White Tailed Pine Pitcher in Progress

I have finished my latest gourd I mentioned earlier on FB and Twitter. Well, at least I think I finished it. Often I will set a gourd in a prominent place and mull over it for several days, (which normally turns into weeks if I don't have any urgency to put it up for sale). I sometimes come up with another embellishment to add to the gourd after a while. We shall see about this one. . . I took pictures of the progress to give you some idea of how I decorate a gourd. I'll also throw in some free tips! :)



After cleaning and sanding the shell of the gourd I painted pine trees around the top half. I first made leafless trees and then with a liner brush I painted on the needles. (Liner = Thin Paint.) To fill in the branches I took a dry brush load of green paint and applied the color with a pouncing motion.  

Using a stylus and graphite paper (make sure the brand you are using is easily erased) I transferred my drawings of various deer onto the gourd without any of the details. As you see I keep my patterns handy by taping them to my shelf. This helps later when I am woodburning the details of the pattern.
I use the Everglades Patriot 1000 Wood Burning System for most of my woodburning although I still sometimes go back to the hobby woodburner with interchangeable tips when I am working on tutorials for beginner gourd crafters. The fixed tip pen I am using in the photo above is the Writing Tip. At just the right temp I can use this pen like a real pen. If using a variable temperature woodburner first experiment on a scrap piece of gourd to find the right temp for the job at hand. For light shading I scrape the gourd back and forth pretty quickly with the tip to leave slight marks in the gourd. This is called directional shading. Remember to follow the contours of the object you are woodburning when doing directional shading. Other methods of shading I like to use are dots (the closer the dots the darker the shading) and gradient shading (I do this with the flat side of a tip and darken the gourd in varying degrees without leaving a pattern). 
After woodburning the deer I used brown shoe polish to darken the surrounding area to make the deer stand out. I use microbrushes (very similar to a super tiny pipe cleaner with a plastic handle) to get into the very tiny places, cotton swabs to do a lot of the bigger areas, and when I have really large places to cover with polish I use a paper towel.
Using my spear tip pen I woodburned the outline of hoof prints. I use the spear tip for this because I want to woodburn right through the outer shell of the gourd because I plan to carve out the hoof prints. It is much easier when there is a "gorge" between the part of the gourd you want to carve out and the part of the gourd you want to leave alone.

I carved the hoof prints out with my rotary tool using a ball bur. I also carved three deep lines on the gourd with an inverted cone bur.

As an after thought I decided to dye the bottom of the gourd a deep chestnut color. I used a heat tool to speed up the drying process. As you see I had to go over the carved area with the dye -not very pretty. I later carved out the hoof prints again. This wasn't a mistake, but all part of gourd crafting. Gourd crafters normally have a plan before heading into a gourd project but that plan always changes, and almost always for the better. 


Inspiration: White Pines and White Tailed Deer, two of Michigan's official symbols and can be found everywhere in my neck of the woods. I wonder, "Do deer grow on trees?" 

You will be seeing the finished piece for sale in my Etsy shop very soon. What should I name the gourd? White Tailed Pine Pitcher or maybe "Do Deer Grow on Trees?" Pitcher? 
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© 2012 Bernadette Fox

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