Feature - Beading on Gourds

This topic is a second time feature in the Arizona Gourds newsletter.  Our original feature ran in the September 2006 newsletter, and featured a Beaded Rim tutorial from Dusti Lockey.  (Older newsletters may have some dated information, but the features and tips are always valuable, so I leave these old newsletters online for your reference.  If you want to find an older article, please check the newsletter index page.)

Beading on gourds can be done in many ways, from gluing on beads, weaving them on a rim, stitching them through the gourd shell, bead netting around a gourd, or simple bead embellishments on vases or masks.  Many thanks to the artists that participated below.  Each one has their own take on beading and hopefully they will inspire you to try your own beaded projects.   Check out the recommended books below for more info on techniques and tools. 



Arizona Gourds
October updates from the desert southwest...
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*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:

"Sort of Steampunk"

Definitely not my usual style!  This gourd has a textured rust coating and an assortment of clock gears and parts.  The bird was created from recylcled rulers and a carved wooden body.
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The Gourd Art Enthusiasts site continues to grow!  We have about 3450 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
October is the month where gourders can go crazy! 
By this time of year, most gourd vines have been hit by that first freeze and the plants are done growing for the year.  Now it is time to assess your crop - once  the leaves have died back, you may discover some gourds that had been hiding underneath the foliage. 

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 - Making Resin Coated Stone/Fossil Inserts for Weaving Projects

Last month, I posted a link on my Arizona Gourds Facebook page for a Kindle book that was being offered for free for only a couple of days. The book was on using casting resin to make jewelry.  A common use for resins in the gourd world is for coating stone slabs or ammonite fossils so that they can be used in weaving.  It's difficult to drill a hole in an agate, but it's easy to drill holes in resin that is poured over a stone, allowed to harden, and then trimmed with a saw if necessary.  
Here are some beadwork titles if you are interested in trying some of these beaded techniques.  The first book, Native American Beadwork, is by Theresa Geary, who also works with gourds.  It is one of the few that actually has projects for gourds, and she has other books as well.  Dimensional Bead Embroidery, Beading with Cabochons and Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects are all by Jamie Cloud Eakin, a well known professional beader.  All of her books are well done and have great reviews.  (Bead Embroidery is new and is available as a pre-order.)  The Big Book of Beading Patterns is a good beginner's book. 

The final book, Resin Alchemy, is a good book with lots of ideas about how to use resins. It also has instructions and tips for beginners.
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.

NEW Embellishments - Magnesite butterflies are on the embellishments page.  These are drilled from top to bottom for hanging or lacing (see one in use in the Reader's Mailbag section near the bottom of the newsletter.) On the same page, NEW smaller jewelry size ammonite fossils are now available.   On the Inlay Supplies page, NEW oval magnesite beads are drilled top to bottom for stringing, but they are flat on both sides and great for inlay.  (Limited supply of both of these items. ).
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.
Arizona Gourds Newsletter Index
See all our old newlsetters from the past 6 years!  Articles and Tips are indexed.
Newsletter Index
Faux Beading Tutorial by Kathe Stark of NM
There are many gourd artists doing a faux beading technique on their gourds using dimensional paints. This is not a new technique, but it is extremely effective when doing done well.  There are some very well known artists using this faux beading technique on their pieces.  Kathe Stark has kindly shared her tutorial and tips.  It is provided here as a PDF file that you can print out. The photos shown here are representative of the technique.  Thanks to Kathe for sharing this tutorial!
Below: Beaded gourds by Ginny Watts of TX.  Ginny says that she learned most of her beading techniques from her good friend Dusti Lockey (Dusti's work is shown further down).  Ginny says that bead embroidery such as these is not hard to do, but that it is very time consuming.  This technique is definitely not for someone who is seeing a quick project or instant gratification.  Ginny likes to use the smallest Czech seed beeds available, and usually works with 16/0 and 18/0 (these are really small!!) She also gets nice texture by mixing these smaller beads with larger 13/0 and 14/0, especially on gourd rims.
Below and Right:  Beaded Rims by Kennie Winter of CA.  Kennie says "I always wanted to take a class from David Snooks but waited too long.  (David was a Washoe Indian whose beaded gourds are in museums as well as private collections. Sadly, David passed away in 2007.) Fortunately, Sylvia Nelson of CA had taken a class and was able to pass on his technique.  I attribute my two of these gourds to his technique.  The Waterfall design came to me in the middle of the night, and I could hardly wait to try it.  It was quite a learning experience, as I had done very little beading. I wish I had known then the trick of sticking a needle in from the opposite side to help your beading needle find the hole!"


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!
New items on the Metals Page  (Limited supply!)

Turtle charms and Steampunk charms, and oxidized brass beads - these items are a special purchase and only available while they last.
Welcome to the October issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter! 
Reader's Mailbox
Hi Bonnie - How about a gourd solar light?  I haven't heard of anyone else making these yet!   Darlene McAllister - NY
Coming Next Month: Gourd Inlays
Next month we will feature Gourd inlays - this can be anything from Inlace Resin to ammonite fossils to inset cabochons, cactus fiber or whatever!  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!
Not a particularly flattering photo, but funny.  Our pet cockatoo Lucy climbed off of her outdoor perch and came over to see what I was carving.  I had my phone in my pocket so I took  this picture before we took her inside.  (YES, she is suseptible to respiratory infections from gourd dust, just like humans. NO, she didn't stay outside with me while I carved! )

Right: The October Crafts Report Cover!
Below: A dragonfly gourd with beaded rim by Cathy McGavin of CA. The rim is a whip stitched wrapping of iridescent seed beads, which compliment the iridescent look of the dragonfly wings.  Cathy used clear fish line for stringing.  
Paul Buhrmester and his wife Shannon Hicks of KY are a team that loves working on gourds.  Paul does most of the pyrography, while Shannon does the drawing and beading.  Shannon designed these gourds, then drilled holes and sewed on th beads from the inside.
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! 

Below:  Kristin Johnson of KS always seems to come up with something that is new and different yet is distinctly her style!  The gourd below is beaded with larger wooden beads, which gives it a unique look.

Below: This is the basic hole piercing tool that Elaine Sutherland uses on her gourds.  This tool was made from a piece of a hockey stick (which is a very hard wood) with a needle that is a bit heavier and larger than a beading needle.  The needle was glued into a hole drilled into the stick, and the tool is sturdy enough to pierce holes even in fairly thick gourds.
Cute little beaded mini gourds with waxed linen weaving by Sioux Westberry-Kaufman of AZ.

Reader's Mailbox
Hi Bonnie - Each month I read your newsletter and always enjoy it.  I enjoyed the woodburning, here is another one of my favorite things, doing zentagles. 
Lesly Stranaghan - Alberta, Canada
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.
Kathy Badrak of CA wrote to tell me that she has found a pretty simple way to cast stones in resin. The photo here is of some baskets that she wove, attaching the weaving to holes drilled into the resin surrounding the stone.  Kathy uses silicone muffin pans.  Pour a bit of resin into the bottom of the muffin tin, place the stone in the center, and pour a bit more resin over the top.  She likes to do this so the stone "rises above the resin".  One the resin has cured, the silicone tin can be flexed and the cast stone will pop right out.  If desired, the resin can be trimmed with a saw to match the shape of a stone that is not round.  Leave enough hardened resin (about 1/4" or slightly less) so that you can drill holes along the outside edge.  
Note: Do NOT use the muffin tin for food after using it for casting resin.
Below:  Dusti Lockey of TX was featured in our September 2006 newsletter, where she graciously shared her beaded rim tutorial.  Dusti reports that she is currently working on a new "3-Drop Gourd Stitch".  She says this is a great stitch for dipper handles and as a foundation for ornaments and jewelery.  When she gets the tutorial completed she plans to share it on the Gourd Art Enthusiasts website.  

Dusti is a a Lakota artist focusing on traditional and contemporary beadwork, and has been beading on gourds since the 90's.  Dusty developed her own technique for beading on gourds and feels that the beading complements all of her other gourding techniques. Dusti says she has worked up to several months on some of her more complicated pieces. 

Tips from Dusti: Buy quality seed beads. Cheaper beads are often irregular in shape and size and won't lie nicely on the gourd.  The best are Czeck and Italian seed beads with a wide range of colors and sizes to choose from. French and German seed beads are nice, but colors are limited.  Japanese beads are nice but some of the colors can fade over time.
Below:  Beaded gouds done in a variety of different techniques by  Elaine Sutherland of Iowa.  The hummingbird gourd is especially amazing, as not only are the beaded hummingbirds stitched through the gourds, but all of the flowers have been sewn through the gourds with embroidery floss!  I can't imagine the hours invested in this piece.
To make this sunflower 3-dimensional, Elaine cut a piece of cardboard into a petal shape, beaded it front and back, then added it onto the gourd.
Below: Beaded rim gourdand beaded doll by Theresa Geary of NC.  *Theresa has written several books on southwestern beading projects, and some of the books include some gourd projects as well.
Below: Not a gourd, but so good that I had to share!  This piece is a beaded ostrich shell Tiffany style lamp by Alida De Carlo of Australia.  There is a lot of crossover between eggers, woodturners, and carvers, and we all use similar techniques.  This piece was beaded by gluing the beads on with Tacky glue.  She used 57 different colors of beads, and it took her about 6 months to complete. 
Tip from Kennie: When planning the bead design, I use a 3x5" card with lines drawn about 1/4" apart or whatever distance is appropriate for the size beads I am using.  Then I actually sew several lines onto the card, developing the design as I go. It is much easier than pulling out stitches from the gourd.
Click on above photos for info on two brands of suitable casting resins.
This gourd is also by Kathe Stark of NM, but the beads are real and have been inlaid into the gourd surface.  Kathe strung the beads onto fish line, and then glued them in place.  (She did not indicate what kind of glue she used, but I would suggest using a clear drying glue such as Tacky or Weldbond, as CA glues may possibly "fog" the beads.) She glues in a few rows at a time to allow the glue to grab well.  Once the entire area is finished and dry, she adds a coat of PolyAcrylic liquid varnish to doubly secure the beads in place.
Fall also brings lots of art and craft shows and Halloween is huge in many places.  Gourds make perfect permanent jack-o-lanterns or other Halloween decor.  (This lovely trio is by GAE member, Denise Smith.)
Reader's Mailbox
Bonnie,  Woodturner James Johnson of Kerrville, TX saw my gourds with cactus fiber and decided to use it on his woodturning.  I thought that gourders might enjoy knowing that woodturners are inspired by gourd art.  Usually, it's the other way around.  His website is www.jamesjohnsonwoodturner.com.
Judy Richie - TX
Reader's Mailbox
Bonnie,  I finally finished one of the gourds from our classes in Missouri.  I just got the butterfly from you so I had to use it.  This was the first time I have used pine needles.
Madonna Watermon - MO