Tip of the Month:   Lighted Reading Glasses

Arizona Gourds
May updates from the desert southwest...
Welcome to the May 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:

Search Now:
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. 
This month has a random smattering of books that people have recommended to me.  Sometimes it's fun to look at a book that is from a different medium - you can get some great inspirations from other crafts. Do you have a favorite craft book that has inspired your gourd art?  I'd love to hear about it.
*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:  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!

What's new on the Arizona Gourds website? 
(Click on book cover for ordering information.)
All photos and designs copyright © 2011 by Bonnie Gibson and may not be used without express written permission.
Featured Gourd of the Month:

"Butterfly Helix"

This gourd has a carved double spiral with filigree and butterflies.  It has a small amount of inlace and inlaid heishi, as well as woodburning, and an added lid.  Made for a friend that likes bugs!
Tell a friend about this page
May Feature -  What can you do with little gourds?

I recently got an email from Gary Mohr, who mentioned that last summer all he was able to grow was mini gourds, and he wondered what kind of projects he could do with them.  This sounded like a great topic, and I did receive some wonderful photos of different objects made from small gourds.  Thanks so much to everyone that shared - we all need a little inspiration now and then!

To get things started, here are just a few items I've made out of mini gourds over the past decade. 


Printable PDF File
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
Newsletter Index
*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 now have over 1820 members and over 6300 gourd photos to inspire you.  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 ! 
UpdateGourd Classes

I will be teaching 3 days of classes in Visalia, California, May 6-8.   These classes will be held at the Garrison gourd farm.  Please check the Classes page for more information and dates.  If you would like to register, please contact Cecile Garrison at 559-740-6060, or ocecile123@yahoo.com   (The power carving session is full, but beginners are welcome at all of the classes - tool info is covered in each class.)  These are my only CA classes scheduled for this year.

I will be teaching at a gourd workshop/retreat in Kentucky August 4-7.  Classes are held indoors so no worries about the heat and humidity.  For those of you disappointed that I'm not teaching in PA this summer, this is a good alternative and my only trip to the eastern states this year. Contact Janet Barnett for more info.

*Possible classes in Idaho in September - sign up for the class updates list if you want to receive information.

I will be teaching 4 days of classes at the Texas Gourd Festival, October 13-16.  Classes and registration information are posted on the Texas Gourd Society page
*Want to see my listing of top gourd books?  Here is my  "Listmania" listing on Amazon
Mini chip carved birdhouse by Jim Bennett of Florida.  *Jim wants any growers that have a large supply of small, thick gourds suitable for chip carving to contact him.

*Do you have a tip or tutorial we may feature in a future newsletter?  Please contact me.
Sale:  Special price on 10 packs of economy Diablo conchos.   These economical stamped conchos are just the thing to accent that leather tooled design or western themed gourd.  The concho is domed and has a stud on the back, so most of the time all you have to do is drill a small hole and glue the piece in place.  For a limited time and while they last, you'll get a two dollar discount on 10 pieces.  Look for these on the Metals page.

Sale:  Special price on 10 packs of bone "Tusks".   These bone beads are perfect for accenting gourd projects - and make great earrings for gourd masks.  While they last, bags of 10 pieces are on sale for $2 off the regular price.  If you like the look of these and want beads to match, they blend perfectly with the dark resist mud beads - both are on the Bone Beads and Embellishments page.

Sale:  Special price on 14 and 16" drum skins.   Buy a 14" skin, get a 16" size at no extra charge - or get a 16" for a dollar off the regular price.  These are on the Musical Supplies page.

Colored Pitt Pen sets and Multi-size tip Black Pitt Pen sets now back in stock on the Kits and Displays page.
Mini gourd with lid - collection of Jim Widess
About Gourd Kaleidoscopes:
In the 90's, I discovered small kaleidoscope kits that were marketed to woodturners. They used them in wooden eggs, but I decided to try them in gourds.  The kits are still available - here is a supplier.   As a bonus, below are my original 2002 instructions that tell how to choose and prepare a gourd for the kaleidoscope body.
Ornaments by Ann Alexander of New Mexico
Coming Soon: 
June -  Gourd Purses
A lot of you make wonderful gourd purses - I'd love to showcase your work!  Please send photos of inside and out, construction methods, hinges, etc. Any tips on construction or lining you have to share are much appreciated.   If so, please send your ideas and photos for the next issue to: bonnie@arizonagourds.com.
I don't know about you, but when I hit my 40's, my eyes changed a lot!  I used to be able to do fine scrimshaw, miniatures and very fine sewing with no problem, but not these days.  Now I'm forced to wear a pair of reading classes to read the fine print in the phone book and to do a lot of crafting tasks.  I have bought many pair of inexpensive reading glasses that are left in strategic places around the house, or often perched on top of my head since I don't need them for other activities.  

I recently got this tip from *Nadine Spier, an accomplished basket weaver (I featured her pine needle weaving DVD in the March 2011 newsletter) who does a lot of close work.  She has started using light-up reading glasses to give her a little extra light where it is most needed.  Foster Grant "Light Specs" are one brand, but there are other, less expensive versions available as well.  The glasses come in varying strengths, so you can get the correct amount of magnifications, and each arm has a tiny flash light which works like a little headlamp to add a lot of light to the area where you need it most.  The lights can be turned on and off are are not noticeable when wearing these as regular readers.  Different frame colors and shapes are also available for those of you that are fashion conscious!

Gourd Oddities:
Fun in Dallas:  Do you live in the Dallas area?  Maybe next fall, you can convince the volunteers at the Dallas Arboretum to recreate their pumpkin village using all gourds instead!

Below: 4 Necklaces and diorama style ornaments by Linda Ashmore of Arkansas
Mini Vase by Grace Gresser of  CA See the penny for scale - the gourd is 1.5" tall.

Fun sculptures made with mini gourds, wire, clay and acrylics by Liz Drake of IL.
Gourd Bowl filled with mini woodburned gourds by Holly Parker of Georgia
Below: Mini gourd vases and an "Alice in Wonderland" ornament tree made by Joan Clinton of Florida.
Mini Teapot by Nan Noble of AZ
Steven Juhlin of MO created these ornaments from mini gourds.  The ornament with the stars was lit by inserting a small bulb from the light string on the Christmas tree.
Notice:  I will be teaching classes May 5-9, and will not be shipping orders during that time.  Orders placed during these dates will be held and shipped just as soon as possible.
Banana gourd with knotless netting
Mini Mask pins made from jewelry gourds
Nightlight made from large egg gourd - (kits available).
Easter Candy Boxes made from large egg gourds (pattern available on the project packets page.
Easter Basket ornaments made from  egg gourds - free tutorial available
Mini gourd with lid made from small gourd top
Kaliedoscope gourds.  Made from a variety of small gourds - egg and bottles (top part of bottle was saved and used for lid handles)  Cactus Kaleidoscope in the collection of David and Ronna Wuttke
Here are some lovely beaded minis by Linda Rokosz. Linda runs a small farm in South Dakota called Ruckus Ridge Farm, and she has kindly allowed us to share a link to her tutorial for creating this type of beaded gourd ornament.
Ornaments are popular.  Here are a couple of ornaments and a tiny vase by Rita Heller of MI. You can tell they are small - they are pictured sitting in an egg carton.
France Benoit of Montreal, Canada did these wonderful sculptures of ladies and roosters from small gourds.
Mini ornaments by Janice Hill of Colorado
Mini teapot by Kathy Page of CA
Karen Phillips of AZ made this copper wire woven gourd being proudly shown off by her grandson.
Phyllis Sabean of BC, Canada made this sculpture of an African lady using paverpol (a fabric draping medium and decorated her with mini gourds.
Contemporary sculpture made from 3 banana gourds by Barb Wolters of NM.
Sculpture "Tuck" was made by Bonnie Adams of IL. He is made from 28 Tenn Spinners, 1 mini bottle (split), parts of 4 penis shield gourds, 2 banana gourds, 1 crown of thorns, 1 small vase gourd and parts of 2 curly dippers.

Left: Stephanie Hackenbruch of WA made this nightlight - it has a hole in the base and sits over a battery operated tealight.
Below:  Sandy Taylor of GA made this sculpture complete with 21 mini gourds, all decorated with different techniques. 

Nikki Ogle of TX creates wonderful sculptures (you might have seen her delightful
"Scarab Beetle" in the August 2010 Arizona Gourds newsletter)  These pieces are larger gourds that have been embellished with mini gourds.  The orchids are all crafted from mini gourds, and the birds in the second piece are also mini gourds.  The baby birds are a closeup view of the birds shown inside the gourd above.
*Nadine Spier has a great website for her basket work.  I encourage you to check it out. 

Look for my review of her second weaving DVD in a future Arizona Gourds newsletter.

Click on any of these photos to see more details.
Right and below: Wonderful beaded and pyroengraved minis from Ginny Watts of TX.
Right: Three exquisite little minis from Sue Kosta of Idaho.  The birdhouse is a box and when you remove the gourd seed lid, there is a small nest inside.  The piece on the far right has been inlaid with Inlace resin.
Carrie Cervantes of MI makes fishing lures from bananna gourds.  She uses real hooks (with the sharp barbs cut off) and hangs them with fishing leaders. 
Gourd Oddity: 
From Diane Pearcy of Visalia, CA
"Last year, I grew jewelry gourds for the first time.  I was surprised when I found these two attached together at the stem - and they are different shapes!  They are from one bloom.  The fun experience of growing gourds never ends.  So what did I do with my new twins?  Framed them, of course."

Cheryl Lewis of Kansas makes a personalized gourd
kaleidoscope for each of her grandchildren.

Below: Jan van Dierendonck of Snowflake, AZ did these great woodburned minis.

Kris McCracken of Idaho made this wonderful 1" = 1' scale "Gourd Garden".  It has the tiniest jewelry gouds she could find.  The gourds are made into masks, a gourd drum, beaded gourds, a gourd with leather lacing, one with a patina finish, a rainstick, painted gourds, a chip carved gourd, and a thunder gourd!
Above: Judy Jaussaud of WA did these beautifully painted little ornaments.  Judy teaches porcelain painting, and that style is reflected in her florals.

Left: Melinda Barrett of SC made the mini baskets at the top of this photo, and then taught it to her patch.  The results are great!
Note: After many hours of phone calls and searching, I found a supplier who was willing to sell me some turquoise at close to the old prices. I have added new turquoise with very few price changes. However, expect to see some upward adjustments in prices over the next few months.