gourd bowl mosaic by KatcanPaint

The Gourd Girl

My major in college was Illustration, but everyone was required to take a semester long 3-d class. While everyone was working with wood, I brought in a tote full of gourds.

Wait- let me start at the beginning. Listen: growing up I hated gourds! My mom would try for mother-daughter bonding time, with gourd crafts. Oh, how I hated gourds! What teenage girl, artist even, wants to work with a medium that you have to scrub mold off of before you can even begin to work with it? That was a big NO thanks, I’ll be in Katlandia, drawing mermaids and fairies. Still, I decided to work with gourds for my college project, due mainly to the fact that I had gourds around the house, wood… not so much. And my professors loved the project, and told me gourds were definitely the way to go, for me. But.. but, the whole MOLD issue, not to mention the need for a really good dust mask if you are opening those babies up, and a small aresenal of power tools.. oh no thank you. I’ll be in Katlandia, drawing pretty girls with butterflies.
Still, every Christmas my mother did a local art fair, and I would always make a bunch of holiday gourds to sell. And I was showing up at the local Gourd Show to buy gourds, and mingle with gourd growers and enthusiasts. (Can you imagine? These people wear GOURD HATS!) And I was painting, carving, weaving, and sculpting on more and more pieces. Which led to entering gourd pieces in art contests, which led to placing, which led to big pink rosettes that said, ‘Judges Choice!” and “First Place!” Which led to my gourd work being in galleries. Which led to people only remebering me for the work I did, “Oh hey, aren’t you that Gourd Girl?”
The entire time I’m trying to convince myself, that really, I’m not all that into gourds.
Oh, but how I love sculpting. And isn’t it convienent when you have a nice, all natural, armature just sitting about?
Oh dear, I really think I might be that gourd girl.
I don’t really share too much of the gourd work I do here, because this is Katlandia, home of mermaids and fairies and whimsical paintings of girls with birds and butterflies and flowers. Not gourdlandia, home of all the other things I do… but they keep sneaking in here and there. Gourds are tricky little things, yes they are. I’ll start with the Santas. After years and years of doing holiday shows, I just make Santas without a sketch before hand. Straight from my head to the gourd.

Toy Workshop sculpted Santa gourd by KatcanPaint

Another banana gourd, and a Tenessee spinner make the base for this Santa, he is sculpted with polymer clay, then painted. His hat is fully sculpted, but I only have a decent picture of his front.  He’s my workshop Santa, making toys for Christmas. (I even sculpted that little candy cane in his pocket)

sculpted santa gourd by KatcanPaint

I love this Santa’s expression. You can’t really ever get tired of painting Santa, you can change his face in so many ways and everyone still understands who it is. He is made with a banana gourd, Tenessee spinner, and sculpted with polymer clay.


Nontradition colors float my boat; teal and green polka dots. Years of straight red and white Santas = boringtown.  His face is sculpted with handmade paper mache pulp, it really makes him look ancient.  (The antiquing with burnt umber helps too.)

I have a lot more I can share, you start the Christmas season early in the crafting world! By the time Christmas rolls around I need a nap!

<3 Kat

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