FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
How can I buy a gourd if I don't live nearby? Do you ship?
The short answer: contact me and I'll try to help. And yes, I do ship. Although I have not yet set up an official web store if you see something on this website's gallery page that you really like, use my "Contact" page to let me know. Many of the examples shown in the gallery represent work done in the past and already sold; however, if you see something you're interested in that's no longer available I might have another similar gourd that is. Often, I'll have photos I can send for your review. In the future I might have a limited selection (mostly ornaments) available for online purchase, but that feature is not yet available. A "Contact" inquiry is the best way to begin for now.
What is a gourd, by the way?
Believe it or not, a gourd is a fruit. According to Merriam-Webster "gourd" is defined as:
1 : any of a family (Cucurbitaceae, the gourd family) of chiefly herbaceous tendril-bearing vines including the cucumber, melon, squash, and pumpkin
2 : the fruit of a gourd : pepo; especially : any of various hard-rinded inedible fruits of plants of two genera (Lagenaria and Cucurbita) often used for ornament or for vessels and utensils
Gourds are believed to be among the earliest of agricultural crops, domesticated by humans some 10,000 years ago and utilized in countless ways including as utensils, musical instruments, in certain instances as food, and even as weapons. A warm climate and long growing season is critical to gourd cultivation. Many of my gourds are grown in Georgia and other states of the American South, with some coming from as far away as California.
How should I care for my gourd art?
Treat your gourd with common-sense care as you would any art object:
Pyrography is a process for creating graphics by burning images into a gourd's surface with special, temperature-controlled pens. A more familiar name for the process is "wood burning." However, detailed pyrographic images require sophisticated, temperature-controlled pens with tips of various sizes and shapes that can reproduce fine detail. Pyrography produces permanent lines and shading that will not fade on a gourd because they are literally burned into the surface. The pyrographic images on my gourds are drawn individually.
How do I order an Uncle Remus gourd ornament?
Most of these ornaments are made to order. To place an order please visit the Uncle Remus Ornament Gallery page and select the design or designs you would like to purchase. Next, visit the Contact page and send me a message listing the designs and quantity of each. I will contact you via email with details about approximate delivery date, total cost, and payment. Once payment is received I will begin work on your order. Most orders are shipped within two weeks of receipt of payment.
Can I special order gourd art to my own specifications?
It depends. Some designs, like ornaments, based on illustrations from the Uncle Remus Tales can be special ordered because their designs rely on existing illustrations. Contact me for more information.
However, other one-of-a-kind pieces whose designs are unique and conceived for a particular gourd are far more complicated. While I can't speak for all artists, making "art on demand" to someone else's specifications rarely works for me. My best designs happen when I allow each gourd to take the lead in "suggesting" what it should become based on its unique shape, size, surface, and other characteristics. For this reason I generally do not accept special orders for specified designs.
How long does it take to complete one of your gourds?
This might be the question I hear most. Unfortunately, like "how deep is the ocean" it has no easy answer. Taking a gourd from the farmer's field where it began to a finished art object ready for someone's home is a labor of love--and much time. First, it has to be scrubbed and bleached to remove soil, mildew, and other residues from its native habitat on the ground exposed to the elements. Next, I spend considerable time studying and pondering its one-of-a-kind characteristics: shape, size, surface, and other features. For many, tops must be cut off, seeds and plant tissue inside must be removed, and inside walls have to be cleaned and painted. Only then is the gourd ready for its exterior design, a process consisting of multiple operations that might include sanding, drawing, carving, dyeing, painting, pyrography (wood burning), weaving, coiling, applying final finishes, and application of surface embellishments. Some of these operations take much time; others are relatively quick. Consequently, some gourd art takes much longer than others. As might be expected, ornate gourds that have been opened and/or carved take much longer than unopened gourds with simple surface designs. Although there is no single answer to the question perhaps the best is, "it takes as long as it takes to get it right."