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What is Gourd Art and What are Gourd Art Baskets?
For thousands of years, people all over the world have used the hardworking gourd to hold just about anything that need holding.
Gourds can be used to provide everything from a meal for dinner, to serving plates to drinking cups. Baskets, bowls and boxes are easy to craft and can be as simple or elaborate.
Storage gourds were often thought to preserve what was kept inside. In the pyramids of ancient Egypt, pharaohs were buried with gourds filled with grain. Half a world away, the Incas, too, buried corn-filled gourds with their dead. Daniel Boone's grandfather stored eggs in a gourd basket. Seeds were stored in gourds.
American pioneers carried seeds of bushel gourds, given by Indians, west in their covered wagons because the dried gourds held, and preserved, fat after hog-killing time.
Liquids from water to beer to wine were carried in gourds. Africans brewed and stored beer in large gourds. Gourds have been fashion accessories-Peruvian earrings-to fashion. Nigerian mothers use gourd hats to shade their babies heads, and Chinese workers used gourd hats while building American railroads.
The cucurbita gourd or ornamentals are the familiar colorful gourds of fall arrangements. The vines produce large orange-colored blossoms and bloom in the daytime. Some of the many kinds of ornamentals are crown of thorns, pear, orange, egg, spoon, and warties.
The lagenaria gourd or hardshells are usually larger gourds, and the vines produce white blossoms which bloom at night. Lagenaria are green when growing on the vine, and have thick, hard shells when dry. Once dried, they're used for many types of craft work. Some varieties of hardshells are dipper, bushel, bottle, birdhouse, and maranka.
Luffa gourds, unlike other gourds, have an easily removed outer shell, and are important for their tough, fibrous interior, which are commonly used as sponges. The yellow flowered vines bloom during the day.
Today, many gourds are used as gourd baskets, gourd bird houses and as decorative bird houses. Many gourd growers have excellent information on the many various gourd seeds, growing gourds, harvesting gourds and drying instructions.
Some gourd cultivators also sell gourd bird house kits, gourd seeds in many varieties, sun flower seeds for the garden, give excellent instructions on how to make bird house gourds, gourd craft, drying gourds, painting gourds, gourd crafting, and using gourds as Christmas tree ornaments.