So I have been experimenting with lots of different types of mediums that I wanted to carve, but I never could find something I really liked until now.
I got turned on to gourds officially at the Idaho artistry in Wood show this last February. It was there that I saw gourds for the first time in real life. I see the thickness and the sizes and shapes and got a really good idea of what a gourd is.
I decided to take the leap and get into some gourds just to see if I liked the medium. What I found is very interesting, and I came away really liking the idea of carving gourds.
My First Gourd Carving Project
One of the best things I liked about the gourd was its size and the other sizes available. It is larger in scale, but still very light which makes it easier for me to hold on to and manipulate with my right hand while carving.
As I carve through the gourd I found that many of the qualities I really love about the gourd are also found in Basswood and Tupelo.
Basso and Tupelo carve extremely well due to the grain structure and uniformity of the growth rings. As such, I also found that the gourd was much the same way, and when carved very thinly it still retained its rigidity and structure.
The gourds I am carving right now are somewhat smaller than the gourds I will be doing in the future. The gourd that I just carved was about 6 inches in diameter and roughly 5 inches tall once I cut the top off of it.
I was curious to see just how thick the gourd was going to be, and I was surprised to see that I had roughly 1/4 inch on this small gourd.
1/4 inch is pretty good for a low relief carving, and allowed me room to experiment and try a few things.
The gourds that can be purchased or grown can range in thickness from very very thin up to 1 inch thick or more depending on the gourd and growing season and a bunch of different variables.
I see a lot of gourd carving in my future, and something that I want to focus on as a good medium for doing the kind of carving that I want to do.
Flat panels are just not as interesting to me although they carve very well. In order to do flat panels I really feel I need to do deep relief carving on very large panels up to cabinet door sizes or larger door sizes to really make the carving substantial enough to stand out.
But with gourds being a three-dimensional medium it really opens up a lot of new avenues and I find that my artistic ideas are flowing freely.
Have you ever carved gourds, and do you like carving them?