Awards! Gourds! Explored!

Standing: John Perkins, 1st Place Carving; Karen Wollscheid, 2nd Place Coloring Techniques and 2nd Place Functional Art; JoAnn Vail, 2nd Place Masks; Ruth Rogolino, 1st Place Bowls/Containers; Ginger Johnson, 2nd Place Mixed Media; seated: Barbara Thompson, 2nd Place Sculpture; Susan Conner, 1st Place Sculpture and Sponsor’s Choice

Awards: Seven members of the Sun Lakes Rock, Gem & Silver Club entered their gourd art in the Arizona Gourd Society’s Gourd Art Competition and Show and brought home eight ribbons. Gourds can be crafted for any number of things. This year’s entries included a votive candle holder, vase, music box, decorative bowl, wall hangings, fine sculpture, and even a fun peacock. Ribbons are not the goal, but it sure was nice to see our artwork displayed and admired by festival attendees.

Gourds: The Arizona Gourd Society’s Competition and Show is held annually during the Wuertz Farm Gourd Festival in Casa Grande. The show is the largest and one of the most respected fine art gourd shows in the country. Congratulations to our SLRGS members for their achievements!

Explored by whom? The Sun Lakes Rock, Gem & Silver Club offers classes in Gourd Crafting. Everything you need to get started is provided for crafting with this dried fruit. Gourds take about a year from the time they are planted to when they are dry enough to work with. Gourds come in many shapes and sizes and can be purchased pre-cleaned or straight from the field. Many gourds will have beautiful natural markings, which give a gourd its own unique personality and design possibilities.

Explored by doing what? After cleaning the outside of the gourd of dirt, the gourd is cut open, and the dried pulp and seeds are cleaned out. Cleaning and cutting is done outdoors while wearing a mask due to the dust and mold that is created as the gourd dries. We use a jigsaw to cut the gourd and a power drill with a special cleaning attachment to clean out the insides. After this prep work is complete, the creative process starts! You can draw a design on the gourd if you’re artistic in that way, or you can use templates or patterns. The design can be wood burned or carved using a micro-carver, then painted and stained using a multitude of coloring techniques. In addition, you can add embellishments such as stone cabochons, beads, silver or copper pieces, dried botanicals, or old jewelry. Then weave a leather or pine needle rim—the possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination.

Explored how long ago? Gourds have been used for thousands of years as water carriers and musical instruments. Now we create decorative pieces, birdhouses, mobiles, bowls, candleholders, musical instruments, wreaths, decorative swags, even cell phone holders/sound amplifiers! Because of the endless shapes and sizes and all the creative possibilities in crafting gourds, you won’t be easily bored in the gourd crafting classes and open shops offered by the Sun Lakes Rock, Gem & Silver Club.

We hope you’ll decide to explore gourds with us! Come on over at 10 a.m. in the Navajo Room of the Sun Lakes Country Club on Monday, April 18, to sign up and get creative.