Gourd Enthusiasm Growing Around the World
Gourds pLaid an essential role in the daily life of early
cultures. Commonly used as containers and vessels, they were also
used for musical instruments. Some cultures used gourds for
birdhouses and feeders and this is what most people today think
of when they hear the word gourd. Or maybe you can remember a
dipper made out of a gourd at Grandma's house years ago.
Now artists and crafts people have discovered a new medium to
develop their creativity. I'm not sure when the gourd craze
officially started but it worked it's way into my life about
eight years ago by way of an article in a gardening magazine. It
looked interesting and so that spring I decided to grow a couple
My first creations were, of course, birdhouses. Later, after
some research and book purchases, the world of gourds exploded
and I have found that the creative possibilities are limitless.
Even if you can't come up with your own ideas there are a
multitude of books and tutorials written by gourd artists and
crafters explaining different techniques that can be done with
Gourd craft is working its way into the hands of accomplished
artists who have found the gourd to be an exciting new way to
showcase their art. They are not just for crafters anymore.
So now that you have gotten a little gourd enthusiasm of your
own what comes next? Well, the gourd of course. Gourd growers and
suppliers, once few and far between, are beginning to pop up
everywhere. Many can be found on the internet.
Gourds come in all shapes and sizes, from minis to giants. The
name of the gourd can give you a clue about the shape, such as
egg, cannonball, canteen, basketball, bottle and so forth. You
get the idea.
In order to work with the gourd it must be dry. If you happen
to find gourds being sold in the fall at a farmers market they
will most likely be freshly harvested. These will have to dry for
a few months to a year or more depending on size. I personally
don't like to purchase green gourds, as they are called, just in
case they haven't fully matured. Some growers new to the world of
gourd craft don't understand the needs of the gourd artist. They
are only concerned with growing gourds for fall decoration. A
poorly grown gourd, instead of drying, may rot or have a shell
too thin to work with.
I'm in favor of buying gourds that have already dried. This
way surprises and disappointments can be reduced. You still may
have a few along the way though. When gourds dry they produce a
moldy skin that eventually dries on the gourd. This skin has to
be removed before art work can begin. After the skin is removed
you may discover some holes or warts on your gourd. Or during
cleaning you might discover your hard gourd has turned soft once
you got it wet. This is the sign of a thin shell. There are
things that can be done with a thin shell but for the most part
we look for gourds with thick, sturdy shells.
To avoid these problems, look for cleaned, ready to craft
gourds. These gourds have been cleaned for you. Cleaning is a
messy job and you may not have the desire or area in which to do
So come and join in the fun and find out for yourself the
addicting powers of the gourd.
Martha Bloom: grower and crafter of gourds.
Find gourds, ready to craft when they arrive at your door.
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