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Group decorates gourds for fair

| July 24, 2015
Pictured from l-r: Theresa Scheetz, Norma Owens, Diana Swigert, and Ron Cummings. This dedicated group makes decorative gourds for the Coshocton County Fair. They are trying to create more interest in gourd decorating.

Pictured from l-r: Theresa Scheetz, Norma Owens, Diana Swigert, and Ron Cummings. This dedicated group makes decorative gourds for the Coshocton County Fair. They are trying to create more interest in gourd decorating.

COSHOCTON – Each year, the Coshocton County Fair has a decorative gourd display that is submitted by a few dedicated people who love to work with various art mediums on their gourd. The gourds range in size from jewelry pieces and Christmas ornaments to large decorative displays.

“We know there are a lot of people out there interested in gourds and doing it on their own,” said Diana Swigert. “We want people to bring their stuff in and share it. That’s what the fair is all about, sharing your creativity.”

The group is trying to create more interest in gourd decorating for the Coshocton County Fair. This year, the display will be in the Art Hall, and they are in need of help with setting up the displays for the fair.

Currently, there are four people involved in creating decorative gourds which include Swigert, Theresa Scheetz, Ron Cummings, and Norma Owens. They all agree that one reason people may not decorate gourds is because it seems too much of a daunting task.

“You don’t have to start out big,” said Scheetz. “You don’t have to go out and buy expensive tools. Start out small. If you don’t want to use paint, use magic markers. Don’t get overwhelmed.”

The group also said that creating decorative gourds is more about creativity and less about being an artist.

“Every person alive has artistic ability that can be used on gourds,” said Swigert. “You’re not required to be an artist.”

Gourds can also be made to be useful items around the house such as small baskets, a bird house, a dish to store items, or even a potted plant container.

“Native Americans used gourds for centuries,” said Cummings. “So some of us keep with the traditional uses of gourds.”

Cummings has been creating decorative gourds for 36 years and reflects his passion for movies in his decorating, which includes gourds created with a “Gone with the Wind” theme, “Wizard of Oz” theme, and “Phantom of the Opera” theme.

“We all have a passion,” said Cummings, “and our lifestyle comes back and is reflected in the gourd.”

The group suggests that people who want to start making decorative gourds start small and create something like Christmas ornaments. Overall, let the gourd’s unique size and shape help to dictate what you create.

“A sense of humor is involved in this whole thing,” said Scheetz. “I know artists who paint on canvas who are so serious. With gourds, it allows you to have more fun. We take our work seriously to do the best we can do, but we aren’t Michaelangelo or Piccasso.”

Before you start working on a decorative gourd, there are a few things you need to know. Gourds need to be grown one year and then decorated the next. Every gourd needs to be cleaned outside and with a mask covering your nose and mouth as gourd dust is harmful to your lungs. Once the gourds are created, they need to be stored in a dry area where no moisture can cause mold to grow.

The group is planning to have a demonstration day on Monday during the fair in the Art Hall. They are also going to do a children’s activity sometime during the fair.

Owens will be having a workshop on gourds on Aug. 20 at Clary Gardens at 6:30 p.m. for those who would like to learn about decorative gourds.

“I find anything you can do to a gourd really fascinating,” said Sheetz. “You can apply any art medium to a gourd.”

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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