Leaves, Leaves, Leaves in Gourd Art

I am not sure why leaves hold such a fascination for artists; and more specifically gourd artists including myself. I think it has to do with the myriads of shape, texture, form, and color, and I think people look forward to the changing leaves through the seasons -- one of the changes people actually look forward to.

I have made so many gourds with leaf designs that I wouldn't be able to count and alas I did not keep good records nor did I take photos, so I'll never know. But I do remember one of the very first "leaf gourds" I made was a pitcher with maple leaves. There was a thick skin on the gourd after it had dried and scrubbing it off was impossible -- never had a gourd as tough as that one. So I decided to take a small sander and sand away maple leaf designs. One of my family's dear friends fell in love with the piece right away and has had it in her cottage window since.

But some gourds I did take photos of include:

 I made this carved teapot with Bur Oak leaves and acorns in 2012. Beside the giant Bur Oak in our local arboretum, the large handle and unique spout were my inspirations for this piece.

Sadly, I have only one photo of this gourd, my sister Catherine's favorite. I decorated the gourd with painted maple leaves and maple tree seeds and outlined my drawings in ink. Catherine wants me to make one for her just like it. The colors, silver, gold, and ebony transformed the gourd into a very elegant box.

 I decorated my first gourd swag lamp with deep recessed carving, copper paint, embossing powders, and metal leaf accents. I purposely carved very deeply leaving only a sliver of gourd shell so that the light can stream through.  

 This cheerful Jack-O-Lantern with a hat of colorful fall leaves will flicker through the night with just a single tea light. I painted the pumpkin gourd with a high gloss paint and used a real dried pumpkin handle to add the finishing touch. 

 I carved around woodburnt silhouettes of maple, oak, sassafras, aspen, ash, and beach leaves.

I painted changing leaves over faux crackling paint. The large gourd handle brings an old world feel.  

Another one of the ever popular leaf pitchers. This time I carved several different species of oaks including red, black, and white oak leaves.

I made bowls in the shape of leaves and dyed them accordingly: maple with red dye, oak with brown dye, and poplar with yellow dye.

After distressing the gourd with a bit of sanding I colored the whole pitcher with green and blue dye. I dyed faint silhouettes of maple leaves helter-skelter. 

My intentions for this desk clock was to decorate it with faux gilded leaves (using real leaves I might add) and I think it came out very nicely. I painted the leaves with rich gold, rose gold, and silver metallic paint to make the leaves pop against the dark background.
I took a large gourd and carved a silhouette of a maple leave.

I woodburned a wreath of leaves for this simple gourd wall clock.

Broom corn coiled rim, gourd tiles with woodburnt acorns, and carved silhouettes of oak leaves makes this such a happy, festive fall gourd.

Another faux gilded leaf gourd, but this time I wanted the leaves to blend in with the background and become sort of blown about by the sweeping paint of gold and silver. The rim is decorated with gold and silver chain to add a delicate touch.
Colorful leaf stamped background builds a wonderful contrast to the carved leaf silhouettes.
Maple leaf fretwork, carved maple leaves, and woodburnt maple leaves all on one fall leaf gourd bowl.

Take a look at other gourd artists who have taken leaves to a whole new level.

© 2013 Bernadette Fox


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