Dave's Garden Book Review: The Complete Book of Gourd Craft
The Complete book of Gourd Craft
By: Ginger Summit and Jim Widess
Gourds are one of the oldest cultivated plants. From the dawn of history, humans have used these hard-shelled cucurbits for many purposes. Evidence shows that people were making use of gourds as early as 11,000 BCE and cultures in temperate and tropical climates around the globe were familiar with them. Africa, Asia, Polynesia, North and South America all have historical examples of gourd craft and legends.
Early peoples were fashioning gourd containers long before they developed skills for making woven baskets and pottery. Shamans fashioned masks, musical instruments, pipes and rattles for their mystical rites, while women used gourds for food storage, water vessels and cooking tools. By creating gourd containers, mankind went from a day to day existence to a society that was capable of planning for the future. Immature gourds were also used for food and medicine. Gourd containers and masks were treasured and passed down for generations.
The Complete Book of Gourd Craft is a comprehensive look at this fascinating history and a wonderful handbook for even a beginner to use to create their own works of art. Step by step instructions for cleaning, carving, decorating and displaying are clear and easy to understand. The authors take safety into consideration and point out potential hazards. They encourage the use of dust masks, proper ventilation and fire hazard safety.
This book has instructions for several projects with detailed images and illustrations. Techniques for attaching handles, hinges and embellishments are easy to understand and even a beginner can follow them without much effort. Artists can choose from traditionally inspired projects to contemporary and abstract pieces. There is something to appeal to everyone.
Different methods for staining, painting, inlay and lacing are explained and excellent examples of each technique are clearly photographed.
The gallery of gourd art is reason enough to purchase this book. Contemporary pieces and ancient examples of this universal art are in color and some are absolutely stunning.
Novices find a comprehensive introduction to the craft and experienced artists will discover inspiration for any number of projects. Any artist or crafter with access to gourds should include this book in their library as it is a great resource and source of creativeness.
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