I buy the hard shell gourds from a gourd farm (Wuertz) in Casa Grande, AZ. Gourds
grow like any squash, on vines. You cannot eat them! They dry and turn into these
hard shell pieces that are as hard as wood. They have been used by native people on
all continents for centuries. They will last forever once dry, as long as they don’t get
Dry gourds have a lot of mold and other debris on them. You need to clean them
before you can work on them. It is nasty work and requires protection for your lungs
(masks). I only buy cleaned gourds to work on, although I do have to cut and clean the
insides myself. I use a mask and do this outside. I seal the insides as well as the
outsides once finished so there is no chance of dust (I have asthma myself). If I keep
the gourd whole for my piece (don’t cut it open) – – then it’s quite possible that if you
shake it you will hear seeds inside. Those seeds are viable (if the gourd ever breaks
or is cut open, the seeds will grow).
I continue to take classes, read books, and try new techniques to enhance my skills. I
like to add texture to many of my creations and use long leaf pine needles, seagrass,
pigmy date palm, leather, reed and cane to mention a few.