Gourd Bowl Vessels
Over the last six years, I have offered many different classes at the now 600+ two weekend womxn’s gathering, Spirit Weavers. From pit firing in Joshua Tree to sculpting a bench last summer, my workshops have varied but my intention always feels the same-to empower others to create with their hands.
Spirit Weavers Gathering is always a good annual opportunity to check in with myself and see what is on my heart in terms of teaching and sharing. Every year I try and go easier on myself, see what wasn’t working from the past, and adjust for the present moment. This year I wanted to offer something easy, with minimal tools, and quicker than a long 3 day pottery process or cob bench. Gourds came to mind and so I stocked up on 50+ gourds from Welburn Gourd Farm in Fallbrook, CA back at their 50% off sale in March.
I created my first gourd bowl at Wintercount 2015 under the guidance of local Janet Hightower or “The Gourd Lady from Hell.” Upon finishing the class I went home and created a few more bowls from gourds I had bought from her. Since then, I’ve taken up a deeper practice of working with gourds to create eating vessels, drinking canteens, ladles, baskets, and more. I realize that perhaps I just love to create vessels, and it doesn’t matter what material it is!
Gourds are a vegetable from the squash family, that once dried form hard shelled walls and act similar to wood. The specific species of “bottle/calabash gourds” (Lagenaria Siceraria) has had numerous uses throughout human history all around the world as utensils, tools, birdhouses, stringed musical instruments, rattles, drums, and more. Through the process of carving, gourds can become vessels to hold food, water, and intention.
It was an honor to share this craft with 40 womxn who attended my two classes last week! We washed our gourds in the nearby Illinois River and then cut, carved, and sanded them into finished bowls. Below are some photos from our time together and I look forward to returning again next summer…