Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gourds, Gourds, and more Gourds!

Yes, I like gourds.  They remind me of fall and the changing colors of trees, farmer's markets, canning, pumpkins, cornstalks, and gourds.  I am a gourd artist and I like to embellish hard shell gourds.  They are an interesting medium to work with because you can do so many different things with them.  So, I have a collection of gourds just waiting to be carved, painted, dyed, burned, drilled....

There are many types of gourds.  The above picture shows 17 different kinds of gourds.

My husband and I go to a gourd farm in April to harvest gourds that have been left in the fields all winter.  Most of the gourds are dry, but some of the larger gourds are still in the drying process.  Over the winter, a mold grows on the gourds, along with the addition of a lot of dirt. The mold often gives the gourd shell interesting patterns.  These "cannon ball" gourds still have the mold coating and have not been cleaned.

My wonderful husband cleans all of the gourds for me....I know, I'm really lucky!

This is a kettle gourd with the top removed.  The rim has a philodendron sheath laced with waxed linen.
This is another kettle gourd with acrylic lines and a date palm rim.

This is a large canteen gourd with leather dyed leaf designs.

This is a kettle gourd with long pine needles laced at the rim.

This is an Indonesian Bottle gourd with acrylic designs.

This is a short handled dipper gourd with a pine needle rim.

All of these gourds are decorated with acrylic flowers.  The top gourd is a kettle gourd, the bottom left is a small martin house gourd, and the bottom right is a cannon ball gourd.

This is a kettle gourd with a wheat rim.
This is a basket ball gourd with acrylic lines, variegated leather dyes, and pine needle rim.

I decorated these gourds after having seen "The Lion King" on stage.  Both gourds are medium sized Martin house gourds.   The top gourd is painted with acrylic paint and woven fiber, the bottom gourd is also painted with acrylic paint and the rim is braided cording.

These kettle gourds are "painted" with silk dyes.  The top gourd has a felted wool rim and the bottom gourd has a silk embroidered rim.
This gourd is a large kettle gourd with pine needle rim and an agate medallion.

This Martin house gourd has leather dye graphics and a pine needle rim.

This cannon ball gourd has an acrylic designed lid with a beaded handle.  The top is attached with a hinge.

This is a kettle gourd with a pine needle rim and an agate medallion.

This is a Martin house gourd with a date palm rim.

This is a large kettle gourd with Femo snakes.

This is an apple gourd with dyed leaves cut from gourds.

This is a medium sized dipper gourd with a pine needle rim.
This is a Martin house gourd with a leather laced rim and copper medallion.

This is a tobacco box gourd with leather dye designs.

This is an Indonesian bottle gourd with philodendron sheath rim and embellishment, along with copper wire and beads.

These gourds are decorated with leather dyes and acrylic lines.  The top and bottom left gourds have corded rims.

This is long handled dipper gourd that is used as a wall design.  Embellishments include wheat, dried seed pods, philodendron sheaths, and pussy willows.
This kettle gourd has a pine needle rim.
This kettle gourd is dyed with a leather dye.  It has a pine needle rim and a Petoskey stone medallion.
This is  very large African kettle gourd with a pine needle rim.  The leaves are cut from gourds and colored with leather dyes.

Gourds have been used for centuries as functional implements; to carry things, store food and liquids, and used as cooking pots or as utensils.  I love to look for gourds at history museums and get ideas for embellishments from long ago. The next time you are in a "Field and History" museum, keep your eye open for gourds.

I hope you like my gourd collection...... have a great day!


  1. What a beautiful collection- I especially love all the "plain" gourds, just ready for decoration!

  2. I love all the gourds . . .and how fun that you are showcasing your many many talents and interests :) Love it!

  3. All the different embellishments you use are amazing!

  4. Did you make ALL of those???? They are amazing!!!!!!!! LOVE THEM.

  5. I am trying to find a recipe for bittersweet gourds to can. Any ideas???

  6. Can you give me instructions for putting wheat around rims of gourds? We have a small group that gets together once a month and we do diffrent things with gourds for each month. I cam across your beautiful gourd with wheat stitched around it. I went out and cut some wheat at harvest time in my dads fields and now we would like to know how to stitch it on. How you prepared the wheat and the way it was stiched looks intresting. So if you could let me know the instructions to do this method, we would be greatly appreciated for your help.
    LuAnn in Michigan

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  7. Hello again - I tried to contact you a couple of weeks ago about the wheat gourd rim and while on a trip I had a message on my cell phone. Unfortunately it is an ancient phone and I couldn't get anywhere in trying to find your phone number to reply! If you could drop an email to me at or phone again - 269-370-5165 I would sure appreciate your kindness! Sorry for the mixup - do accept my apology!
    Sincerely - Rita