Welcome to the September 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.
Update: Gourd Classes
I will be teaching gourd classes at the Ohio and New Mexico gourd festivals. The Ohio classes will be held September 29th, 30th, and Oct. 1st. The New Mexico classes will be held Oct. 12th and 13th. I will be teaching "Power Carving" and "Petroglyphs and Ripples" at both festivals. See their websites for registration and more information. (This is a one time only trip for me so hope you can come!)
I have also added some new classes for late October and early November that will be held at my home in Tucson. Two brand new classes are being offered for the first time - "River Bed Gourd" and "Filligree Carving". If necessary, additional dates may be scheduled for later in the year. These two classes will also be offered at the Wuertz Gourd Festival in Casa Grande, Arizona - February, 2007. (Watch their website later this month for class registrations)
Book Update: Still projected for late 2006. The book will be 160 pages and in full color, and will include 22 projects as well as basic chapters on tools, materials and techniques. Skill level is indicated for each project, and even if you don't make each one, you will enjoy learning about new materials and techniques in each one. Lots of ideas are suggested for making each project your own unique creation. Click here to find out how to preorder your autographed copy. The first 500 will be numbered and personalized. I will also include a special mini project (that is not in the book or on my website) with all preorders.
Trivia: The Evolution of the Arizona Gourds Website
Earlier this summer, I received notes from a couple of visitors that included some nice comments about my newsletters and website. Their comments made me think back to when I first build a very rudimentary free website with Homestead. Through the services of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, I did a screen capture of what my home page looked like in 2000. At that time, I had links to a few photo pages that were hosted on another site and very little other content.
Tip of the Month: Useful household items?
Attending a class and need to take along your exacto knife? How many times has your craft knife gotten lost in the bottom of your tool box; or worse yet, how many times have you sliced your fingers digging around for it? A simple solution is to visit your local dollar or discount store and pick up a toothbrush travel container. These cylindrical containers are perfect for carrying knives, brushes, or other tools. They come in a variety of colors, protect the contents, and make them easy to find. If you buy a set with both a holder and a toothbrush, you have two great tools! Keep one at your work area to brush dust away from carved areas or to clean hand tools. Keep another one with your painting tools. They are great for splattering paint to create interesting effects.
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Featured Gourd of the Month:
This small gourd is surpisingly complicated. Every bit of the detail has been carved in high relief from the gourd shell - nothing has been added. Look closely to see areas where branches have been completely undercut. The photo does not show it well, but this gourd was at least 3/4" to 1" thick.
The Paint Effects Bible is a library of 100 faux finishes. Each is described on a single spread with a large photograph of the finish plus step-by-step illustrations, an ingredients list, and detailed instructions for creating the effect.
A valuable source for professional and amateur decorators alike, this book comes in a handy, pocket-sized format with a concealed wire-binding that lays flat during use. These ideas are great for gourds and for painting your walls or other craft items.
A snippet from the main page in 2001 - it looked like this for many years!
This month I'd like to introduce a new line of faux finishes. I've had many people write to ask how I achieve the metallic verdigris accented areas on some of my gourds. I have used metallic glaze paints and patina solutions for several years and enjoy the interesting finishes you can achieve with these products. This new line is shown on the Metallic Glaze Paint and Patinas page. These interior decorator quality faux finishes are packaged in handy 2 ounce craft-size bottles so you can try several different products at a reasonable price, and they are less expensive than similar products sold in some craft stores. *Some projects in my upcoming book use these patina finishes.
Would you like to see your tip or tutorial featured here? Please contact me.
By 2004, I had added 12 pages of tutorials and activities, and at least 6 pages of supplies and tools. During that year I was contacted by Sterling about writing a book on gourd crafting. They had seen my site and liked the tutorials.
In 2005, the Arizona Gourd Creations name was simplified to "Arizona Gourds", and a Paypal shopping cart was added. In 2006, the website has grown to over 75 pages and has hundreds of photos and a huge amount of original free content. I've enjoyed every minute of it, and the best part is all the great new gourding friends I've met through the internet. I hope you'll continue to enjoy the website as much as I have in creating it. I'm always open to comments or suggestions.
PS - I highly recommend Homestead for easy to do it yourself website building. They still offer a free version - click on their banner below to try it out.
In 2002, I changed to a paid website to eliminate the pop-up ads that were shown on free sites. Eventually I began adding basic tutorials and a few other features. People began to write to ask me "where can I find the ____ that you used on your gourd? " I began buying in bulk and reselling a few hard to find supplies and kept adding things as I discovered them. This has been a great way to make the website self-supporting.
Tutorial - Whip Stitch Seed Beaded Rim for Gourds
by Dusti Lockey
This month I'd like to introduce you to Dusti Lockey, one of my online gourding friends (that I've never actually met in person!) Dusti creates beautiful beaded work both on gourds and on Native American clothing and other items. Please enjoy her beaded rim tutorial and be sure to visit her picture site at www.picturetrail.com/summerbird. You will really enjoy seeing more of her beaded creations and she has several pieces for sale as well! You many also contact Dusti directly at email@example.com.
To do a beaded rim technique you will need some cording (cotton clothes line or even the drawstring from old sweatpants works great), seed beads,Glover's needlesin size 8 or 10, aSharpes #12 beading needle, Nymo beading thread and a bit of glue. You should choose a thinner shelled gourd for beading so it will be easy to pierce holes as you work.
I do this type of rim after I have sealed the outside of my gourd. Spray finishes can clump if sprayed on the seed beads. This can be carefully ‘picked’ off under a magnifying light, but this gets tiresome very fast! If you are using a brush on finish, this shouldn’t be an issue as long as you brush up to but not onto the beads.
I make the holes as I go, this way I am 100% sure the beads will lay right next to each other as I go. I usually only do 3-4 in advance of where I am working. Tip: Be careful not to make your holes too close to the edge of the gourd to prevent it from cracking.
Using a Sharpes #12 beading needle and a length of doubled nymo thread, tie a large knot at the end. This needs to be large enough to not pull thru the small hole you will make. You can also take a few stitches into the cord before going thru the 1st hole. After making 1-2 holes thru the edge of the gourd, pull needle thru 1st , leaving the knot on the inside. String enough seed beads to go from the outside over the rim and into the next hole on the inside. Gently pull them snug as you come thru the hole. Repeat all the way around, making sure that each row lies snugly against the preceding row as you go. If your opening is too small to get your hand in to draw the needle thru, use needle nose pliers or hemostats to grasp the needle and pull thru.
As your thread runs out, leave enough to take a few stitches into the cord and tie off. Start again same as in the 1st hole and continue!
Measure gourd rim and cut cord to length. Carefully glue to rim of cleaned gourd. I recommend Sobo glue for this. When dried and secure you can start your beadwork. Tip: To prevent the cord from showing thru you can dye or color it before starting.
I use a Glover's needle to make the tiny holes in the gourd. I strongly recommend NOT pre-punching the holes as the number of them required thru the curves in the gourd WILL alter your measurements! The tighter the curve of your opening, the more this will change.
Tip: I add a ‘handle’ from small pieces of scrap wood to the Glovers to make punching the holes easier. Drill a very tiny hole in the wood and use Locktite or Crazy glue to quickly hold in place.
Some other beaded gourds by Dusti Lockey. Be sure to visit her Picturetrail photo albums to see more examples of her work.
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 the site.
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters