It takes about a year from the time gourds are planted until they are mature, cured, cleaned and ready to be crafted. I hand-select each gourd, studying its shape and texture to determine what it wants to be! As a product of nature, most gourds have "imperfections" such as bumps, indentations and assymetry. Sometimes these features are incorporated into a design; they also con-tribute to the uniqueness of the gourd itself. No two gourds are alike!

Lots of prep work is involved...cleaning, sanding, puttying, etc. before the creative process even begins! Once prepped, a design is lightly sketched onto the gourd. Many times I work with just the gourd and paint to create a piece.  Mixed media pieces consist of hand-sculpted clay onto the gourd to add dimension and many times I attach the gourd to wood pedestal base.

Each piece is individually painted with several layers of acrylics with meticulous attention to detail, and followed by a multi-step, hand-rubbed antiquing technique. Embellishments such as vintage style tinsel, mica glitter and charms are added to select pieces adding to the old-fashioned appeal.

A few gourds with a flawless patina (just to pretty to cover with paint) are carved/and or pyroengraved by my husband, Bob, who works a few hours in the studio when time allows. I've included a portfolio of some of his wonderful work.  Bob accompanies me to shows and is my right hand man for some of the prep work. He is also the gourd grower!  
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Gourd Care

Once gourds are cured, they will last a very long time with a little care.  Never submerse a painted gourd in water!  And do not drop the gourd on a hard surface...it may crack!  If it is a holiday/seasonal piece, store in plastic container or a plastic grocery bag in a climate controlled, dry place when not in use.  

Remember gourds are a product of nature and minor bumps, ridges, pinholes and other imperfections are typically found.  This does not affect the quality of the piece. 

For gourd birdhouse, click here for maintenance/care instructions 
Raw, dry gourds waiting to be transformed into gourd art!

A Work In Progress...a smiling sunflower gourd with handsculpted clay. 
Gourd Patch on the farm
A little bit about me...  I have always loved creating and working with my hands.  After 25 years in Healthcare, I decided it was time to switch gears.   My husband, Bob, grew gourds for the greenhouse/ nursery business we ran on our farm for 14 years.  I was always intrigued by what you could do with a gourd. My first craft show was 2007 where I sold all kinds of decorative painted items.  The gourd art proved to be the most popular!  Fast forward to today and I am living my dream of creating art full time in my studio on our PA farmstead. 

Bob and I have three grown sons and two pups, Rocky & Jax, who keep me company in the studio. When I'm not painting, I enjoy my gardens, boating, cooking, reading and gatherings with friends & family. I also love to travel and explore historical areas as well as antique & artisan shops. 

Kim Gladfelter, Owner/Artist
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