Arizona Gourds
Updates from the desert southwest...
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You can use this Amazon search box link to find all kinds of books and other products. Amazon purchases made through the links on this website help to support this site. 
*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.
Note:  Not getting the emailed notices about the newsletters?   It is probably going to your spam folder.  YOU ONLY NEED TO SIGN UP ONCE.   *The current issue is always available from our home page.

What's new on the Arizona Gourds website? 
Featured Gourd of the Month:
"Green Streams"
This gourd was colored with wood dye, and features carved areas with inlaid stone. The metal butterfly (from the metals page) was lightly oxidized for color..
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Printable PDF File
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
Newsletter Index
*Want to see my listing of top gourd books?  Here is my  "Listmania" listing on Amazon
"Like" Arizona Gourds on Facebook to get special offers, up to the minute news about new products and classes, and other gourding updates.   (Just a note - I don't add gourd friends on my personal page, I save that for family and non-gourding friends.)

*NEW GROUP on Facebook - "Gourding Destash".  This is the place to sell your used gourd tools and excess supplies.  No fees to sell your surplus supplies and raw gourds.* 
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*Please consider doing some of your online  shopping through our Amazon link.  ALL Amazon purchases made through site links and the search box help support  Arizona Gourds and the American Gourd Society Artistry Award.  It costs you nothing extra!

Just type what you are looking for into the seach box below. *Can't see the search box?  Please disable your ad blocker for the Arizona Gourds domain.
I usually try to choose books that are new or are related to some of the subjects in the newsletter.  Ultimately, some of these titles may give you the inspiration to try something new in your own gourd work.  I LOVE the book "Painting the Secret World of Nature".  It is full of great techniques, (including painting waterdrops!)

*Let me know if you have a non-gourd art book that you find especially useful to you (a technique, a product, an new skill - anything that helps you with your gourd projects.. I'd love to showcase some of your favorites in the next newsletter!  Drop me a note with the title/author of the book, your name, and why you like the book.

Thanks to Kelly Gentry for suggesting "Africa Adorned" by Angela Fisher. Kelly says that it is a great inspiration for using beads in gourdwork.  It has beautiful photographs of beads as adornment through out the continent.  She says that she loves Aftrican trade beads, and that the book really inpires her.
Arizona Gourds Newsletter Index
See all our old newlsetters with indexed articles and tips from the past 10 years!  NOTE: OLD Newsletters are going to be gradually  phased out and converted to PDF Files.
Please view soon while they are still web based!     Newsletter Index
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!
Welcome to the April/May issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter! 
Photos and design copyright © 2018 by Bonnie Gibson and  may not be used without express written permission.
Featured Books:

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Class updates

May 7-8  Indiana Gourd Workshop.  I will teach 2 day workshop on May 7-8  in Westville, IN.  Please contact Ida Kennedy for more information. Classes are Filigree/Spiral Carving and Pueblo Ladies.

May 18-20   3 day workshop in Boise, Idaho.  Please contact Chris Peters for more information at   Classes will include Basic Power Carving, Swept Ashore and Carved Textures.

May 27 - 28 San Diego Gourd Patch Classes (open to patch members) Contact Mary Lou Linton

June 1-3 Temecula Gourd retreat One space available. Contact me at

August 1-5  Classes at the Texas Gourd FestivalClasses now available on the Texas Gourd Society page.

October 3 -4  Onalaska, WA Swept Ashore/Carved Textures.  Please contact Stacy Annon for information.

October 18 - 20  Page, AZ   Raven Canyon Gourd / Woven Filigree Conctact Marcia Krickhahn for information
Enter your email address into the text box, and hit the submit button to join the class updates notification list.
March was a busy month for me, I traveled to the Sacramento, CA area where I had 4 days of classes, and then on to San Jose, CA for 3 more days. I really had a fun time and the students seemed to have a good time as well.  Many thanks to the local patches and their members for hosting me and providing  a class location!

It is gratifying to see how many people are now successfully carving gourds; when I started carving on gourds back in the mid 1990's, there were very few people who had ever done much in the way of gourd carving, and few who even owned a Dremel tool!  Some of the people that have taken my classes have gone on to be great artists and  instructors too! 

During April, I will be trying to get some of my own projects finished up before traveling to Indiana and Idaho for more classes.  There will be some time where shipping may be delayed, please see the notice below, and thank you for your understanding.

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.
Feature:  Pyrography Artist Smruti Kurse

Because of their wonderful versatility, gourds attract artists from many different crafts, including painting, weaving, wood burning and more.  I often meet people with great talents that they bring into their gourd work. While teaching in the San Jose, CA area, I met Smruti Kurse, who does wonderful woodburning and is now starting to work on gourds.  I am looking forward to seeing what she will do in the future!

Tip of the Month:  Adding Realistic Water Droplets

The new "Native Treasures" and "Carving Burs Selection & Uses" Project Packets are now available on the Project Packets page.
Question:  What is the next project you'd be interested in seeing me offer? 
Have you ever wanted to add water droplets to a painted leaf or petal?  It's not really that hard if you understand how light hits a transparent droplet and creates reflections and shadows.  
Painting Steps:   The first thing is to identify the light source (usually where the sun is shining from), and consistently use the same light direction throughout the design if you are doing multiple droplets.  
1)Paint a circle a the same color but a shade darker than the background color. 
2) Add an even darker shade underneath and outside the circle to create a shadow - it should be directly opposite the light source. 
3)Transparent things like water reflect differntly than opaque objects - so next you will be adding darker shades inside the circle nearest to the light source, and lighter shades inside the circle on the side opposite the light source.
4) After shading top and bottom, go back with white and add a bright spot at the sided closest to the light, and a bit of a highlight near the side opposite the light. 

Readers Mailbag:

Hi Bonnie,  I wanted to show you my gourd from the Carved Textures class. I worked on it one day and the next morning  painted it.  It was sitting  outside and it started cracking. (It had a hair line crack on top). I was just sick, but decided to have it cut out and I love it more now   Loree Smith

*Sometimes our "mistake" gourds turn out better than we originally planned! 
You can read about how to repair cracks in this newsletter issue;
"Gourds with Southwestern Motifs" - Revised Edition with added Filigree Carving chapter and updated Gallery.
The book has changed a bit - including a new lower cover price!  Also, it now has an added "Filigree Carving" chapter, and an updated gallery section with newer work.  (The original edition received nothing but 5 star reviews on Amazon.)  Gourds with Southwestern Motifs on
Spotlight on the Earrings and More page:
Dragonfly and butterfly pendants are on sale!
You can wear these, hang from a gourd, or inlay them into a gourd. (Some people have taken out the stones and just inlaid those.)
Best of Show
Update:  Rotary chisel burs have been unavailable for a few years because the manufacturer was not producing them.  The company is now under new management and is making them again.  They no longer wholesale to suppliers, so to order you must visit

*For the Cholla Carving project shown here, you need the 1/8" shank "D" profile rotary chisel. The project instructions are available on the Project Packets page.

NOTE:  I will not be shipping from May 4 - 9 and again from May 17 - 21 while I am teaching classes.  Orders placed during these times will be shipped in the order they were received as quickly as possible starting on May 10th and May 23rd.  Thank you for your patience during these times.
Applicator Bottles with 10 tips are great for dyes and glues  On the Tools page
Go to the home page to see a photo of this gourd completed!
Smruti Kurse was born in Pune, India and graduated with a degree in commercial art from JJ school of Applied Arts & Institute of Applied Arts (Mumbai, India).  Smruti married her love and moved to US in 1995 to join her husband. After few years of work in the corporate world in the United States, she decided to quite and spend time with her young family.  In her spare time, Smruti has kept in-touch with her art, primarily working with oil paints, and graphite-charcoal. 
Smruti has been exploring pyrography art given its uniqueness and limited exposure to common person.  She learned pyrography on her own by watching online videos and reading literature.  She has now completed multiple pieces of pyrography art, which have been displayed at local exhibitions.  It was a proud moment for her when local art lovers purchased some of her pyrography artwork (at first sight).  Smruti is excited to continue working on new and challenging Pyrography projects.  She currently lives in Almaden Valley, San Jose, California.

In Memoriam:  Reggie Eakin 
Reggie Eakin of Georgia passed away on February 23rd, 2018 at the age of 73.  He was a talented gourd artist, a strong supporter of and volunteer for the American Gourd Society and published a free, non-commercial newsletter called "Gourd Guy Out and About" which was a valuable gift to the gourding community.  He served for several years on the AGS Judging committee before becoming ill. 
On a personal note, I enjoyed meeting Reggie 10 years ago when he attended my classes in Georgia.  It was obvious that he was a talented artist and he went on to create many beautiful pieces.  The gourd shown to the right that he made was one of my favorites.  Reggie will be missed by many.
Below is a youtube video which will help you visualize the painting steps.  I looked through many of them (there are lots!) to pick one that is fairly simple and only a couple of minutes long.
5)  The finishing touch!  After you have finished the painting and have sprayed or added your final finish, you can add some dimension to the water droplet.  ( Tip: The droplets will look best if the gourd is not on a super glossy - the contrast between the shiny droplet and a slightly duller gourd finish looks really nice.)  I use a product called Diamond Glaze, which is a waterbased, heavy bodied clear dimensional adhesive. It has  fine applicator tip and it is easy to squeeze a small drop directly over top of your painted water droplet.  This product is an adhesive, so it will stick well to the surface.  It also dries super clear and does not yellow over time, (unlike other things like epoxy glue or nail polish!)  Because it is heavy bodied, it will create a small dome, adding to the illusion.
Click on photo to see this product on
Food for Thought on Art VS Craft
Craft is when the person says, "The piece is too green, can you make it in a different color so it will match my sofa?"   Art is when people say, "I love that piece - honey, we need to get a new sofa to go with it."

All of the above items are from the Earrings and More page.

*Picture two sets of the earrings above right being used as inlaid dragonfly wings.....
Website special for April:  Buy any Saburr Tooth bur and get a free diamond wheel.  The wheels are great for sanding backgrounds, borders, and insetting cabochons.
(One free wheel bur per order.)

On the Carving Burs Page