I have been attracted to dried gourd art since I moved to the Southwest over a decade ago. In the past, I've made vases, masks, and jewelry out of dried and painted gourds. But, as much as I loved working with these gourds, I never found an artistic styling that persuaded me to continue working with them.
During the pandemic, my passion for Reiki was reignited and I threw myself into my art as a distraction from a world I could not make sense of. Although I have several gourd art pieces I created around the house - one of them resonated with me one day. A kettle-style gourd that I crusted with pink Himalayan salt and glitter.
I have always used crystals in my Reiki practice and usually adorn myself with crystal and gemstone jewelry. Looking at the salt-crusted gourd and my crystal bracelets gave me the idea to cover these gourds with crystals. Then I thought, “I will use gourds in my distance Reiki practice. I don't know how yet, but when they are finished - I will know how to use them.”
The crown gourd was where I started, but ultimately, I worked on them all simultaneously. I tested my methods and adhesives, then scrubbed and cleaned each gourd. I was drawn to hand painting them all gold, even though gold is not my metal of choice, it felt right and ceremonious. I used agate on all of my gourds since it is said to clear auras and transform negativity.
Matching and placing each stone was meditative for me. Fitting the multi-shaped stones closely kept me present and forced me to accept imperfection. Not all things in nature are perfect, equal, or the same - nature's perfection lies in its imperfection. Being unable to fit every stone together perfectly wasn't always possible since each stone was unique. It was an unexpected exercise in letting go of control and accepting the beauty that comes from being in the flow of art.
When they were finished, as with all of my creative projects, I entered into a post-creation depression. It was over, done - completed. This is when apprehension and anxiety started to whisper doubts into my ear about what comes next.
I decided to quell some of my doubts by looking into the symbolism of gourds across the world. Kitchen tools, canteens, jewelry, and art are only a few uses for dried gourds around the world. They symbolized fertility, abundance, and good luck. When I discovered that the Japanese symbolism of gourds is for the divine I knew I was on the right track. Gourds in Japan, to my amazement, represented the divine, good luck, fertility, and abundance.
Even the style of gourd I chose to work with was fortuitous. In previous art endeavors, I used kettle-style gourds but chose to use a bottleneck-style gourd for this project. Some cultures believe the top part of a bottleneck style gourd represents heaven and the bottom part represents the earth. Gourds illustrate the connection between heaven and earth, as well as the abundance and harmony they both embody
I have found them so helpful in my meditation practice. These gourds start out cold to the touch, but as I close my eyes, the texture of the stones holds my attention without thought.
Making these crystal gourds was a calling for me. This project is a perfect intersection point between my jewelry making, art, and Reiki. I feel that having these beautiful pieces of art incorporated into my Reiki is truly divine. I am grateful for the intuition to make these gourds and I am happy to share them with the world finally. I hope you feel their energy radiating with their beauty.