Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting Ready With Some New Work

Fayme and I will be merchanting at a Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) event next weekend on the 21st. While I will be concentrating on archery equipment at this Queen's Champion Archery event, there will also be room for gourds in our little booth. Consequently, I've been working on some new pieces.
While I don't have pictures of everything yet, I do have a little tease for you to see...

These gourds are designed to be table pitchers. For drinking gourds we can leave the gourd bare inside, but not everyone in our modern age likes that. To coat the inside I've used beeswax, brewer's pitch, and epoxy. In keeping with the SCA's less-than-modern theme I have chosen to use brewer's pitch in these gourds. This project is best done outside so we took a few pictures of the process.

These five gourds are finished but for the pitch.

The heat diffuser isn't needed to melt the pitch. The only reason I have it on the burner is that the can is too small to fit on the burner rack.

When the pitch is liquid it's just poured right into the gourd. The gourd is then turned so the liquid pitch coats all the inside surface. The gourd is then upended over the can so the excess pitch can run out. At this point the pitch is hotter than I want to think about. A couple spilled drops melted right through the plastic tarp on the table. If you try this, be really really careful.

The gourd is ready to use as soon as the pitch has cooled off.

(Thanks to Fayme for figuring out how to embed a video!)

I've also been working on drums and some little jewelry gourds. I'll put up some pictures as soon as they are finished and I can get pictures taken.

If you are in the area of Van Nuys, CA next Sunday, 21 February, stop by the Woodley Park archery range and say, "Hi." I'd love to meet you.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gourd Trip... Road Trip... It's A Gourd Road Trip!

We couldn't resist it.
When Welburn Gourd Farm is trying to get rid of the last season's stock to make room for the new gourds they've grown they have a sale.
We just can't resist visiting the farm to see what we can find.
For your viewing pleasure I thought I'd document part of this trip so you can get an idea of the beautiful area the farm is in.

In order to get to the good stuff, you've got to go through the junky stuff. In southern California that means a freeway trip. After a few miles we finally get to our exit in Temecula.

The farm is about 16 miles back into the hills and the first section off the freeway is a grunt. If I had to ride this on my bicycle I'd be ruined, until I got stronger!

Here's the first of two turns. We're in a much more rural area now. The houses back here go from mini mansions to working farms, to avocado fields, and back again.
Take it easy back here. The road is narrow and can take unexpected turns. Scars on the trees show that this is not the place to let your inner Andretti show through.

This is the last turn. If you're passengers are car sick at this point this downhill/hard to starboard turn will win you no friends.

Dorothy, it's not Kansas but it looks like what we're looking for!
There's gourds in them thar fields... Ok, that's enough, I'll stop.
Welburn grows in a number of different fields in the area. There were a couple guys turning the gourds in this field so they'd dry properly.

Welburn Gourd Farm, we have arrived.
The gourds are spread out by type and size in long tables made of welded pipe and chicken wire. You grab a shopping basket and wander up and down the rows looking for the perfect gourd for your upcoming projects.
Although this area can be pretty hot in the California summer it's always cool back here under the oak trees. It would be a great place for a picnic lunch after you've finished shopping and I doubt the Welburn folks would mind, they're pretty friendly.
After you've made your gourd choices a friendly Welburn employee will come size the gourds you've chosen and then take you into the little sales building to ring up your sale. Inside the building they also have all the dyes, tools, books, and materials you could possibly want for making your gourd masterpiece. This really is a one-stop-shop for all things gourd.

Now comes the fun part: we get to make cool things out of our new gourds!

Thanks for reading.