Shapely Vessels: Gourds From Around the World
May 5 — August 9, 2015
Prized for their infinite uses and immediately recognizable by their voluptuous forms, gourds are one of mankind’s earliest domesticated plants. Feminine and masculine at the same time, carved or left whole in the glory of their elegant silhouette; the variety of shapes and sizes of the humble gourd are simply staggering. Explore their ancient roots and fascinating links to early civilizations. What were their many uses and how did ancient gourds transition to become many of our modern household objects and musical instruments of today? Likely one of the earliest domesticated plants, gourds have been discovered in archaeological sites dating from as early as 13,000 BC. Gourds also contain deep symbolism in many cultures, for example in Japan where the “Hyotan” gourd is a symbol for safety and good luck. Exhibited gourds will include artworks and statues, musical instruments, teas cups, snuff containers, and the iconic Calabash gourd pipe used in the movies by literary character Sherlock Holmes. There will be gourds from Native Americas, Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. This extensive collection is on loan from Orlando resident and self-proclaimed “Gourd Guru” or “Calabashologist,” Mr. Raymond Konan. In conjunction with this exhibit, The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens is proud to feature live gourd specimens growing in our garden for visitors to see these natural wonders growing. Programming will include a special presentation by the collector, and garden and artistic workshops featuring gourds. You’ll never look at a gourd in the same light again! So much more than a food source or a “crop,” be prepared to be enchanted by the sculptural and practical gourd!
Presentation with the Collector:
Early Man’s Best Friends: Gourds
Thursday, June 11, 2015
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Join us for a special presentation with Raymond Konan, our exhibiting collector and world renowned “Calabashologist.” Konan shares insights about his collection; how he became enchanted with gourds as a link to the earliest tools and culture of mankind while teaching in Africa. Mr. Konan will report on his research, on his travels to many countries, his exciting career as a gourd collector, and how he become a published “gourd guru.” Beyond his personal collection, Konan is a wealth of knowledge on the subject from anthropological and historical perspectives. You’ll discover why and how gourds became, “Early Man’s Best Friends.” Learn how ancient man used the gourd for both practical, decorative, and religious-cultural reasons. Walk with Konan through the centuries from the earliest uses of gourds to the development of ceramics, and the transition to drums as well as our modern string instruments of today.The gourd has had a remarkable journey through history, hand-in-hand with man. After the evening’s presentation you will never see a guitar, a bowl, or a gourd in the same simple way again! Directly following the presentation, Konan will lead an informal walk-through tour of the Gourd Exhibit in the Polasek Gallery. Admission is $5 and includes lecture, walk-through tour, and light refreshments. Must preregister at 407 – 647-6294 or email@example.com, as seating is limited.
Gourd-geous Day at the Polasek Museum!
Sunday, July 26, 2015
9:00 am – 12:00 noon
This summer we are pleased to offer a jam-packed, gourd-themed workshop at the Polasek Museum. So much useful information and hands-on fun packed into one morning!
Growing Gourds 101: 9:30 –10:00 am
Join us Sunday morning, from 9:00 am –9:30 am, for gourd growing 101. Everything a beginner needs to know to start growing their own crop. Learn from Master Gardener and Polasek Museum Trustee, Pamela Paisley, and get the scoop directly from the horse’s mouth! See the Polasek’s plants growing in the garden, learn about the plant’s needs, soil types, maintenance and growing cycles. We’ll discuss how to select the best planting area how and to train and support your vines. Then see dried examples and tips on how to properly dry the fruit after a successful harvest. You’ll also get to take home with you seeds from Polasek gourds to kick-start your new venture next season!
Gourd Preparation: 9:30– 10:15
During this portion of the workshop you’ll learn what to do next with your fully dried and seasoned gourd, whether you are working with a gourd you purchased or one you grew yourself. We will begin by cleaning each gourd and preparing them for use. We walk you through the process of scraping the interior out, saving seeds, and cutting and sanding gourds to make them the perfect blank canvas. The freshly washed gourd you work on will be yours to take home.
Gourd Art: 10:15 – 12:00 Noon
Using a pre-washed and prepared gourd, each participant will decorate a gourd. We’ll look at historical examples and walk through the Polasek Gallery and view the current exhibit, “Shapely Vessels: Gourds from Around the World” for inspiration. The workshop price includes this special gallery walkthrough tour. Next, students will sketch and draw out design ideas on paper before transferring their concept onto their gourd. Students will see examples of traditional techniques using simple patterns easy enough for beginners to duplicate. Everyone will create a beautiful and sculptural work of art suitable for display, or to give as a unique gift item. You’ll be amazed and how easy it is to make something so cool; we’re certain you’ll get “gourd fever” with all these decorating ideas!
All art materials and gourds will be provided. Though it is suggested that each participant brings with them a face covering such as a bandanna or paper face mask, as the dust from the gourd preparation and sanding may be an irritant. “Art friendly” clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty or getting paint on is also suggested. Workshop will be held rain or shine. Must preregister at 407 – 647-6294 or firstname.lastname@example.org, as class size is limited.
$45 for Museum Members
$50 for Non-Members