A time honored Peruvian tradition
Andean master carvers travel to the gourd fields on the Peruvian northern coast to ensure and inspect the quality of the raw materials.
The Origin of the Materials
Gourds are vegetables related to pumpkins, squash and cucumbers, and they grow in a variety of shapes and sizes. This allows gourd artists to create a range of decorative ornaments, boxes or birdhouses.
Selecting the Best
After harvest the process starts by selecting and “green-scraping” each gourd using a dull knife to shed the outer green skin. The gourds then dry naturally in the sun of the coastal desert.
The First Sketch
Next, the artist creatively draws the design with a pencil adapting to the shape.
A skillful carver then carefully etches the fine lines with a simple hand chisel.
Coloring with Heat
Using a technique called pyrography, fire adds the rich shades of browns and blacks. Sometimes after the carving and burning, a white paste is applied and washed off to highlight the intricate carvings. Gourd boxes will be cut open and the inside clean of seed and fibers and the painted.
Finally the outside is waxed and polished, presenting you with a one-of-a-kind piece to treasure for generations!