Denise Meyers Fine Art Gourds


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The Process



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Turning Gourds into Art

Recalling the days when painters supervised the harvest of flax for canvas, Denise hand picks her ornamental gourds from farms in Central and Southern California at the beginning of each season. With over 60,000 gourds to choose from, careful selection affords Denise the best quality 'canvas' for her artistic inspiration.

After washing the gourds in a warm suds bath with heavy pot scrubbers, Denise removes the tops with one of three implements; a utility knife, a jigsaw, or a circular drill bit (depending on the desired cut). She then removes the seeds and skins, cleans the inside with wire brushes and sandpaper and finally seals the interior with black spray paint.

Denise calls upon her Oregon State University studies in pencil drawing to freehand draw her designs directly on her gourds. Although stencils sometimes speed the process for her smaller gourds, the larger and more intricate pieces are always drawn freehand, even when the basic details of a design are repeated, because the shape, size and texture of each gourd is unique.

To make the drawn images permanent, Denise uses two types of woodburning tools. She uses a temperature controlled woodburner with an extremely fine blade for delicate or highly intricate work, and a heavy duty woodburner to create depth and texture. On pieces requiring more dimension (and/or inlay of any kind) she uses a carving tool to cut and smooth away parts of the gourd. She sands the gourd with medium and fine grade sandpaper, then hand paints with a variety of wax based stains (which not only color the skin, but provide a protective seal). In designs with beadwork or chipped stone inlay she painstakingly applies them with a toothpick or beading needle and a bonding medium.

Denise finishes all her pieces with several coats of UV protective sealer.

"The Face of the Wolf"
Progression of Work 8" x 8" x 7"
Turquoise, mother of pearl, coral and malachite inlay $2200/SOLD




Copyright 2006 Denise Meyers All rights reserved.