Yesterday I wrote about sticks and stones, and I’m not yet finished with Mother Nature and her contributions to the world of arts and crafts. Just look at what fun you can have with a few gourds!
Susan Taber — “The Gourd Lady” as she’s known — was a visitor to an area art club this week, and she brought along a lot of her gourdly friends.
Now, lest you think gourd creatures are only for the autumn season and Halloween, take a look at these adorable Christmas gourds she’s made:
Gourds, I’ve learned can be made into many, many decorative things. In skillful hands, they can become not only cute little gnome-like statues, but bowls, birdhouses, and even lamps. The list really goes on from here, with crafters coming up with clever new ways to use gourds. Here, just for starters is a Pinterest board with over a thousand images of decorative gourds:
Mind boggling, right? If this one example isn’t enough to literally “bowl” you over, take a look at the others on the board. Trust me, these gourds are truly works of art.
There’s a bit more to the process than simply picking a gourd and slapping a bit of paint on it, so let’s start at the beginning.
Gourds are, apparently, very easy to grow. They’re often recommended for children’s gardens or for beginning gardeners. Onece you’ve grown your gourds and are ready to harvest them, be sure to leave at least two inches of stem on them.
Remove mature gourds from the vine with sharp pruning shears. Do not twist or snap the stem when harvesting. It is through the porous stem that much of the moisture in gourds escapes, and a clean cut will help your gourds dry more readily.
From – Free Plants “Growing and Drying Gourds”
For some people, washing is the next step; others skip washing and go straight to the drying process. It can take up to six months for a gourd to dry or cure fully. You should be able to shake the gourd and hear the seeds rattling inside.
Then it’s a process of sanding and smoothing — and you might want to wear gloves for this since gourds can develop mold. Finally, you’re ready to craft your gourd into a playful figure, a decorative bowl, or a birdhouse for your feathered friends, or whatever else you have in mind. When finished, you’ll want to varnish your creation. Sadly, from what I’ve read, even the best-preserved piece of gourd artwork will probably not last forever.
I was amazed when I started browsing around the internet looking for more information about using gourds in arts and crafts. Along with many videos, I found dozens of sites offering advice and instructions on gourd-crafting. I won’t list them all, but here are a few that offer general information and simple projects:
You might also want to take a look at Gourd Crafts: 20 Great Projects to Dye, Paint, Cut, Carve, Bead, and Woodburn in a Weekend. It’s from “The Weekend Crafter” series and is available at Amazon — along with a lot of other gourd-crafting titles. I just ordered a used copy of Quick and Easy Gourd Crafting. I think it will be a fun family project.
Yes, I’m excited for fall, and I’m looking forward to Halloween. I’ll be watching for gourds and pumpkins at the farmer’s market, and I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with these do-it-yourself projects.
How about you? Have you ever used gourds in craft projects?