Feature - Inlay on Gourds

Inlay is a decorative technique of inserting pieces of contrasting materials into depressions cut into a base object.  In gourding terms, that simply means cutting a groove or depression into the gourd surface and filling it with some other material.  Sometimes inlaid materials are not flush with the surface; added cabochons, heishi or bead strands, glass, and other objects are inset into the gourd but protrude above the surface.   (Items merely glued to a gourd surface are usually not very secure and may fall off with handling or as the glue ages.  By setting the item into a carved depression, the item is attached much more securely.)  Other materials such as Inlace resins and other materials that can be ground down may be finished flush with the surface.  Both flush and raised above the surface inlaid items are great inlay techniques and can really add a lot of interest to a gourd piece.  Many thanks to the artists that participated below!

Arizona Gourds
November updates from the desert southwest...
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Featured Books of the Month:

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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.

What's new on the Arizona Gourds website? 
(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:

Sand Ripples and Inlay - This older piece fits the monthly topic.  It has an added lid with an inlaid handle.  This piece is inlaid with turquoise inlace and nuggets, and has some small turquoise cabochons inlaid into the burned design.
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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 almost 3600 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 GAE T-Shirt designs ! 
*Want to see my listing of top gourd books?  Here is my  "Listmania" listing on Amazon
Jack-O-Lanterns are almost behind us, and it's time to turn our focus towards Thanksgiving.  Some of you that make a lot of gourd gifts for the holidays may even be thinking a bit futher ahead towards Christmas gifts! 
Do you get inspired seeing art of all different types?   I post one or more art photos a day on the Arizona Gourds facebook page.  Whenever possible, links are provided to the original artist's page.  Remember - these are for inspiration - use them to come up with your own spin on an idea but please do not just copy other people's art.

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UpdateGourd Classes

I will be teaching two classes at the Wuertz Festival in February 2014.  I will send out a note to the
class updates list the day before the registration begins.  Classes will be announced soon.  (I have
no control over the registration process, it is handled by the Wuertz Festival, through their website.)
Tip of the Month - Surprising Art Uses for Cleaning Products
Judy Gorrell of Washington wrote to say that her husband wanted to take off ink and metallic paint from a gourd that had already been sealed. He used Goof-Off. He said it took a lot of rubbing but it took it off down to the natural gourd underneath. I haven't tried this myself but it is something to think about before I toss out my next disastrous project.
Here are some inlay related titles. Some of these are out of print but you can still buy used copies for very little through the links.

The final book, Gourd Pyrography, is a classic book filled with lots of ideas and examples from established artists.  This is not specifically a project or how-to book, but does have some of that kind of material. 
New to the website - I've taken 10 of my favorite gourds and turned them into postcards!  These are high quality, glossy cardstock and are designed for mailing, but you may have trouble parting with your personal favorites!  These are available on my gourd art "For Sale" page.   Also, a new tutorial, "Fancy Filigree Carving" is now available on the Project Packets page.
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.

Doing some holiday shopping?  Please use our Amazon Search boxes (located at top and bottom of each newsletter) to start your search.
Arizona Gourds Newsletter Index
See all our old newlsetters from the past 6 years!  Articles and Tips are indexed.
Newsletter Index
Below: Inlace Resin Inlays

Left: Elaine Linton of CA took my Inlace inlay class a few years ago and this was her class project.  She placed the eagle over a light spot on the gourd and then added metallic blue glitter to make the inlace stand out.

Right: Mask by Suzanne Lacy of Texas


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 November issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter! 
Reader's Mailbox
I live in France and my country is the Bretagne.  I work the gourd for ten years and l know your art from internet and books which l possess. I am very impressed by your réalizations!  Chantal Decroix - France

Chantal sent these photos of her gourd work - it's interesting to see how different (and in some ways similar) gourd work is all around the world.
Most European gourd artists in the northern climate zones have to buy their gourds from Africa; Turkish gourders are able to grow their own. A lot of the Europeans are influenced by the pierced designs of the Turkish lamp makers.

The gourd car to the right has wheels made from sea beans
Coming Next Month: Gifted Gourds
Next month we will feature "Gourds for Gifting".  If you make gourd Christmas ornaments, functional gourds such as remote control holders, candle holders, kitchen utensil holders, etc., gourd music boxes, or ANYTHING made from gourds that makes a great gift, please send in photos! The more unusual, the better!  If you have some tips, techniques, a tutorial or some photos to share, please send it to: bonnie@arizonagourds.com   Thanks to all of you that participate - your content is greatly appreciated and makes the newsletter shine!
Right: Here's a nice turkey/Thanksgiving centerpiece made by GAE member Steph Ross of NM.  (You still have enough time to create your own version!) 

I've seen some great gourd turkey centerpieces made from green swan gourds that have been decorated with fall leaves - this is a tradition in some parts of the US.  The You Tube video below shows you how you can make a simple version. This crafter used a dried gourd, you can make yours from either a dried or fresh green gourd.
Below: Inlaid Stone, shell and fossils

Left:  Leigh Hill - AZ  Leigh inlaid aquarium gravel into the turtle design on the back side of this gourd.  She said it seemed to be the appropriate material to fit the subject.

Below Left: Chris Pawlik of MI  did this very unusual inlay project.  This piece has inlaid watch and computer parts within a drilled filigreed area.  The outside collar texture was done by adding cheese cloth in a gel medium. 
Below: Beaded gourd jewelry by Tina Norford of GA.. Tina uses gourd shards as "cabochons" and embroiders them with beads ranging from size 11 to 15, using a few larger accent beads.  The back of each piece is suede, and looks just as nice as the front.  Tina has taught the bear necklace at various gourd workshops, and says that her students have a new appreciation of beading by the time they are finished 6 hours later! 

Reader's Mailbox
Dear Bonnie,  I ordered new bits from you and I must say....I love them!  They have made my carving go to the next level.  I have admired your work for years and I remain in awe of your talent!  One of my items on my bucket list is to attend one of your workshop retreats and hang out with you.  Having the opportunity to share your space would be so inspirational for me.

I wanted to share one of my lastest commissions that I used the Saburr Tooth Large Cylinder bur and the Fine Filigree bur on.  I also found the How to Filigree Carving so helpful.  The commission is entitled "Addiction".  It was commissioned by a local Doctor who is opening a Addiction Clinic in Tupelo MS.  I feel very fortunate to be able to create a gourd storyboard piece to help heal the horrors of addiction. The attacted photos are progression shots.  I hope to complete it soon.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Thank you for all you do for American Gourd Society. :) Sincerely, Missy Miles - Alabama

Upcoming new book releases of interest to gourders: 

From Marianne Barnes: Creative Embellishments for Gourd Art.  This book is scheduled for release in January 2014. 

From Miriam Joy:  Miriam Joy's Wax Design Techniques, scheduled for release in November 2013.
Left:  Rhonda Kesner of KS
made this mask with a sand and embossing powder inlay. 

Right: Gayle Dumas of VA said that this is her first and only inlay project.  This pencil cup she made for her husband has inlaid beads.

Below Right: Paul Buhrmester of KY sent in this very unusual inlay project.  He said this was his first attempt at doing inlay.  "One of my coworkers found the bottom part of a turtle shell in front of her mailbox and didn't want it to go to waste. She brought it to me, and I dreamed this up."  
*This was a pretty complicated project for someone to attempt when they had never done any inlay before!

Eggshell inlays

Left: Claire Cassan - France
Right:  Rhonda Kesner - KS

Claire has written a nice tutorial on using eggshells for inlay.  You can visit the webpage with the instructions at: http://www.artisanart.biz/Tutorials/Rankaku.html

Above:  Stamped clay inlay by Kathy Badrak - CA

Below: Stamped Apoxie Sculpt clay inlay by Joyce Pasche of AZ.  The bottom piece has inlaid copper wire and a set in handle made from desert debris. (Looks like some kind of cactus skeleton)
Ron Poole of Utah did these gourds with stone and fossil inlays. The lamp has an inset piece of translucent stone that glows when the lamp is lit.  The other piece has an inlaid fish fossil.

Below: Inlays with other materials

3 Gourds by Betty Banks of OK.   One piece has a sand coating and an inlaid cabochon.  The two leather tooled style gourds have inlaid conchos, with one having a strip of inlaid coarse sand and a metal rim, and the second with inlaid cactus fiber.

*Note:  Conchos and metal rims are available on the Metals page.  Cactus fiber instructions are available on the Project Packets page.
Click on above photos for more information on these products
New to the website A limited supply of clear faceted crystal studs are available on the Metals page.  These are the same type of studs as the turquoise ones that many people are using to accent their leather tooled look gourds, but these are perfect for those that want to add a little "bling"!
New to the website Bundles of African Porqupine quills.  These quills are priced far less than when  buying them individually.  Limited supply.  The 4-6" size are thick, while the longer quills are thinner.  The ones shown here are the actual stock available.  Available on the Special Embellishments page
Back in Stock! Magnesite turquoise cabochons are real stone with natural matrix patterns.  These are a cost effective replacement for turquoise, but they look good because they are real stone! 
Special this month - buy 5 packs of any size or shape of the magnesite cabs and get a free pack  (my choice) for every 5 that you buy!

Mosaic turquoise cabochons are also back in stock, and now are available in two different sizes. 
Available on the Inlay Supplies page. 
Mosaic Turquoise
Magnesite cabochons
Citra Solv is good for cleaning paint brushes, carpets and clothing after a messy art session, but the most exciting use for Citra Solv is in the creation of art itself! Use with toner-based copies, magazines or prints to create stunning image transfers onto paper or fabric.  Watch the short video to see it in use.  I hope to see some gourd projects that use this technique!
Mary Curtis of Utah  made these gourds with inlaid cabochons.
Stella Brand of OK added inlaid shell to this gourd.

Below: Ammonite fossil inlay gourds by Betty Banks of OK

Note: Ammonites available on the Embellishments page.
Below: Glass Inlay 

Crushed glass and dichroic glass cabochon inlay by Sharon Wright - KY

Left: Egyptian gourd by Sharon Beasley - MS  Sharon's gourd also has a large inlaid cabochon.

Right: Pinky Mitchell - CA
Marlene Hubbard of Iowa offers this interesting idea for inlay. 
"I have just started trying something that will bring back memories.  Remember shrinky dink making with your kids, or perhaps you did this yourself?  Shrink film, the kind used to make thunder gourds can be decorated and used as an inlay on a gourd.  Shrink film by Grafix comes in colors too.   I made my sample with ink on a stamperon white shrink film.   Just stamp on the shrink film and put in the oven per directions on the package.  It will shrink 50%.  Before completely cooled after you have  taken it out of  the oven the inlay can be molded to the gourd curvature. Coloring the design can be done before or after the shrinking process. If done after shrinking spray with a fixative.   Original art can be put on the film or use stencils.  Besides being used as an inlay the pieces can also be used for embellishments of your making and design.

I haven't done much of this as I just came up the idea when making thunder gourds.  I had pieces of shrink film that I didn't want to go to waste and thought it might  be worth a try.  I had purchased white shrink film rather than the clear that most people use on their thunder gourds.

Hope people have fun with this.  The film can be cut before shrinking into rounds and ovals or like my example a leaf shape.  It takes some practice to get the oven part figured out.  Smaller toaster and clay ovens work best.  Their is a learning curve on the shrinking process but the package directions give great hints."
Embossed copper inlay in gourd shard jewelry by Tamsen Fox - Hawaii

There are many different commercially made clay stamping texture molds on the market. 

You can experiment with different types of clay, Apoxie Sculpt does not have to be baked and it holds a nice crisp impression. 
Did you know:   "Cabochon" is a stone or gem cut in a convex (domed) form that is polished but not faceted and is flat on the back side.
Gourd Artist Yair Blaushtein of Israel takes a gourd on a parasailing adventure!