Gourds once grew in a garden. I buy them and make them into pieces of art. Before I change them into something lovely and/or useful they are quite awful looking. They need to dry out completely after I remove them from the garden. They get very black with mildew and are not usable for about six months.
When they are dry I begin by cleaning off all the mildew and skin residue etc. that has formed on the outside. This is done by soaking them in warm water(sometimes with a small amount of bleach added) and scrubbing them with a mesh scouring pad(I like the copper ones). This is a lot of hard work and you can get an upper body workout from cleaning these beauties, especially the big ones. Now I let them dry, again, and..... the fun begins.
I make lamps, night lights, ornaments, jewelry, vases, wall hangings, birds, birdhouses and anything that the gourd shape creates in my mind. Usually the gourd dictates what you will do with it, by it's shape or color. The saying in gourd circles is: " The gourd will tell you what it wants to be." , and in a way it's true. Sometimes the "naked" gourd has to sit around in the house for a while before I get an idea about what I will do with it. Then I drill, dye, paint, stain, burn or embellish it until I have created a work of art. It's really a great creative endeavor and so organic. I just started growing them in my garden last summer and the plant is beautiful! The gourds need a lot of support while they are growing. My husband built a strong wood structure with heavy fencing wire stretched over it. It held all the good sized gourds up all summer. They were a lovely sight.
I belong to a gourd group. We meet once a month and share ideas, go on field trips and attend gourd shows. It's fun and I learn a lot from other members. I'll bet most of you didn't know that there is a whole world of gourd lov'in people out there. Now you know.
The four photos above are samples of the work I do. The last photo is a work in progress. It will be a wall hanging when I'm done. I will put a photo of the finished piece in a later post.
Remember to commit a random act of kindness this week. Take care.