Lone Star Gourd Festival

One of Judy Richie's stunning art gourds. Photo by the artist

This past weekend, my lovely wife and I headed out for a much need mini-vacation.  For our “romantic get away” we decided to go to the Lone Star Gourd Festival in Fredericksberg, Texas.  We picked the Gourd Festival for several reasons.  First, I love gourds.  The gourd festival is a great place to see some really incredible art being made with gourds.  Second, I just submitted an article to Texas Gardener about gourds and I wanted to meet Judy Richie.  Judy is an incredibly talented gourd artist and her art will be featured in that article. 

A classic example of the finishes and deep front cuts with weavings that Judy has pioneered

Judy has been making gourd art for over ten years.  She is a pioneer in the gourd art world and many of her pieces are featured in several galleries through out the US.  Judy is a talented artist in every skill that can possibly be used to convert an ugly brown dried gourd into something that is truly museum quality art.  She is a master carver, engraver, weaver and finisher.  She was the first to deep cut into the side of a gourd and then adorn those openings with intricate weavings.  She has also developed several of her own finishes that make her art unique and instantly recognizable.

This vibrant piece shows all of things that Judy is famous for: incredible finishes, carving, weaving and inlay. the small piece inlayed in the bear is an ancient Native American pottery shard.

I first discovered Judy’s art at the “The Copper Shade Tree” in Round Top, Texas.  Gerald Tobolo and his wife are the owners of this gallery.  Gerald is a master coppersmith and he started this gallery to highlight his work and the work of other craftsmen working in Texas.  Judy’s art is one of the centerpieces of his collections and one of his better sellers.  According to Gerald, “Judy’s work is so versitile and varied.  Some of her pieces have a distinct Western flair while others resemble art pottery.  In fact, I recently had a customer buy one of her pieces for his craftsman style home.  This customer is a stickler for accuracy in his home.  Even though, no gourd was probably ever featured in a craftsman style home, he loved the fact that the Judy’s piece would “fool” his guests by making them think it was a very fine piece of hand thrown pottery.”

Judy’s business is called “Redcloud Originals”.  Please check it out.  Her website is full of great examples of her work and it also lists the galleries that she exhibits in and her show schedule.

Even though Judy was the main reason I went to the festival, she was not the only artist there.  Once again, I was amazed at the variety and quality of art being created out of gourds.  Scroll down for some pics of things that caught my eye at the 2011 Lone Star Gourd Festival.

The "Traveling Gourd". This is a HUGE gourd that was sent to each chapter in the Texas Gourd Society. There, artists from each chapter added to it to make a gourd that is truly representitive of all of the great things in the Great State of Texas.


I thought this was a cute and original treatment. Great for a child's room.


My favorite creation in the competition room

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