I love to look at books that give me new ideas for embellishing my work. It didn’t take me too long to discover that there are a lot of creative people decorating gourds , resulting in beautiful pieces that share a lot with woodturned pieces.
I have in fact, bought a lot of my metallic dyes, pyrography and art supplies from Nedra Dennison, who specializes in Gourd Art. I’ve also utilized a lot of on-line information on how to add pine needle and coiled rims to gourd bowls that it was immediately able to translate to my bowls.
I was thrilled therefore, when I received a mailing from our Northeast Florida Sculptors group informing me that the Florida Gourd Festival was being held in Palatka, FL, just an hour away. It also turned out that in addition to the displays and vendors, they were going to have classes by well known gourd art teachers.
The festival was being held at the Putman County Fairgrounds. The whole event was held in the fair barns, so a bit primitive, but we were all in good spirits and ready to go. I has signed up for a class by Fonda Haddad, a well know Florida gourd artist.
Her class was called Antique Earthen Vessel. I thought this would be great since it called for use of metallic paints, which I have used many times before, but also added the use of modeling paste and fabric elements to add texture.
The class included seven women and me. Most of the others had gourd decorating experience. Fonda gave each of us a prepared gourd, explained the procedure, and basically let us have at it, with her looking on. First was creating bands on the gourd to mark out where we would add the modeling paste. We added the paste, applied texture to it with our application tools and then selected our fabric edgings added them to the borders of the paste.
We then dried the paste with a hair drier, glued on metal medallions for extra decoration and then gave the gourd a black undercoat. Then we started with the metallic pains to add the antique look and some shine as well.
- © Ed Malesky 2011 – Fonda watching our progress
Although this was a quick and easy class. I did learn some new techniques I’m eager to try out on my turnings.
- © Ed Malesky 2011 – My gourd
After the class I walked around the exhibits and of course hit the vendors for some new books and supplies.
And of course there were plenty of gourds for sale. I resisted buying any, knowing I can turn my own shapes to decorate.