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Arizona Gourds
November updates from the desert southwest...
Welcome to the November issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter.  Please feel free to write me if you have any suggestions for future newsletters or feedback on this issue.

UpdateGourd Festivals and Classes

Some new February classes have been posted, and still a few spaces left in January classes that will be held at my home in Tucson; check the classes page for availabilty. I'm also teaching a few classes at the Wuertz Gourd Festival in Casa Grande, Arizona - February, 2007.  Check their website for class registrations.   *If you would like to get notice of classes as soon as they are posted, then please add your name to my classes updates email list.  People on this list will get the news first and have the best opportunity to select the dates and classes they prefer.
Book Update: I have heard from my editor that she has seen a printers sample of the book!  I am told that typically books will arrive in the US a month after receiving the sample, (they are printed overseas) and it is another month before they show up in stores.   Crossing my fingers for a December release..... Still some time to add your name to the book pre-order email list.   Click here to find out how get your autographed copy.  The first 500 pre-ordered will be numbered and personalized and will include a special mini project (that is not in the book or on my website).  Over half of the copies that include the free project are already reserved. 
Tip of the Month:  Creating flat bottomed holes for cabochon inlay

This tip comes from a friend of mine here in Tucson, Irene Oliphant.  Irene inlays a lot of turquoise cabochons into her gourds. (If you visit the Wuertz festival in February, be sure to stop by; Irene and I will be sharing a booth again this year.) 
To make neat openings for inlay, start by tracing around the stone.  Use a ball bur to carve away the gourd skin from within the line.  Finish enlarging the hole with a diamond bur (use cylinders, wheels, inverted cones or other flat topped burs)  that has the same diameter as the cabochon.  Simply press the spinning bur straight down to create a perfect opening.  Practice first on a few gourd scraps - it won't take long to get the hang of it.  If the stone is other than a round shape, or is much larger than any of your burs, gradually enlarge and smooth the hole using a smaller bur.  The diamond burs are less agressive cutters so they will give you lots of control.  You are sanding with the bur instead of simply cutting.  Remember: diamond burs will not cut through the gourd skin, use them only on the gourd pulp for best results.
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Featured Gourd of the Month:
Lizard Dance
This is a fun gourd - I added paper clay lizards and painted them with patina paints.   The gourd has been painted with a combination of wood stains on the carved areas and oil paints on the main gourd areas.  Lots of the natural gourd shell also shows through.
This gourd may be seen at the El Presidio Gallery, Tucson


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Featured Book of the Month:

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Left: River Bed Gourd
Right: Filigree Carving

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We have some great items for creating a quick and easy gourd project that looks like you spent days doing the embellishments.  Now back in stock - a new selection of feathered cabochons.  Please visit the Special Effects - Embellishments page to see some fantastic feather accent gourds by Phyllis Sickles that were made with some of these cabochons.  Just glue in them place, the hard work is already done for you.   Some of the new beaded pins also make for quick and easy decorating - just glue them on or inlay them into the surface and it looks like you spent hours doing the beadwork. (They look fantastic, the photos can't do them justice.)

You might also want to check our dreamcatcher "cheaters"; simply stitch one in place over a precut hole and you'll have a perfect dreamcatcher accent.  See an completed example on our "Kits and Displays" page.
Ohio Show Report
I had a great time at the Ohio festival!  The Ohio volunteers did a fantastic job of coordinating all of the activities and the new location was a big hit with everyone.  The weather even cooperated most of the time!  It was a great opportunity to meet new friends and visit with some familiar ones.  This show featured a very large competition for grown gourds as well as for crafted gourds.  There was lots to see and many vendors including growers, artists and suppliers.  I saw some wonderful works of art (and even bought a few pieces to bring home!)  We had some great discussions about the differences in geographic areas and how it influences the type of work and prices of finished art.
Making Gourd Dolls & Spirit Figures
by Ginger Summit and Jim Widess
Jim Widess and Ginger Summit have done it again!
I was fortunate enough to see a black and white pre-release copy of their new book a few weeks ago, and it is another winner. 
Releasing June, 2007

Dolls that dance, dolls that protect, dolls that charm: these beautiful gourd dolls do that and more. Ginger Summit and Jim Widess—authors of The Complete Book of Gourd Crafting and Making Gourd Musical Instruments—pay tribute to an ancient craft in a volume both inspirational and instructional. It’s packed with images of dolls from different cultures and eras, filled with testimonials from the most creative artists working today, and brimming with advice and irresistible projects. Summit and Widess explain how to choose a gourd, mold one as it’s growing, clean it properly and safely, pyrograph and sculpt faces, create movable joints, and make such creatures as a simple, limbless Stump Doll; beaded Zulu doll; endearing Hobgoblin; and stacked Mother and Daughter dolls.

New Mexico Show Report
I spent two days before the festival teaching classes and had a wonderful time. Our classes were outdoors and the weather was great.  It did get windy and cooler over the weekend, but it didn't seem to keep the crowds away.  The New Mexico volunteers worked like crazy to provide a great event - they had demonstrations, educational booths and plenty of beautifully crafted gourds.  Some people got a chance to see the hot air balloon fiesta - unfortunately the one morning I might have attended it was cancelled due to windy conditions.  (However, I did see lots of gourds that were made into miniature hot air balloons!)
Getting set up on Friday afternoon.
Power Carving class - look at all those respirators!
My Ohio show spotlight is on Sandra Butler from Union City, Indiana.  She is a very talented artist in both paint and beads.  She had some incredible totally beaded pieces and had many award winners in the competition.  (I bought the gourd above because I knew I'd never have the patience to do one myself!)    Below: One of her prizewinners - totally beaded.
Our AGS President,
Bob James.  
Jim Widess in yet another fashionable Hawaiian shirt!
(Jim is the author of our featured book this month)
Famous Faces in the Crowd
(And two of the nicest guys around!)
A piece of musical beauty - a gourd mandolin. Sorry I don't have the name of the artist, but it was beautiful!
A wonderful exhibit on the history, uses and varieties of gourds.
Betsy Robert's spirit doll class had a colorful time with feathers.
Left: A beautiful sewn gourd from a New Mexico Gourd Society member, Harold Sampson.  The gourd was much more beautifully done than this photo shows, and had hundreds and hundreds of tiny stitches through the gourd shell..
Right: Barbara Lewis does great southwest pieces. I bought a raffle ticket for her wonderful doll but since I never heard back I guess someone else was the lucky winner!
What's new on the Arizona Gourds website? 
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