Monday, August 12, 2013

Beautiful Gourds with Polymer clay

 We've recently became aware of the gourd craft industry and have been asked to teach polymer clay classes at the Michigan Gourd Festival September 13-15-2013. When mentioning this, my clay friend Lisa Heller told me that she not only has been working with polymer clay and gourds, she also grows her own gourds!!

We have had a lot of fun discussing basics, tools, techniques, and more over the last few months. But, happily, today she came to visit and brought some of gourd vessels.

We had a great time looking at the clever way she has with gourds.

Many have puzzle tops that will only go together in one way. Needless to say it was a great time. These are just a few of the designs we oohed and aahed over today.

 Lisa also generously gave me a cleaning tool to help as we clean out 30 cannonball gourds which I'll be using in my classes next month as each student will receive a cleaned, opened gourd for use in class.

This is a round gourd that is a box. The background is gold polymer clay in a textured filigree technique with sculpted grapes and leaves. 

The same box open showing the beautiful shimmering, metallic looking gold interior. 

This gourd has a knotted tail, with sculpted leaves, flowers and a charming turtle watching over it. 

Makes me smile.

This lampbase is a work in progress with sculpted multicolored leave, flowers, vines and a turtle that can be hung from any number of leaves.


For some reason the color is best in the photo.

I shot the pics on the kitchen counter that has a 4 foot florescent light over it.  This one was very close to the high intensity lamp that was on the counter so maybe it gave truer colors.

Lisa demonstrated how to make polymer clay gears at our retreat last year. Her work has been featured in the  Steampunk magazine. This is a lamp base, a work in progress. 

Lisa also writes for PolymerCAFE.

This incredible gear box is an amazing box that she gave to Joe.

Thank you so much Lisa!

This exotic puzzle box is also filigree style with a delightful dragon keeping an eye on things.  

This tall gourd is done in multicolor, textured filigree style clay and finished in the inside with brilliant metallic green paint. Note the repeated design inside of the lid. Stunning. 

Things that are functional seem to have more value to me so you can imagine how exciting it was to see this nightlight. The cut stars are repeated in a variety of sizes on the exterior. 

It's great learning what can be done with gourds, how they can be cleaned cut, baked, finished, mica powdered, varnished and more.

This intricate bowl is covered with dark clay and antiqued with rich red paint that has been wiped down revealing the multiple textured filigree style swirls that cover the body of the bowl. Wow!!

Many thanks to Lisa as she has been extremely helpful and encouraging as I prepare for the classes I'll be teaching next month.

Penni Jo 
Designer & Creator of 


pattw35 said...

Penni Jo - what wonderful creations. I hope you have fun classes at the Gourd Show.

Please consider a tute on how to bake gourds with pc. I have several and have often wondered how to "Finish" them.

So much to see -so little time to "do".....

Hugs, Patt

Penni Jo AKA Claylady43 said...

Hi Patt,
Well color my face red! It is sometimes hard to keep up with all the ways that folks can write to me and I often drop the ball.
I've done a tute to make this gourd. It is available on Etsy.
I know what you mean by so little time to "do". :-)
Penni Jo