Open Fri-Sat-Sun. Please check each Shop page for individual Winter updates.
Colorful and Creative Gifts
I started out reclaiming old furniture, window backgrounds and signs, then painting them with whimsical designs. I found it cumbersome to transport my products and I had to pass along the costs of purchasing the surfaces to the consumer. Then I discovered gourds! I am a self-taught gourd artist but I have discovered gourds are an ancient and international art form. There are tons of gourd support groups and videos that have helped guide my gourd "growth".
I've sold my finished art gourds on line, at craft fairs and in a consignment shop while developing many return customers. My life circumstances changed in 2019 and I decided to sell my big home in the country and move to the Lancaster area. My real estate agent sent me dozens of listings, but when I saw a house in Stoudtburg Village with a Shop, I was smitten. I moved into my little "snug" in November 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, and opened my Shop before Christmas. I love village life and meeting so many different people who come by to be introduced to gourd art.
I create "one-of-a-kind" gourd work: birdhouses, bowls, vases, and seasonal figures like snowmen, angels, vampires, scarecrows, and gnomes. Most of the time, I woodburn the design, paint it with various inks and dyes, and occasionally add carving and fancy rims with embellishments. I do commission work as my schedule allows, offering modifications to what I offer in the Shop. I will demonstrate the process, tell you about kinds of gourds, how they are grown and cured, and what tools I use for my techniques. I love the fact that gourds have been discovered in ancient cultures and that they are actually something organic that humans have used for centuries for eating implements, musical instruments, lighting, and home decor. You can visit gourd artists online from Turkey, Brazil, China, Mexico and around the world.
I use to grow my own gourds, but now I have no garden available so I rely on several Amish gourd farmers in the Lancaster area. If you are interested in trying gourd art, I can provide information on where to find raw gourds.
Gourd art requires patience. The gourds take one year, from planting, before they are dry, cured and ready to paint. The grower usually leaves them on the vine over the winter so the cold will harden the shell. They look a mess in the spring, with dark spots, lots of mold, and often a white shiny film. They must be cleaned with water, lots of muscle and a metal scrubber. A dull knife may be needed to scrape off stubborn coatings. Then the machinery comes out: A drill to make birdhouse holes; a jigsaw to lop off the tops for bowls and vases; a sander to remove blemished surfaces; and a drill press with a cleaning ball to clean out the seeds and material lining the gourd. All of this must happen before actually applying a design and beginning the beautification process. The woodburning, painting and varnishing of each gourd would take a day, but I am usually working on several at a time. It is labor intensive and sometimes a very slow process. When I have special orders, I usually have them ready within a week by putting other projects aside.
I recently attended classes (continuing education is necessary in gourd art) and learned how to do faux fractal burning and batik on gourds. I have a "donsy" of gnomes (the collective noun for a group of gnomes) waiting for you in my Shop. In Norway, Christmas gnomes are known as "Neisse" but I have some fall ones as well...gnomes for all seasons! I get immersed in Zentangel designs and Mandalas. They are very soothing to contemplate.
I accept in person and email orders with payment by PayPal. I accept cash and credit cards in the Shop. Gift certificates are available as well as classes by appointment.
I love when I get compliments. Customers will often come back to tell me how their unusual gourd gift was received. One grandfather emailed me with the picture of the Celtic gourd purchased by his granddaughter. He was thrilled with his Irish treat! My work is distinct and probably different from what you usually see in gourd art. People often return for another birdhouse because they hold up well with Marine Varnish to counter the elements.
My Shop is open year round on Friday/Saturday 10:30-4pm and on Sunday 12-4pm.
Occasionally I'll close the Shop for a vacation or classes. You may wish to call ahead to confirm opening or anytime to shop by appointment.
You can also find me on line at Outta my Gourds; additional Contact Information is available on my website.