Gourd group debuts art festival in Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com

Gourd group debuts art festival in Carson City

This piece is crafted with a hard shell gourd from a class of the Nevada Gourd Society.
Kristy Dial/Photo Courtesy |

Silver State Art Festival

Free admission

Class dates: Sept. 22 & 23, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sept. 24 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Festival: Sept. 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Location: Fuji Exhibit Hall, Park & Pavilion, 601 Old Clear Creek Road.

For information on society membership and classes, visit nevadagourdsociety.org/classes or contact Director Kristy Dial at nevadagoaurdsociety@gmail.com.

Autumn is just around the corner, and that means squash decor becomes more common in the household.

With that, there’s an opportunity to pick up a new hobby this equinox transition and it begins during the first weekend of fall: learn how to make art with gourds.

“Some people don’t think gourds are art, but they are,” said Kristy Dial, director of the Nevada Gourd Society which was established last year.

The non-profit society is debuting the first Silver State Art Festival Sept. 22-24 at Fuji Park.

Inside of the park’s exhibit hall, classes on gourd art will be taught by professionals from Arizona, California, Idaho, and Southern Nevada during the three-day festival — with gourds provided.

At least 35 local artists and vendors also will be displaying and selling their work, including art supplies.

Along with food vendors, the festival also will include a raffle, with more than 50 items donated from participating artists and the community, to benefit charity campaigns Kids & Horses of Minden, and Holiday With A Hero.

Dial said this will be an educational festival for all who want to know more about the world of the natural arts.

“We want to expose the valley to this style of art,” she said. “It’s more than just looking at pattern and copying. It could be an inexpensive gift that looks nice and homemade.”

The idea of a gourd gift can go as far as a vase, instrument, canteen, candle holder, baskets, birdhouse, ornaments, or for wind chimes.

Most gourds are grown in a backyard or garden container but for best crafting results, Lagenaria gourds are recommended since the shell material is suitable for carving, painting, and wood burning.

They also can be garnished with leather, beads, feathers and dyes.

In the early 20th century, Lagenaria gourds were used as canteens, water dippers, and utensils. People also used gourds to create musical instruments such as flutes and drums.

Although gourds from grocery stores and outdoor markets could also be used for creations, they’re not the best choice for crafting as they shrivel and dry.

The Nevada Gourd Society is split into two regions of the state: Northern Nevada and Pahrump Valley, also known as the Great Basin Gourd Patch.

Combining those locations, the society has 90 members who attend monthly meetings to share knowledge on growing and crafting gourds.

Dial established the organizations with Patti Jo Newsom, the co-director in Parhump Valley, as part of the American Gourd Society.

With more than 25 years of experience in gourd art, the duo are from California and Texas, where gourd art is pretty popular, Dial said.

“Our goal is to have many gourd patches located throughout our great state of Nevada,” she said. “At this time, we have two gourd patches in the northern and southern part of the state.”

The duo also was inspired to hold an event first-of-its-kind in Carson City after they won prize cash from a contest held by the American Gourd Society in 2015.

“There are gourd festivals and we decided to invest that into this year’s festival,” Dial said.

Within the society, class prices range from $55-$95 depending on the instructor.

Dial said the classes welcome all levels of artists or even the unartistic, as each workshop shows participants how to craft gourds with particular tools.