The Gourd Art of Debra Toth

Incised gourd with leather dyes, 2004.

About the Artist

Debra Toth's gourds are cured, cleaned and then crafted using contemporary methods and tools. The gourds are first carved, then dyed, painted and embellished with wood burning or natural materials.

Debra has grown, designed and crafted gourds since 1992. She holds a B.A. in Studio Art from the College of Charleston and a M.In.Ed. in Graphic Communications from Clemson University. In addition, she has studied various basket weaving techniques at The Penland School of Crafts.

About Gourds

Since ancient times gourds have been used as musical instruments, storage containers and vessels. Fragments and seeds of gourds were unearthed in Peru dating from 10,000 B.C. and in Gainesville, Florida dating from 11,000 B.C.

A gourd, also known as a calabash, is a member of the Curcurbitaceae family, the same family as pumpkins and squash. The vines grow up to 100 feet in length, and produce a hard-shelled, durable fruit which is grown for use as utensils and ornaments.

Today, artists use this natural pottery as a canvas for self-expression.

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