Gourders return to Taylorsville Saturday

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By Mallory Bilger

Gourd artists and enthusiasts from across Kentucky and beyond will again gather in Spencer County this weekend to celebrate all that the gourd has to offer – from growing the unique plant to using it as a medium for artistic projects or even transforming it into a utilitarian object like a ladle or a spoon.
Spencer County Elementary School will house the Kentucky Gourd Society’s 2013 Gourd Art Show Saturday and Sunday. The theme for this year’s event is “Doodlin’ Around with Gourds.”
The theme pays homage to a popular artistic method known as Zentangle that many artists are utilizing in their gourd art creations.
KGS President Janet Barnett said the Zentangle method – which is copyrighted – is a lot like what happens when you doodle somewhat mindlessly.
“Like when you are talking on the telephone and you’re drawing while you’re talking,” Barnett said describing the artistic method, which is generally done in black and white ink. “You can incorporate flowers and animals, plant life, anything you want to in there and just fill in there with more design.”
Barnett said the society is expecting good representation from artists and vendors alike, including gourders from South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and more. She also noted that local schools are getting more involved with the show.
“We’ve already got close to 300 entries from the schools and the 4-H,” Barnett said.
Exhibits and vendors will be located outside and inside the school. Hundreds of entries will be showcased in the SCES cafeteria and show-goers will have the opportunity to purchase gourds in all their stages, from seeds to dried to expertly crafted. There will also be gourd crafting materials and books about gourds for sale. Gourds featuring the Zentangle method, beading, carving, weaving, wood-burnt scenes and more will highlight the exhibits. The 2012 show boasted more than 800 gourd art entries.
Barnett said she is particularly interested in a new children’s exhibit category known as the thunder drum. Gourd thunder drums are crafted when a portion of the wide end of the gourd is cut off, a synthetic drum head is secured on the gourd and a spring is inserted in the drum head. When the spring is shaken the sound resembles a thunderstorm.
“When you hit that spring it just thunders,” Barnett said.  
Local business owner, Taylorsville resident and City Commissioner Beverly Ingram has been involved with the gourd show since its inception. She said she encourages everyone to go because it is so unique.
“I tell everybody you need to go,” Ingram said. “If you’ve never been, you need to go at least one time to see what they do with these gourds.”
Ingram said she would like to see more community members, businesses and organizations get behind it and own the event as a community.
“To me, it means so much and I think that we need to capitalize on it a little bit more,” she said. “This could be our big thing.
“I would love to see people, thousands of people down here, just like it is for the other communities that have festivals.”
 The show spans two days, but gourd workshops will be held Friday-Sunday. Friday’s workshops will be held at First Baptist Church in Taylorsville on Main Street from 9 a.m. until noon and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s workshops will be held at the school. For additional information or to register for workshops, visit www.kygourdsociety.org and select the 2013 gourd show workshops link under the workshops menu at the top of the page. Registration ends today online.
The show itself will be open to the public Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The show gate fee is $4. Advanced tickets can be purchased at The Red Scooter or The Tea Cup, both on Main Street. Attendees wishing to attend the show both days can purchase a two-day pass at those locations for $6.
 For additional information, visit the society’s website listed above.