Updates from the desert southwest...
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Featured Gourd of the Month:
"Hummers and Trumpets"
This large gourd is carved all of the way around, and features hummingbirds and trumpet flowers I see in my back yard each day. There is another view of this gourd on the home page of the website. Painted with acrylics.
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters
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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.
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.
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.
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,
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 January issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter!
Photos and design copyright © 2017 by Bonnie Gibson and may not be used without express written permission.
I have started posting classes for 2018 and will continue to add more as they are set up, including some in Tucson. Keep an eye on the classes page for more offerings - they will be posted as soon as details are finalized. Here are some that are currently on the schedule:
Feb 8-11 4 days of classes at the Wuertz Festival in Casa Grande AZ *I have nothing to do with the registrations for these. If you did't get in a class, please sign up for the wait list. Each year many people drop out or switch classes and many spaces become available to those on the wait list.
March 22-25 Folsom/Amador (northern California) classes. Please contact Barbara Rippetoe for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org Classes will include Basic Power Carving, Doodles and Glass, Fancy Filigree and Carved Textures. March 27-28 Classes in San Jose,CA area. Please contact Jody Dingivan for more information email@example.com May 7-8 Indiana Gourd Show/ Workshop. I will teach 2 day workshop on May 7-8 in Westville, IN. Please contact Ida Kennedy for more information. IKENNEDY5@msn.com Workshop classes will include Filigree/Spiral Carving and Pueblo Ladies. May 18-20 3 day workshop in Boise, Idaho. Please contact Chris Peters for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org Classes will include Basic Power Carving, Swept Ashore and Carved Textures.
Enter your email address into the text box, and hit the submit button to join the class updates notification list.
Another year has flown by and the cycle starts over again in 2018! For me, the first event of the year is the Wuertz Gourd Festival in Casa Grande, AZ. Although I no longer have a booth, I still teach 4 days of classes (thanks to all of you that signed up, I'm looking forward to working with you!) Note: If you were not able to get into one of the classes, be sure to sign up for the wait list. Last year many of the people on the wait list were able to get into the class as the festival approached and some people's plans changed.
I will also have supplies that are carving and class related for sale at my class location so feel free to stop by where you will be greeted by my son, Paul Gibson and gourding friend, Lollie Yancey. I can also take a preorder for pickup at the festival if you want items and aren't sure I will be bringing them.
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: Video Review - Basic Pyrography with Minisa Robinson
I recently had the opportunity to view an educational video on pyrography by Minisa Robinson. Minisa does her pyrography on wood, but many of the recommendations will also apply to gourds - and also, who knows when you might want to try a project on wood?
This video is available either as a hard copy DVD or as a digital download. I viewed the digital copy and it was very easy to download and view. You have the opportunity to save it to your computer or to use the provided link to view it multiple times. (Note: In fairness to the creator, and following copyright laws, you should not share this link with others.)
Feature: Gourd Baskets from Readers
Last issue, I asked readers to send in some of their gourd basket photos - thanks to those who sent in their pictures!
Tip of the Month: Alcohol Ink Faux Painting
Hi Bonnie, Thank you for your work with your gourd newsletter I have produced them and know the amount of work that it takes and the lack of appreciation that you get. Here are pictures of my "Gourd Dwellings", my new approach I am taking with gourds. They are insipred by a trip we took to New Mexico. Ray Conser - CA
Hi Bonnie, Here are a few pictures of my work. Thanks for your website. Linda Callahan - AZ
Hi Bonnie, Here is a photo of a very large gourd that I got from the Wuertz Farm and made into a succulent planter. It measures 23" wide by 14" high. Brian Wilson
Two of my friends from our local gourd club have been experimenting with faux painting accents using alcohol inks, and they were kind enough to allow me to take photos of their work and share it with you. Joyce Pasche highlighted the embellished magnesite/turquoise donuts to create a more realistic natural turquoise appearance.
Here is my Native Treasures class gourd, I am very happy with how it came out. Thank you so much for sharing your epertise with us. I always learn so much from your classes. Kathy Lawson - CA
New - Abalone/silver and wire wrapped tree pendants for wearing or embellishing your gourd projects. On the Earrings and More page. Back in Stock - Thunder drum springs with bead on one end - sold individually or in discounted packs of 5. On the Musical Supplies page.
This video assumes you know little about pyrography and begins with all of the basics you need including things like safety, preparing the surface, transferring patterns and basic tools. Minisa personally uses a very basic Walnut Hollow soldering iron style burner. While many gourders use transformer based woodburners, the basic techniques and tips presented in this video generally apply to all types of burners. For those of you using the WH burner, there are some care tips that will help you make your tool last longer.
If you are a beginning burner, this is probably a good video for you to watch and refer to. If you are an advanced burner, this one is probably a bit too basic for you. If you'd like to see more about Minisa's work, please visit her website at: https://www.minisapyrography.com/home
Remember, it is much easier to burn on wood than on gourds since gourds have such a hard, slippery surface.
New - Beautiful glass cabochons for your next gourd project! These are also great for jewelry, simply glue on a jewelry bail and they make beautiful pendants. Check them out on the Inlay Supplies page or on the Glass page. Note: Some designs have sold out quickly, but I have more on the way!
"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 Amazon.com Feature: Book Review - Gourd Lights by Susan Nonn
I finally got a review copy of Susie Nonn's "Gourd Lights" book. I have to mention that I haven't personally made any gourd lights; my time these days is limited so I have focused on other projects that interested me more. That being said, I was delightfully surprised to see the wonderful variety and styles of lamps that are featured in this book. Who knows? Maybe now it's time to make a lamp!
The book is well laid out with a nice variety of projects, plenty of basic information, and lots of good, full color photography to illustrate the chapters. I appreciated that electrical safety and legal ramifications of making and selling lamps was included at the beginning of the book. I have a great respect for electricity, and the safety recommendations for wiring and suggestions for using modern lamp fixtures are definitely appropriate, especially for those who are less knowlegeable in this area.
The project ranged from table lamps to pendants to a wall sconce, and they are all styles that could be easily modified to make them unique and creative. The last chapter of the book is a gallery of lamps from many other artists in lots of different styles. This section is sure to give you ideas for your own creation. The book finishes with a glossary of terms and a list of various suppliers which are both very helpful. If you have any interest in making a gourd lamp, then this book should answer most if not all of your questions and concerns.
Published by Schiffer Publishing, Copyright 2017 by Susan Nonn. 80 pages, full color, softbound.
Cover price: $19.99 Available from Amazon.
Above: Baskets by Kristen Johnson of Kansas
Below: Baskets by Frank Kortuem of Minnesota
Below: Two baskets by Sandy Schneider of Tennessee
Below Right: Baskets by Gretchen Starks-Martin
Below: Carved and painted gourd with woven rim
Charles Craven - Oklahoma
Below: Gourd with woven rim by
Judy Hamilton - Texas
New Copper concho designs include 1" Celtic, Flower, and Rope Edge designs as well as a small (5/*8") Rope Edge. On the Metals page.
I have been fooling around with gourds since the very first Wuertz gourd festival where I was bit by the gourd “bug”. I’m working with a group of gourd heads here in Mission, Texas where we do about everything from beginner to involved carving. Judy Hamilton - TX
Hi Bonnie, Aloha From Hawaii!
This is a massive gourd I have recently completed. It has many different techniques including etching, pyroengraving, embossed copper, paper inlay, bone inlay, stone carving inlay, epoxy sculpt, shell application on epoxy sculpt, sand inlay, to name a few. I had a fabulous time making all the components and incorporating a lot of other gourd artists ideas and techniques old and new. It is titled Hawaiian Time: A Legacy. Tamsen Fox - HI
Bonus Tip of the Month: Green Scraping a Gourd
There are a few reasons why you might green scrape a gourd that is from the current season crop, but in any case, you want to be as sure as possible that the gourd is mature when harvested and has a brown stem! If the gourd is not mature, it will shrivel and collapse. With mature gourds, you will probably have about an 80% success rate.
Scrape the surface with a dull paring knife or similar tool. In this video, I used the smooth size of a gourd cleaning scraper. Dull tools are best because you want to avoid cutting or marring the gourd. The skin removal will release moisture rapidly and it will dry quickly. In Arizona, this heavy wet gourd was completely dry in 2 days. In wet climates it will take longer and it may help to wipe the gourd with a mild bleach solution to prevent mold. Once dry, you have a beautiful, pale skin without the normal mold marks that is perfect for woodburning or other uses.
Phyllis Sickles used alcohol inks to color large metal washers. Apply the inks using your preferred method, allow them to dry, then seal with your desired protective spray finish .
"Raven Entanglement" This gourd will be offered as a fundraiser for the AGS Artistry award. Look for details below.
Special Announcement: "Raven Entanglement" Silent Auction to benefit the American Gourd Society Excellence in Artistry Award
About 5 years ago, I started and sponsored an Excellence in Gourd artistry award which is now under the auspices of the American Gourd Society. This award is funded solely by donations. This award is very close to my heart and I have enjoyed seeing the artistry level of gourds grow exponentially over the years. The top winner receives a cash award, the top 3 receive award plaques, and all qualified entries are featured in the AGS Gourd Magazine. (Visit the AGS website for info on qualifications to enter)
I recently created this large carved gourd, and will donate the profits to the AGS Artistry award fund. The gourd may be seen at the Wuertz Festival, where it will be available in the competition area by silent auction.
Bids will be accepted from non-attendees as well, with off-site bids being taken up to midnight, Saturday, Feb 10th (On-site bids may be made until 2 PM on Sunday.) *If necessary, shipping cost is extra and not included in your bid.
This gourd is valued at approximately $3500 retail value, and bidding starts at $500. Bids may be texted to 520 444 8330, (please no phone calls Feb 8-10 as I will be teaching classes during the festival) or email your bid to email@example.com. Please include the amount of your bid, your name, mailing address, email address and/or telephone number. You may bid now or at any time up until the deadline.
*With special thanks to the Arizona Gourd Society for providing display space!
Next Newsletter - the steps in creating this large gourd!