Monday, August 3, 2015

No gourds!

It is with much dismay that I have to share that there will be limited gourd designs this fall. You see, my friend and gourd farmer of 10+ years has retired. What started as a quick friendship over 10 years ago, and a mutual interest in gardening has now come to end. John was a farmer who managed several 100's of acres in central Ohio. His plantings ranged from straw, hay, corn, and soybeans to Indian corn, small ornamental gourds and pumpkins.

Then 9 years ago, I introduced him to the world of gourds. I purchased a handful of true seeds from the State's Gourd Show and John planted about an acre or so to see what would happen. they produced the best sizes and shapes of gourds. Just in time for fall harvest, he was able to take most of them and sell at the local fairs and farmer's markets.
I got the first pick of the crop to make into my art. Every year they seemed to get bigger and better. We added in more variety as the time went.

Even though I traveled to several out of state gourds shows and visited a few different gourd growers through-out the US, John's gourds were still always the best. I looked forward to climbing into the corn cribs where he put them to dry out over the winter, (mice and all) and discover what treasures laid beneath the mold and dirt. At the end he was producing, martins, cannonballs, canteen, bushels, apples, penguin, swan and spinner gourds. He and his family cleaned and scrubbed them and folks from all around would come and purchase them for their fall decorating.

As like many of us, John and his wife were looking forward to retiring and enjoying their lives without the back-breaking physical work that comes with farming. There was no planting in the spring of 2014, which meant no dried gourds for the harvest in 2015. Other than my meager, dwindling stock pile, John's gourds are no more.

I have been able to create a few pieces with what I have available to me, but have been searching far and wide to finding those that are comparable and affordable. Gone are the beautiful large round ones that I favor so much in my designs. I have to replace my designs with ones that are so much smaller, but still quite nice and they come all the way from Arizona.

So this year, I have had to substitute by gourding with a different kind of crafting and have taken the year off to paint, re-furbish, re-purpose and re-claim furniture and findings.  Please take the time to enjoy the new offerings I have gathered this year.


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