WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — When most people think of fall decor, they probably think of leaves, pinecones, and pumpkins, but artisans in Winchester are using another fall fruit to make gourd-geous art.
The Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society not only decorates and creates art from gourds but also teaches classes so others can get the scoop on new techniques. The society of gourd enthusiasts held the Virginia Gourd Show, Sale, and Competition at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester on Saturday to showcase and sell their creations. The name of the society pays tribute to the phrase most commonly associated with the state: “Virginia is for lovers.”
Nina Burke is a gourd artist and a member of the Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society. She crafts a variety of pieces like statues, birdhouses, and ornaments. She lets the gourd tell her what it should be crafted into.
“I just look at them and every one of them has a personality,” Burke said. “Some of them are cats, some of them are snowmen, some of are Santa Clauses, it just depends on what they say to me.”
Angela Mohr is the president of the Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society. She enjoys crafting with gourds not only to honor the history of its original use as one of the first tools but as a way to express oneself and experiment with the medium.
“It’s a viable craft, a recycling craft. Because the variety of techniques are so varied, what a person likes to do, can be done on a gourd,” Mohn said. “It becomes a useful product when it’s done you can actually use it every day.”
Although decorative or ornamental gourds are related to pumpkins and squash, they are not edible, but that also means they won’t ever expire or rot once dehydrated for crafting. Mohr explained that once a gourd is dehydrated, its skin takes on a texture similar to wood and can be handled as such.
The Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society is one of 22 chapters in the American Gourd Society. For more information about the Virginia Lovers’ Gourd Society, please visit their website.