Grace Swanson

Gourd Artist

I am a gourd artist who used to be a watercolor painter. My interest in gourds began as a small child, born and raised in Nigeria. The Nigerian people use gourds for everything from storing food to spoons to holding cosmetics. When I saw a class on gourd art offered by San Diego Botanic Garden ten years ago I decided to give it a try. The feel and smell of the burning gourd just took me “home”. I was hooked. I purchase my gourds from Welburn Gourd Farm — uncleaned and uncut. First I soak and scrub farm dirt and the mold off of the gourds. Then I look at each gourd carefully for any flaws or cracks. Each gourd has its own personality and that often dictates what design I will burn into the gourd and whether it will stay whole or become an opened vessel. The mold that forms on the gourds makes patterns that can be used or disregarded depending on the design. Sometimes I have a very definite design in mind when I begin and sometimes I make it up as I go along. Some gourds may take as little as two or three hours to complete. Others may take days or weeks.

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© 2020 by Off Track Gallery  |  San Dieguito Art Guild, Est. 1965

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