I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gourd Workshop....with a bag lunch.

Yesterday I spent all day at a gourd workshop. This was done for our gourd group by a woman named Miriam Joy Sagen from Prescott, Arizona. She is a gourd artist that has perfected a technique using melted Crayola crayons and Ouikwood, an epoxy putty that comes in a stick.
I should have taken more photos but this is the best I could do considering I only had two hands...and they were busy learnin' and workin'.
We worked on a gourd, or (some of us) the bottom of one. We learned how to sponge color on a surface properly and transfer a pattern to the gourd surface. Then I learned, for the first time, how to pull color with a paint brush. I would guess it's a watercolor technique.
I have NEVER learned to paint with acrylics. I just throw the paint on my art work and hope for the best...or use little tiny dots to outline and decorate my work. Yesterday I learned that there are ways, using water, to spread and soften your colors with a slanted, flat tip brush. Who knew?
I had many an awkward moment with this brush. But I did it and I learned something,
Then we started using the Quikwood. I love this stuff. I had used it before on my gourd puppet faces. Doing the tree with this wood putty was really fun.
The pattern was just a guide. We were able to "branch out" any way we wanted to.
Quikwood is this fast-curing wood epoxy putty that you can use for a million things like rebuilding stripped screw holes and repairing furniture and molding.etc. It comes in a tube. You have to cut pieces of it and blend the two parts of it so it will harden. After you knead it, you have about 15 to 25 minutes to use it. Within an hour it is hard as a rock. Then you can sand and paint it.
We learned how to make leaves with melted Crayolas. This was a learning curve for me too. You have to melt the crayons in a small low temperature melting pot and use a special wax tool to drip the wax onto the gourd. The trick is how you do this and how you spread the wax. This took time. I found that I improved as I got the knack. I had to pick off many of the little "leaves" because I messed up. That was one nice thing about the crayons. If you made a mistake you just used a utility knife and pop off the crayon. It dries fast. The crayon comes right off,  so you can redo it. The flowers near the trunk are just longer versions of the leaf.
The flowers are just dots of colored crayon too. You just don't spread the dot.
I love the face. One of the ladies in our club brought this face mold, so I used the Quikwood and made a face in the trunk of the tree. We continued to make rocks and paint them with acrylics and used that sponging technique to make them look like rocks. I erased the lines from the pattern transfer and then did some refining on the rocks and leaves.
This is the finished gourd. I need to spray it with a clear protective coat of varnish and put a hanger on the back. What do you think? It was very satisfying to learn all of this and complete a piece of art.

Here are some other versions of  "the tree".

Miriam showed us some other techniques,
We ate cheesecake and Chocolate, pecan, orange cake. After all, we had to keep our energy level up.
A good time was had by all. Mariam Joy's class was $40. It was worth it. She is an excellent artist and a very good teacher.
She showed us some of her work, and some :"Easter eggs" in a basket.
These are little gourds that she decorated, all done with the crayon technique. Pretty aren't they?

We had a great time and this has inspired me to work with Quikwood again. It's amazing stuff.

Tomorrow I will show you how NOT to do Nuno felting, It will be about making a lemon into lemonade and blowing a whole afternoon of felting.


  1. Charming BagladyMarch 9, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Girl, you knock my socks off! You are truly an artist! ~Dawn

  2. Charming BagladyMarch 9, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    You knock my socks off! You are truly an artist! Love ~ Dawn

  3. omg...i should say it was worth it...that quickwood is awesome...love the ones with faces in them...they are incredible....

  4. Looks like fun, never heard of Quikwood before, will have to see if I can find some, might just be what I need for another project I have in mind. Oh yeah, just what I need another project to add to the long list I already have. Guess I better go unload all the concrete pavers, caps and blocks for one of my other unfinished projects.

  5. I really enjoyed this post. Love the gourd with the face in it. The Easter eggs were quite pretty also. Have a blessed evening. Madeline

  6. the gourd with the face in the tree trunk is absolutely beautiful. Who knew? Oh my, you are so talented!

  7. That is one beautiful Tree of Life

  8. Wow! The gourd art is beautiful...Very nice.

    It's a great way to spend the day.


  9. What a wonderful class. I would love to take one like it sometime! Your gourd turned out the best of all in my opinion! I have an art deco vanity that dearly needs the help of quikwood to reattach the handles so I am very happy to learn of it. Loved this post. Tina

  10. Had never heard about that wood stuff and thinking how handy it would be to keep around. You are so darn talented!

    These are all beautiful and I know how much you love taking these classes ♥

  11. How inspiring your post was..... I admit I was on the verge of making something.

  12. WOW. WOW. and WOW! GOR GEE US!! I LOVE it--you did a great job!

  13. You are so talented! It's pretty cool that you took that class. What a fun day it must have been. I love learning new things, but don't take the time to take many classes. Great job on your project, by the way. I really like how it turned out.

  14. What a very cool class....and that gourd of yours is wonderful!

  15. OK that settles it I have got to find some art classes. I loved them all! Very very cool.

  16. Love your gourd, the face in the tree reminds me of a carved tree root we bought in Bavaria, I will take a pic next week & send it to you!

  17. Gorgeous work Connie...I will spend the next little while catching up with your past week!

  18. Awesome work there! I have this Apoxy sculpt that I have yet to really work with and sculpt with. This project of yours makes me want to get started right away - and do some sort of tree or branch! I think I might try my hand at sculpting some flowers - apple blossoms on a branch maybe . . .


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