GROWING A GOURD IN
A FLAT MOLD
By Betty Finch
Have you ever thought about
entering the Jim Story Award competition but you don't want to break any
of your dipper gourds learning how to tie a gourd in a knot? Here is a
fun and easy project that can be entered in the Jim Story Award competition.
• Two boards that are at
least 3/4" thick (length and width of wood/plywood depend on how large
your gourds are)
• 4 threaded screws (you
can purchase 1 long threaded screw and cut into 4 equal pieces with a hack
• 8 nuts or 8 wing nuts
(must fit on threaded screws)
1. Imagine your mature gourd
flattened and make sure there is plenty of room for the gourd to spread
2. Drill holes at all 4
corners of the wood, not too close to the edge or it will be too weak.
Make sure all of the holes on the two boards line up.
3. Place the screws through
the homes and attach the nuts or wing nuts n this photo bright colored
yarn was tied to the mold to make it easier to visualize the gourd vine.
4. Small blocks of wood
can be placed on both ends of the flat mold to hold it apart an inch or
so. Insert all 4 threaded screws into the corners and tighten the wing-nuts
to secure the boards in place (as shown in Photo 3). Set up with end pieces
in place until gourd has reached the desired height
5. Once your flat mold has been
assembled it is ready to place on the vine.
Molded mini bottle
Photo 2: supplies
6. Find a baby gourd that
has a shiny look to the skin to place in the mold. Dull skin means the
gourd has not been sufficiently
pollinated and is not going
to set. Gently place a baby gourd into the middle of the mold taking care
not to bruise or scrape the skin. It is best if the gourd is small enough
that it doesn't touch both boards yet. [Photo 4]
7. Check the gourd daily
for 2 or 3 days to make sure the baby gourd has set and is growing. The
baby gourd should be tightly
wedged in by the 2nd day.
If it does not appear to be growing move the mold to a different gourd.
Once you are sure the gourd has set (is growing) don't mess with it again.
8. If more than one baby
gourd shrivels up you may need paint the top of the mold white to keep
it cooler, especially if you live in a very hot, dry climate.
9. Now just leave the gourd
alone. If the mold is removed too soon the gourd will try to go back to
a round shape so the longer you leave it on, the better.
10. Instead of a plain flat
mold try carving a reverse-pattern in the wood such as this face. Remember
not to carve any undercuts or
you will not be able to
get the wood mold off. (Photo 5)
11. Try to choose a gourd
variety that will fit within the mold when mature. Be careful not to place
the baby gourd too close to a threaded screw or it will produce a notch
in the gourd where it touches. If you choose a gourd variety that is too
large for your mold, it will out-grow the mold and produce unsightly bulges
at the edges. (Photo6)
12. Challenge yourself!
Get fancy. What new ideas can you come up with to make your molded gourd
special? Get creative, get
molding and have fun! Take
pictures along the way as I have done here, sharing the process of how
you created your gourd and helping others learn how to do it is what Jim
Story was all about.