Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle
Nedra's Award Winning Golden Eagle

Southwest Gourd Ornament Mini Tutorial

"Two Feathers" Southwestern Gourd Ornament

I am starting this gourd ornament with no particular plan in mind.
Sketching & burning the border

I drilled holes through the top for the leather lacing I will use to hang the ornament.

Next, I just started drawing some border lines in the neck and at the bottom. Once I sketched the lines I started burning them using an HD14SM Round-heeled knife.

The border seemed to be lacking something so I
Design added to border
decided to add a simple design within the border lines to make it more interesting. The design is one commonly used throughout the Southwest. It is simple but looks nice.

Once the top border design was burned on the top I used the same border design at the bottom. I will come back to it later and add the color.

With the border designs in place it's time to start adding some color to the gourd while I'm still contemplating the rest of the design in the center of the gourd.
Sepia ink applied above border

I decided to start by adding some background color above the top border and below the bottom border before I add any color within the borders. When I do Southwest style gourds I love using Memories Dye Inks & especially the Sepia color for the background. It’s very earthy and really compliments most southwestern designs.
Heat-setting the ink

Using a foam applicator I can cover the entire area without messing up any other areas. I recommend a foam wedge rather than what I am using because you will have better control near the border lines. For the areas close to the border I used a cotton-tipped applicator with a flat & pointed side. The flat side works great for the larger areas and the pointed end will do well for areas close to the lines. 

I covered the entire area above the border with the Sepia and then heat set it with an embossing heat tool. I then did the same thing below the bottom border.

Once the dye ink is heat set it will not smudge or smear while I continue working on the gourd.

It’s important to remember that if you are new to using Memories water-based inks that they really need to be heat set. This will help keep it from smearing as you work and it will set it in to the gourd surface so it will be permanent.
Painting the border

Once both background areas were fully covered with the Dye ink it was time to start adding color within the borders.

I decided to use a metallic paint to add some pizazz to the gourd. I used Lumiere metallic acrylic paint to color the border designs so it would stand out from the sepia. I left the center of the body alone until I get the design sketched. The Lumiere is a wonderful semi-opaque paint that comes in metallic and pearlescent colors. It goes on like butter and you can achieve wonderful effects with it.

Feather design burned

I’m starting to think of designs for the body of the ornament but only had an idea up until now. What started out as a feather or two in my mind ended up being a pair of feathers on each side…and then some! One thing about art is that usually it starts with an idea then evolves as you go. That’s what is happening here.

On one side I sketched 2 feathers (shown here) overlapping with leather lacing wrapped around the quills. On the other side I decided to do something different. I sketched a concho with feathers through the center and leather lacing through the concho with pony beads scattered along the leather lacing.

Once the feather designs were sketched & burned. For the feathers I used the same round-heeled knife that I used for the borderFor the fine detail such as the concho I use the same round-heeled knife but also use a Small spear (F5S) to do the fine detail areas. This tip is wonderful for doing lines and detail work.
Side one is painted

Once the designs were burned I then added the color. For safety reasons you never want to burn over any paint, dye, or other medium. I suggest you read the pyrography tutorials on my website. There is a general Pyrography Safety Tutorial & a Gourd Pyrography Tutorial. It is very important to read them before you start any project that involves pyrography.

Pony beads are commonly used in Native American art such as dream catchers and shields so I thought it would be a nice touch. My house is decorated in southwestern style and I have Kachina’s, dream catcher’s, vases, urns, warrior shields and other Native American art all over the place. Easy for me to get ideas without stepping foot outside my house.
Side two is painted

After both designs are sketched and burned I carefully added the Memories Sepia dye ink around the design. I use a combination of a sponge applicator, the cotton-tipped applicator, Microbrushes and Taklon Micro detail brushes. The sponge applicator is good for larger areas and the Microbrushes, Taklon detail brushes and cotton-tipped applicators help keep the ink away from the burned lines of the design. The nice thing about the Microbrushes is that they come in three sizes to do fill most people’s needs.

The background color is finished and the dye ink was heat set with an embossing heat tool before I do anymore.
Microbush 3 sizes

The hard part now is doing the painting of the overall feather designs. I am using a combination of JoSonja acrylic paint and Lumiere Metallic paint for all the color. Again, I am using the same applicators used previously. For the actual feathers I preferred using the Microbrushes because I will get a more “feathery” look so it looks soft. The photo on the right shows the three sizes of Microbrush: Super fine, fine & regular. These are great brushes & as long as you are using a water-based medium you can wash them with mild soap & water then re-use them.
Americana Matte Finish

Usually when I do southwestern designs I prefer a matte finish so that it has a natural, earthy look. I also prefer to use a spray varnish on ornaments because it is easier to apply to small pieces. Using the same technique as the other tutorial I hang the ornament & very slowly spin it as I apply a very light coat of varnish. I let it dry & then apply 1-2 more coats.

So, once the overall design was finished I applied Americana Finishes matte sealer. This is one of my favorite finishes when I use a spray finish and it is much easier to use a spray when doing ornaments that are small.

This mini tutorial was originally posted on my old blog. I moved it to the new blog, edited it & added some new information. 

I hope you enjoyed this mini tutorial & I hope you will leave a comment!

Happy Gourding,

Comments moved from the old blog:

9/25/11: I really appreciate all the work you have put into your new blog…and absolutely love this tutorial! I tried to grow gourds for the first time this year…during the worst drought since the 1700s according to the tree rings (according to scientists). All i grew were tiny gourds that would be perfect for this project, and i love southwest decor.
Thanks Nedra!
Sincerely, Debbie

9/25/11: Great tutorial. Smaller projects are always encouraging whether experienced or novice. Best of luck with the new website and blog.

9/25/11: You did well ma'am. I like how simple it was to follow and the pics were shown at the right time. Keep up the good work. Kate Franchimon

9/25/11: Great tutorial. Thanks I am looking forward to your blog posts and the new website is great too. Beth Mosier

9/26/11: What a fun tutorial! You have included enough detail for a beginning gourd artist to follow with no problem ~ I always appreciate more info than not enough! Good luck with your blog, and keep the tutorials coming! Thank you, Evie Scribner

9/27/11: Hi Nedra,
I admired all of your artwork displayed at the Washington State Gourd Festival. It’s fantastic to be able to watch how you create. You did a great job of explaining through words and pictures.
I know producing this blog is a LOT of work, and I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to put it out. We all need inspiration now and then, and your doing a great job of giving us ideas.
Thank you much much for the tutorial, your friend from Moses Lake, Gloria Dittrick

11/14/11: Nedra, Gloria was right, you are doing a great service to the rest of us. I enjoy checking in to see what you have done. Keep up the good work. Love what you did with the powders. Kate Franchimon

NOTICE: No portion of the Tutorial contents on this blog including posts on this blog may be copied, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission of the publisher and copyright owner, Nedra Denison.

Material from this blog may not be, in part or in whole be distributed, redistributed, published, republished, copied, reproduced, altered or modified and sold or otherwise made available to others in any form for any purposes whatsoever.

No comments:

Post a Comment