Jenn's Gourd Art Blog
Or, 3 little things you can do that make a big difference to judges.
1. Clean the inside well
And while you are at it – sand, sand, sand! Oh yes that inside. It doesn’t matter how awesome your gourd is, judges will look at the inside, and with a flashlight to make sure it is clean.
I have seen gourds that still have their seed ball intact, and gourds that have the fibers and seeds still sticking to the interior walls of the gourd. This will automatically deduct points from your score.
2. Pay attention to your stem
If you don’t want to clean the inside, that is fine! Just don’t cut your gourd! You can enter an uncut gourd and then you don’t have to worry about it. But keep in mind you do need to take a look at your stem. Again, a stem that still has dirt caked on it will have points deducted.
Is your gourd missing a stem? Consider attaching either another stem by gluing in a small dowel into a new stem and into the gourd. It may take a minimal amount of carving to make it look like it was naturally part of the gourd but it is worth the extra work.
Another option is to add a different element to replace your stem. A piece of cut gourd works. I have seen knobs from kitchen hardware, wooden beads and even chopsticks to finish off the top. Just make sure what you use “works” with the rest of the design.
3. No wobbling!
Your gourd should sit securely and not wobble when set down. Ways to combat a wobbly but otherwise “perfect” gourd is to sand the bottom on a belt sander to flatten the gourd. Be careful to hold your gourd tightly as they can fly if you are not paying attention!
Don’t have a belt sander? You can make a stand to hold your gourd. I like to make stands out of gourd rings. It will take some trial and error to get the right angle of the ring. Then, take the extra time to glue your ring on the bottom. A little bit of clay (quikwood or apoxie sculpt) can be added to fill any gaps. I am sure you will have other ideas if you look around to find other items that could work as a stand. A wooden or woven base can also do the job.
I hope these tips will help you when your enter your next competition. You spent a long time and lots of effort perfecting your craft, these little extras can make or break your score!
Will you be visiting the PA Gourd Fest? Remember there is an official American Gourd Society Competition at this event! You can register to enter the competition (free for PAGS members!) here.
Best of luck!
Art has always been a part of my life, and I have worked in many different mediums.