Pyrographic Gourds

The type of gourds I use are commonly known as "bottle gourds".  The bottle gourd belongs to the genus Lagenaria from lagena meaning "bottle".  This gourd is grown in many parts of the country, however, most of my gourds were grown in Southern Indiana.

Gourds are harvested after the first freeze of the year and then left to dry either in the field or in an enclosed area.  The more perfect gourds are picked, then moved inside after removing the thin outer skin by scraping.  These are allowed to dry for 4 to 6 weeks then washed, opened and cleaned of the seeds which are inside.  The inside of the gourd can require a good deal of time to clean and smooth but adds a finishing touch to the piece.

Burning the Gourd

I use the latest in woodburning technology.  The tools have changeable tips and a heat control which allows burning a variety of designs and patterns.  Gourds vary in hardness which makes it necessary to control the amount of heat applied to the tip of the burning tool.

Designs are laid out on the gourd in pencil.  "My designs are generally conceived by picking up a gourd and doing what comes naturally, in other words let the gourd tell me what to create.  Other designs are based on original Native American pottery gleaned from books and museum visits.

Dic Bonsett
Beverly Hills, Florida


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