Feature - Functional / Non-Functional
For those of you that enjoy birdhouses, you already know that some gourds serve a very functional purpose. I've seen all kinds of projects from coin holders to tortilla warmers and plenty of other ideas. For some, gourds are an art piece only, designed as a lovely vase or sculpture to sit on the shelf. Then there are the fun pieces that appear to be functional items, but are totally non-functional for their perceived use. Gourd teapots are one thing that immediately comes to mind when you think of a functional appearing object that is never intended to be used in a functional way. I'm sure we can all think of a few other examples, but teapots have been created as art pieces in many different media. If you google "teapot" and search images, you'll find plenty of non-functional teapots made from wood, basketry, paper, and gourds too!
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:
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.
*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.
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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.)
All photos and designs copyright © 2013 by Bonnie Gibson and may not be used without express written permission.
Featured Gourd of the Month:
"River Bed Mini"
This is a very small gourd vase, made from the top part of a bottle gourd. This was a class demonstration piece, and features inlaid heishi and stone, carved ripples with oxidized patina paints. New circle burners were used to make water bubble designs.
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
The Gourd Art Enthusiasts site continues to grow! We have about 3250 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!
With some of you still seeing snow (!!!) in April, I feel almost guilty about posting these photos taken on my daily walks. The desert is in bloom this time of year, and gourd seedlings are sprouting! April was national Gardening month but hopefully, May will bring better conditions for some of you!
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*ALL Amazon purchases made through site links and the search box help support Arizona Gourds and the Gourd Art Enthusiasts websites, and it costs you nothing extra!
New conchos and the return of some old favorites! Some are a special purchase and are available only while they last. On the Metals page.
Update: Gourd Classes
All currently scheduled classes and workshops are full, but I plan to offer more classes
Tucson during the summer and fall, plus I may be teaching in Albuquerque NM in Oct.
Please join the class updates list to receive advance notice of upcoming classes. Get the news first and
have the best chance to sign up for popular classes!
Tip of the Month - Joining Gourd Parts
Many gourd sculptures (including the teapots shown in the article above) involve joining parts together. There a several different ways of joining pieces, and some techniques and adhesives are better and stronger than others. My favorite two types of joining adhesives are Weldbond brand glue, which looks similar to white glue but has the strength of epoxy, and Apoxie Sculpt, which will act as both a strong adhesive and as an excellent gap filling material.
1) If you simply glue one gourd piece onto another, this is a simple "butt" joint. This type of joint is not strong, and can break easily.
2) Carving an inset area where one piece fits inside another (fully or partially) is a much stronger joint, where both an adhesive plus the larger suface area that is glued will contribute towards the strength. This is similar to a mortise and tenon joint used in woodworking.
3) Adding dowel pins or other mechanical fasteners is an option when a lot of strength is needed. The pieces may be joined by 2 or more short pieces of dowels or metal rods, which extend into both parts being joined. Glue is used but the strength comes mostly from the added dowels.
In any of these joints, the addtion of a strong adhesive such as Apoxie Sculpt will increase the total surface area that is joined for additional strength. In addition, the AS can be smoothed, shaped or sculpted as a decorative effect on the joined area.
Above Right: Sue Sizemore of Washington used acrylics and gold leaf to accent this teapot.
With our topic this month, it's a great time to mention again how much I enjoy the Lark Publishing's "500" series of book. These are beautifully done with full color photo examples of the most creative works out there. You can click on each book to read additional reviews.
Cut Out Gourd Techniques should be shipping soon. Release date is April 28th. (Preorder from Amazon and it will be shipped as soon as it is available.)
Special Artist Feature: Judy and Larry Cunningham of California
This husband and wife team put their skills together and create beautiful gourd teapots with handcrafted glass handles and embellishments. The decorative gourd teapots with kiln fired glass came about when they wanted to collaborate on different mediums. Judy is known for fine art gourds and Larry is known for his glass work, and their skills complement each other's very well. Some of the materials used include acrylic metallics, gold leaf, diamond glaze, hand made glass beads, stone and turquoise.
You can see more of Judy's distinctive gourds on their website "gourdsnglass" . Judy is also a member of the Gourd Art Enthusiasts website.
Barb Wolters of New Mexico used labels from Pelligrino water and decoupaged them to create a gourd vase. She added a glass cylinder to hold water and flowers.
Beth Pany of Texas made this gourd bowl change holder (which probably holds funds she is saving for the next gourd festival!)
Gayle Dumas of Virginia made this gift basket filled with goodies and decorated with llama images. It was donated to a raffle for llama research and raised $200!
Non-Functional (Decorative) - Focus on Gourd Teapots
Teapots are a commonly recognized form all over the world, and artist love creating them in both functional and non-functional forms. Some galleries even put on large shows of teapots and most of them are non-functional and exist as art pieces only. Gourd teapots are of course, not funtional - but they sure are fun! (Want to make your own? I have a complete tutorial with directions on creating your own gourd teapots using different methods on the Project Packets page - I've included a couple of photos of some of my early teapots below.)
"Two Old Woman " inspired by the Inuit story of the same name. I have your book and have tried many of the projects in it.You have inspired me much! I have been doing gourds for four years now. I love making these scenes and enjoyed your "Mouse Houses" project packet from your website.
Q: I am having some trouble respiratory wise and am wanting a system to use with my special mask with the filter cannisters. Have you any suggestions? I work indoors much of the time except for summer. Thanks, Toni Goldenberg - Oregon
A: There are both ready made and home made options for dust collectors. The April 2007 newsletter has an article on making a home made system. Pictured below is a table top unit sold on Amazon.
Thanks to all of the people who so graciously allowed me to share their work in this issue of the newsletter!
Bonnie, I attended your classes in Boise several years ago and wanted to tell you how much I love this "sport". I have made about 15 gourds, these are some of my most recent ones. Thanks so very much. Jeanne Dyer - Idaho
Rachael Hoch of Illinois made this beaded top pencil holder that sits on her desk. (This is a great use for those cut off tops from bottle gourds - use a belt sander to flatten the stem end, or make a base of some kind.)
Below: Here is a gourd I made many years ago, and one of the few I've actually kept. It's a remote control holder that sits on my end table.
Here is a popular type of functional gourd - a birdhouse, made by Sue Bratcher-Weise of Maryland.
Below: a functional gourd lamp made by Zvonko Spasovski of Macedonia
Update: Rotary Chisels Due to requests, I have added all 4 shapes of Rotary Chisels back onto the Carving Burs page.
*You may enjoy watching the brief YouTube video below. It shows the different shapes in use, so you can see the cuts that each one makes.
New on the Woodburning Systems page: New Circle Burning tips and the Burnmaster Hawk burning system. The circle burning pens make perfect circles every time, and come in small (1/8" circles) and large (3/16" circles). These are great for borders and other uses. You can see an example of its use below in the "Featured Gourd" at the bottom of this newsletter.
Q: What kind of functional gourd projects have you made?
Above: Judy Folkman of New Mexico made this elephant teapot.
Left: Elaine Fowler of California made teapots with beaded handles.
Below Right: Karen Friend of Arizona made a teapot set complete with matching cups, and a "Beauty and the Beast" teapot.
Below: Melissa Jones of Texas made this teapot with beaded handle and embellishments.
Below Left: Diana Masi of North Carolina made these teapots for a special teapot show in Chicago.
This short YouTube video shows all sides of one of Judy and Larry's teapot creations.
"Gourd Goddess" by Toni Goldenberg.
Front and Back views of Jeannie Dyer's gourds!
*Note: Due to my teaching schedule, I will not be shipping from May 13- May 20.
All orders placed during those dates will be shipped as soon as possible starting on the 21st. Some items may be out of stock after several days of classes, so you may want to order before those dates to ensure the fastest delivery of your items. Thank you for your understanding during this time.
The 4 lb size of Apoxie Sculpt is now back in stock! This size is the best value. Available in white plus a very limited supply in black and bronze.
Left: Susan Burton of Canada made this teapot with the carved Asian design. It has been embellished with gold leaf and has a chopstick rest knob and a rattan handle.