Several people said they were surprised to see that I had broken form and added some "bling" to this piece.  (I used some of the new crystal studs scattered around for a star like effect.)   I used a metal ring just below the lid to give a finished edge, and the "moon" and hummingbird were carved from basswood.
NEW - Saburr Tooth Concave Cylinder bur.  This bur is perfect for quick rounding over of gourd rims, faux basketry and more.  It has a safe end so you can cut cleanly up to borders and edges.   On the Carving Burs page.

NEW - Sanding Stick 4 packs - Now you can color code the grit of each sanding stick and have 4 different grits at hand for quickly changing from one to another.  This special set contains one each of 120, 180, 240 and 320 grit sanding sticks, PLUS you get 20 replacement bands (5 of each grit).  Buying them this way is more economical per piece than buying sticks and bands individually.  On the Tools page.

New to the website - packs of 25 fine tip applicators for use with ink or alcohol dyes or even paint.  Also, a new keyless chuck pin vise with drill bits - the keyless chuck holds tiny drill bits all the way up to regular 1/8" shank Dremel burs.  

Thank you!  Your purchases made from Arizona Gourds and from our Amazon links enable us to keep these free newsletters and the Gourd Art Enthusiasts site available.  We sincerely appreciate your business.
Feature:  Arizona Gourd Society Competition at the Wuertz Festival

Enjoy the photos of some of the wonderful entries!

Book Review:  "The ABC's of Woodburning" by Orchid W Davis

For Orchid Davis,  carving birds led to woodburning and to teaching bird carving which in turn led to her writing “How to Woodburn Wildlife” (1999) and “Woodburning Western Life”. Now that both books are out of print, she has combined the best of both books with another ten years of experience and teaching to produce “The ABCs of Woodburning.”

Readers Mailbag:

Hi Bonnie, I really had a great time in your classes at Wuertz this year.  Thought you might like to see the finished product.
Sue Potter - CO
Tip of the Month:  A Simple Painting Tool

This large, stylized horse head sculpture by Vicki McKenna won many awards, including best of show. The photo doesn't do it justice.
This literally IS a "Burning Class in a Book" as the cover says.  Orchid has a down to earth style that makes you feel like she is sitting next to you offering instruction along the way.  This is a great book for beginners, but there are so many valuable little tips scattered throughout the book that more advanced pyrographers will also find helpful information. 

The book begins with a discussion of tools. Orchid's preferred burner is a Colwood, and her pen descriptions all use Colwood's numbering system, but there are photos showing the actual shapes of pen tips. You can use any brand of burning system or pen.  Every artist will have their own preferences.   She also includes information on safety which is a must read - especially the part about why you shouldn't be burning over toxic materials such as glue and plastic.  Next, she addresses art techniques such as shading, perspective and proportion, and different styles of art. The next section is on tool use and techniques for burning such as pen selection, burning different types of lines, using  depth and darkness of burned lines to create contrast, and even how to burn realistic eyes.  ***She also discusses using a woodburner to cut through gourds, and this is the only part of the book I disagree with.  I feel this is too hard on your equipment and that setting your gourd on fire is not really a good thing. Unless, of course, you enjoy replacing broken pens and cords, and possibly meeting cute firefighters. ;)   Next, there are some simple patterns and examples but I found the most valuable part of this section was the discussion on how to create your own patterns.
This book is softcover, has over 100 pages and is fully illustrated with photos, drawings and art in both black and white and color. If you are interested in ordering a book, you can reach Orchid at  Please include your address with your inquiry, and she can give you a total depending on if you want priority mail or regular mail shipping.  She also will offer a special discounted price to gourd clubs that purchase 10 or more at a time and want to use this as a fund raiser.  Orchid's website is
Readers Mailbag:

Hi Bonnie,
Just want to say thanks for the little extras you always seem to include with my orders.  I know I am not alone in finding you a most inspiring person.  I bought your book last year when I first discovered gourds and as you can see by my work so far I still have a lot to learn, but that is fine, as I just love this craft. I couln't have even done this gourd without the knowledge I've gained through your book. The tiger is still a work in progress. I will do malachite inlay top and bottom, still not sure whether to put inlay in the paw prints.
With kind regards,
Judith Grabyn - Australia

Have you ever put your brushes in a cup to soak, only to find that you have permanently damaged the bristles?  Here is a simple tip to protect your brushes that uses items you may already have on hand.  Simply take a small length of foam pipe insulation foam or a pool noodle, and slice it on one side, which allows you to clip it over the side of a plastic shoebox or storage container.  Cut a few more slices across the face of the foam (don't cut all the way through!) and wedge the brush handles in place so they are suspended in the water but the bristles don't touch the bottom of the container.  When you are finished painting, just clean your brushes as usual.  Murphy's oil soap is a good brush cleaner, and I'm told that when it is watered down just a bit it is a good replacement for Formula 49.
Coming Soon!  Later this month, my revised edition "Gourds" book will be released by Echo Point Publishing.  The book has changed a bit - it now has an added "Filigree Carving" chapter, and an updated gallery section with newer work. 
Above and below - minis with a finger for scale!