Sgraffito Gourd Art

Sometimes an inspiration hits us from unlikely sources but when they do Magic Happens.

Sgraffito Gourd ArtWhile working on a gourd that was to be the example for a fall leaf class I gave last October I wanted to find a nice way to outline the leaves. In my own work I would burn a line but my students did not have woodburners. I turned to trying various black art pens. (The Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen turned out to be my best choice). Being the perfectionist that i was, the technique was perfect for the class but I was not happy with the finished product for me, as the artist.

For a month after this class this gourd sat on my shelf teasing me and really bugging me because I hated it. Rather than let it get under my Artistic skin I decided to try sanding off the paint, which was Gourdmaster dyes with a Krylon Clear coat, and redo the piece.

Not a big fan of sanding I preceded to really screw up the gourd and now it was half sanded and looking even uglier!!
One day, in between projects, I grabbed that hideous gourd and slapped on several coats of Ceramcoat Black

On a side note, these are very cool paints. I love the black, it covers very well and does not streak!!  

Much better, but now what?

Fast forward to earlier this week… I was answering some questions in a pottery group on Linkedin and a member of one of the groups who saw my gourd work asked if I ever tried the sgraffito technique on my pottery because, he said, my gourd art looked somewhat like that. I had not tried this technique because i hardly even knew what it was but when I saw it I was blown away.  To see pottery done in the Sgraffito technique check this google image page. 

Wow I now knew what I wanted to try on this gourd.  Since this was my first time trying something like this I chose a pretty easy flowery design, sketched it on very lightly and using the very smallest, teeniest bur I had I carved it into the gourd, removing the black and exposing the white flesh. I was instantly in love!!!
Closeup Sgraffito
Here is a closeup of the carving. It was simple yet extremely effective especially against the very black skin.  After clearcoating to protect the carved out areas I added a dreamcatcher in a bright blue and dark beige.

This was a fun technique and came out beautiful.

So keep your eye on what artists are doing in other mediums and you may just find something new and wonderful too!!

Happy gourding.

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5 thoughts on “Inspiration often comes from other art forms

  1. And I am thinking of all those gourds I just threw away! Now I will try and try again! Thank you Dani!

    1. I know huh!!! I was throwing away broken and bad gourds too but there is always something you can do. I don’t even throw away the scraps because I use them to test techniques and get some practice before I move to the real piece!!

  2. I love looking at other crafts and figuring out how a technique can be used for baskets and gourds. I belong to an Art Assoc. (of all arts) and it’s fun to take classes from other members such as pastels and use those skills on the gourds, etc. Keep looking beyond what is there!

    1. That is wonderful Jane. We currently don’t have a working Art Association on my town. There is one here but it has been non-functioning. I was asked to be the Prez and get it up and running. All Arts!! I am so excited by it!!

  3. I just love where inspiration comes from! We are always led to move into the path we are supposed to be on! Love it! Great article! Looking forward to getting to see some of your pottery with Sgraffito design incorporated!

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