Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's not a Pumpkin!

These are three pieces of gourd art that I finished last year. I have a few blog friends that are interested in what a finished gourd looks like, so I picked these three because they represent the kind of work that I like to do.
The first one is a Kettle gourd that was stained with a brown leather dye, then I wiped it off as much as possible. I applied acrylic paints with a natural sponge, blotting quickly with different colors to give the gourd a stone look. After the finish was the way I liked it ,I waxed it with clear shoe polish. I made a bead necklace which I glued in place along with a sea shell, a stone, a piece of ocean weed and a "spirit"sign that I made with paper clay. I sold this piece in Amador City at the Wine and Art Festival.

The second piece is a gourd purse, sometimes called a Ju ju purse. You can use any piece of gourd you have handy, but it should be fairly oval or round because you need to attach a piece of leather to the back of it. Part of that leather flaps over to become the top and closure on the front. I twisted the rough ends of the leather together before I added the embellishments.
I stained the gourd, attached the leather hide with a good strong glue , added a shell, some feathers, agates from Oregon and a leather string for a strap. I will be making more of these. They can be worn around the neck if they are small enough, like a spirit bag. This piece is still for sale.

The last one is a birdhouse. I love to make a gourd into something useful and a bird house is such fun to make because it's ...., "for the birds." Most gourd shapes are ok for a birdhouse. It's a matter of preference. I don't paint my birdhouses but you can. I've seen beautiful drawings, bright colors and really lovely art work on some birdhouses. It's a personal choice as any finish is for a gourd. I burned some cracks into this one and added some small stones for the birds to land on instead of small tree branch or stick. I have this in the flower pot just for the photo, but you would want to hang it safely away from cats and other predators .

Gourds are a wonderful way to express your creative soul . They're organic and the seeds are planted in the earth to grow a product that was the original bowl, plate, ladle, container and jewelry of early man.
You must pay attention to the spirit of each gourd.

The saying goes...., "Listen to the gourd and it will tell you what it wants to be." I like that.
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  1. Those are great! I love the bird house. Sitting in the flower pot it reminds me more of a toad house. I might have to grow me some gourds.

  2. Very nice work. I especially like the birdhouse. Madeline

  3. the birdhouse is my favorite. Have you ever seen birds use one? My husband made a bat-house once but, over the years, no bats.

  4. Out of the three my favorite would be the gourd purse. Just imagine how much magic power I could put into one of those. That would just about take care of anything or anyone that would try to "eat my lunch."

    I am serious that piece would be my favorite, and as a close runner up would be the bird house. Beautiful work Ellie Mae. The best part is that you become one with your subject matter before deciding what to create. My kind of person!

  5. you hippie girl, those are stinkin cool!!!

  6. I love them! My kids and I have tried (unsucessfully ) for yearsto grow gourds. The planst get big and healthy , tons of liitle gourds start, and then they rot and fall off. The leaves and flowers always look good. Any advice? Are there some gourds that are easier to grow?
    I love the idea that the gourd will tell you what it wants to be. I love that kind of stuff.


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