Gourd Weaving

Several of our students at The Basket Sampler have expressed an interest in weaving on gourds. There are some beautful things you can do with them. Gourds can be painted, carved, burned, twined, coiled and just about any other basket weaving technique. There is some prep work involved in getting the gourds ready to weave on...drying, cleaning, scraping the insides, painting or staining. THEN you get to weave.

We recently had the opportunity to have Catherine Devine and her husband Gary come to the shop to teach us a little bit about weaving on gourds. One class was on coiling, and the other was coiling with pine needles. I was especially interested in how they prepared the gourds. They made it look really easy. The classes were a lot of fun, and I enjoyed learning how to weave something new.

One of our regular weavers, Sybil Phelps, has taken an interest and actually started to weave on the gourds. She is doing a mixture of techniques-coiling, teneriffe, pine needle weaving, and even some burning. Watch the website for more samples of her work, and gourds for sale in the near future. Here's a little about Sybil and her gourds:


I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not interested in fibers. As I young girl,I was always thrilled when my father, a clothing wholesaler, brought home swatches of fabric samples that I made into tapestries and clothing for my dolls. My first sewing machine was given to me while I was still in grade school. I took sewing lessons and made my own clothing for many years.

As an adult, I have learned many crafts that use fibers. Quilting has been a favorite and one that I have developed to the point that I have sold my work at art fairs in Costa Rica where I lived for over twenty years. While there, I studied basketry with an accomplished weaver, and since my return to the USA three years ago, I have been taking basketry classes. Last year, I made a leap from weaving baskets to weaving gourds, something that had long interested me. I recently attended two gourd workshops in Michigan and New York State. I think I have found my true passion; I continually look forward to creating new gourds. I have collected gourds from around the country and harvested several from my own garden. I always seek to maintain the integrity of each individual gourd. I want each of my creations to reflect nature. When I travel, I constantly seek out stones, seeds, dried weeds and flowers that I can incorporate into my art. I recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica with a suitcase filled with pieces of coconut shells and unusual seeds. I love to take long walks, and I always watch for materials that I can use in my projects. I've even found some "treasures" in downtown Milford.

For the month of March, 2012, Sybil was the featured artist at Main Street Art in Milford, MI. Her gourds and baskets were displayed in their window for all to enjoy. Here are a few of them, that include gourds lined with hand made paper, waxed linen coiling and buttons and beads that Sybil has acquired from travels around the world.