Saturday, March 8, 2014

Gourd purse!

I have SO many things to blog about - a trip to NYC including my butterfly experience, museums, and more, but today I want to tell you about my new gourd purse that I made!

I spent the day at the awesome Adirondack Folk School, where I previously took classes in precious metal clay (PMC), (and a second time in PMC),  bead embroidered free-form jewelry, and lampwork beads.

But today was all about gourds.  We started with canteen gourds, like these pictured below, and soaked and scrubbed them to remove mold etc.  I had a specific plan in mind for my purse, but when I saw the beautiful natural patterns on my scrubbed gourd, I changed my mind and my plan completely.
Once our gourds were scrubbed, we drew a saddle-shaped line dividing top and bottom and sawed them apart. The insides looked pretty funky!

We removed the seeds (you can plant them; I saved mine for next summer but unfortunately realize that I left them at the school where they were undoubtedly 'cleaned up' and thrown away).  Then we cleaned the excess stuff out of the insides. 

We were given lots of alternatives for decorating, including using shoe polish, acrylic paints, or alcohol paints.  I chose the alcohol paints because the patterns on the gourd would show through.  We were also given the option of using a wood burning tool.  Since I'd never used one before, I decided to give it a try.  Here's my woodburned lines and my beginnings with the alcohol inks.  The colors did not look exactly as I expected, so I made some mid-course alterations.  In the end I was pretty satisfied with my result. 
On the top of the gourd, I kind of blended all my colors together.  The teacher was skeptical but I assured her I would do OK and in the end she loved it.  The back is actually quite a bit lighter than the front (it's not pictured right here) because of the coloration variations of the natural gourd. When we finished painting our gourds, we sprayed them with a clear finish.  The gloss really brought out the beautiful colors and natural patterns on the gourds.

Here's what the other gals in the class were doing.  The one with the stars was colored with shoe polish, and the star outlines were wood-burned.  She blackened them in with a Sharpie!  (The paints wouldn't work over the shoe polish.)  The studs in the middle of the stars are actually brass fasteners!!  The fastener is a loop of elastic that hooks over the stem of the gourd.  Cool, no?
In the photos below, all the coloring was done with alcohol ink except the red top and black diamonds.  They were painted with acrylic craft paints.  Both the purses below use a button and elastic closure.


Here's the back of my finished purse.  We put on hinges using brass fasteners. 
And the front.  I used a blackened brass clasp on mine. 
The sides look pretty cool too.  I may change out the strap at some point.  I'd love to use something woven perhaps? 

By the way, we sewed a little felt pouch that fits perfectly inside, and also cut a piece to fit in the top.  They were attached inside with hot glue.  I didn't photograph the inside.   I may  at some point, when I have the time, remove the felt inside and use something a little 'nicer'.  When I have time....

Here I am below, showing off the finished product to my husband, who didn't even really take a good look at it.   Oh well.  He's too used to my projects, I guess!
 

14 comments:

  1. How fun!! I'm saving this idea, my mom-in-law has tons of gourds! Thanks for this post!!

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    1. Cassie, yes it sad a lot of fun, and I'd like to do more. You'd enjoy it, I'm sure. What kind of gourds does your mother-in-law have?

      The teacher today also will be teaching more gourd classes and I might go back and do another. She makes bowls, drums, and more.

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    2. Dumb typo! It WAS a lot of fun. It wasn't sad at all!

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  2. Wow! That is really pretty! How long did it take from start to finish? I've never even heard of a canteen gourd.

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    1. Thanks, Shelly! The class was from 9:00-4:00, just one day, and we took about a 45 minute lunch break. There were just four of us in the class. I was the last person done, since obviously I did more complex painting than anyone else. But still, I was in my car and heading for home right at 4pm!

      Certainly, it would have been even better to have more drying time between steps, but it was manageable to finish in the one day.

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    2. By the way, Shelly, the canteen gourd is really shaped like a canteen!

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  3. Replies
    1. Janis - thank you! How ARE you?!

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  4. I LOVE IT!!!! You find the most interesting classes to take!!

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    1. Christie, it's fun to finally be able to do these things!

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  5. Wow I want to make one! But not sure where I would find a canteen gourd?

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    1. Trish, the instructor gave us several web addresses where you can buy dried gourds. Or you can plant them yourself! Here's one of the several places she suggested for purchasing: http://www.foothillsfarm.com

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