SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Middle School Studio Lesson G Denise Doronila. Art Lauren Weber. ourdeous Mary Coy A s good luck would have it, the first meeting of art club this year brought with it more than the usual number of enthusiastic students, three unexpected, but very welcome parent volunteers, and a new dynamic to the room. One parent was a dedicated veteran from the previous year. One owned a farm. One was an artist. How lucky could I be? The artist spied a new book on gourd art (The Complete Book of Gourd Craft by Ginger Summit and Jim Widess) that I had just bought as inspiration for my eighth grade ceramics unit. "I do gourd art and I can help if you're interested," she said. The veteran was, as usual, willing and enthusiastic to do anything I needed. And the mom who owned the farm offered to bring in refreshments for the following week. Within five minutes the structure of my club had changed, my original project (a papier-mâché sculpture) was potentially being put on hold and my enthusiasm tripled. I had been given a gift. I had help! 22 SchoolArts May/June 2007 wood-burned, drilled, and decorated. A Little about Gourds Back to art club. If anyone had Prior to this project, I knew nothtold me that in order to begin the ing about the small colorful gourds project the following week I would I bought every fall for decorative have to find twenty-seven gourds purposes. I have since learned they (where?), dry them (how?), and pay are of the cucurbita type. I had seen $3 to $5 for each of them, I would a few gourd birdhouses (legenaria type) at local craft shows, but didn't have politely declined and stayed with my papier-mâché project. give much thought to the drying However, my art and cleaning mom assured me process needed Prior to this project, I knew she would do the to transform nothing about the small scouting, procurthis fruit into a ing, bartering piece of art. colorful gourds I bought for, and even the It takes about every fall for decorative cleaning of already six months or purposes. dried gourds if our more for the group was intergourd to dry ested. How could I resist? Check completely. During that time, the with local farm stands, other gourd gourd becomes lighter in weight artists in your area or the Internet and hardens up. The seeds inside for gourd suppliers. One Web site is rattle if the gourd is shaken and listed at the end of this article. the color turns from green to dark and moldy. When completely dry, the gourd is cut and the insides are Beginning the Project scraped out (wear gloves). Prior to students actually working To remove the mold, soak the on the gourds, my art volunteer gourd in a mixture of water and bit and I did a joint demonstration of bleach and lightly scrub with on the process students would go an abrasive pad. Once dry, gourds through to create their project. She can be lightly sanded, cut, painted, brought in and explained her gourd

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