Gourds-Beautiful Gourds!

Susan Replogle By Susan Replogle, 3rd Jan 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>Sculpture

For gourd fans and collage artists, gourds are a wonderful venue to explore as objects of art. In this article I will show some of my own gourd works, and explain my techniques for bringing a plain old gourd into a gallery-quality work of art.

Gourds to Glory...A Photo Expos'e on Gourd Art.

Gourd are fun,funky, and come in endless sizes and shapes. As a pottery student in college I fell in love with beautiful smoothe shapes and containers. Being a poor,starving artist in my younger days, I could not afford a potter's wheel and kiln plus all the other tools and glazes for my own studio, so I had to shelve my pottery career. But some years later I discovered gourds and the world of gourd arts and crafts. I acquired my first fairly large gourd and took off. I have made art gourds for many years now and every single one still gives me a thrill as I work on them!

To Begin With...

Many gourd artists grow their own gourds and a lucky bunch they are. My soil in western Colorado just simply refuses to give rise to a plant more then 6" tall and then it turns yellow- green before it keels over. No amount of feeding,watering, and mollie-coddling could bring forth a gourd more than golf ball size. So I went on-line and found gourd farmers all over the country! My favorite gourd farm is in California. These folks grow every kind of gourd species available. Sizes range from very large-round kettle gourds 36" or more in diameter, down to the tiny marble size jewelry gourds
Gourds come in endless shapes. No two are the same, thus every creation you do is going to be a one-of-a-kind, original, and unique piece.

Clean It Up First!

Many gourd farms will clean gourds up for you if you are willing to pay a little more. I personally find that cleaning up gourds is a very simple process and order mine uncleaned and moldy looking. So upon your moldy gourd's arrival, fill your kitchen sink up with warm water and dish detergent. Let your gourd take a nice soak and then scrub it down with a scrubby. That mold and crud comes right off, slick as a whistle! Often I find the natural finish to be beautiful all by itself and spray it with clear poly to make it glossy and bring out the natural colors even more. Now you are ready for some real fun...!


I am a pack rat when it comes to small interesting things. So I am constantly adding little things to my "art box."

Red peacock feathers and an african animal necklace found their way onto this gourd. I like to layer objects,colors, and textures on my gourds. Often I use scrap leather and lacings, as in this piece, for a soft surface and natural color to layer other treasures on top of. I love natural elements, so nut shells feathers, leather, antlers,and bones tend be my favorite decorative collections. The small Indian dolls and deer antler become the key focus on this gourd. The antler is the attention-getter. My most popular gallery gourds almost always have antlers on them. The use of natural materials tends to add a nice Native American flavor to the pieces, which is also popular in the gallery sales arena.

Angel Hair

This gourd is really quite large and is utilizes one of my favorite techniques. I make hand-made paper for lots of projects and love how it looks applied to the surface of a gourd. I like to wrinkle it up a little, maybe add a hole or here and there. It is a wonderful textural addition to the surface of any gourd. On this gourd I also added curly llama hair feathers, and my signature antler. To finish it off, I lightly sprayed the whole thing with gloss white paint. Turned out nicely!

Gourd Dolls

This large bottle gourd turned into an Eskimo-type doll! Antlers, foxfur, abalone shell, beads and a bit of wood burning bring this piece to life. Bottle gourds come in wonderful shapes. Some with longer necks, some with very big bottoms, all make wonder funny dolls! This particular doll is about 16" tall and is not a container. When I picked the gourd out to begin with, it just felt like it would be a great doll! And so she is!

Gourds come in so many sizes and shapes it is easy to get intimidated by the huge selction. I like to hold a gourd in my hands for a little while. The gourd itself will often dictate the direction for the design and materials I use on it. I just let the gourd piece naturally take on its personality as I work on it. I never know what it will look like until it is done. I just get out of the way and let it happen! That's the joy of glorious gourds!

Colorado Gourd

Recently I have been experimenting with different surface treatments on my gourds. This gourd has been spray pointed with a combination of copper paint and chestnut brown paint. Then I wood burned the surface with a mountain design. I find that wood -burning adds a whole new direction to the textural design of my gourds. It is a lot of fun to do. The gourd surface burns quickly so keep the woodburner wand moving quickly and smoothly over the surface. Be sure to do in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. It can get smokey!

If you are like me, the first time you hold gourd in your hands, you will feel a surge of creative energy. You will just have to decorate that gourd! Have Fun Now!

Submitted by Susan Replogle 01/02/2012 click images to enlarge


Big Gourds, Crafts Craft Ideas, Gourd Containers, Jewelry Gourds, Ornaments, Rattle Gourds

Meet the author

author avatar Susan Replogle
I am an artist specializing in collage and photography. I also love to kayak,hike, river raft,camp in wilderness areas,backpack, and travel anywhere! My home is in western Colorado and I am surrounded by a miriad of wonderful mountains,canyons,and ri...(more)

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar ittech
3rd Jan 2012 (#)

Have a great New Year

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?