Good Gourd! The Gourd Gathering at Cherokee Returns in July (Fowl Play Expected)7.1.2021
The largest event dedicated to the art of gourd crafting on the East Coast will soon happen again in Cherokee, North Carolina. The Gourd Gathering at Cherokee will take place July 28 through August 1st, 2021. Everyone is invited to come to the Gathering to see and admire this artform, develop your gourd crafting skills and make friends and connections with other gourd artists from Cherokee and from across the United States and Canada.
It is free to come see the art and crafts that will be on display and to shop for gourds and gourd crafting supplies from the vendors. A variety of paid classes led by expert crafters will be available for gourd artists of all skill levels.
Tyvek Beaded Gourd by Vickie Echols. Photo from gourdgathering.org
The Gourd Gathering at Cherokee is a volunteer-led community with a shared love for the craft and a dedication to helping educate newcomers and promote the form. This year's festival will be run by over 90 volunteers. Though the Gathering has been happening in Cherokee for 19 years, the organizers had to cancel the 2020 event because of the pandemic. They are thrilled to be back at The Indian Fairgrounds again in 2021 and hope you will join in the fun.
Fowl Play for a Good Cause
To raise money for the Gourd Gathering scholarship fund, the 2021 Gourd Gathering will feature a competition to see which artists can make the most fowl creations. Both land and waterfowl are fair game (pun intended). Bring your best gourd chicken, quail, turkey, duck, swan–the sky's the limit!
There are separate categories for Novice, Advanced, and Group artists. This is a judged competition, judges are certified by the American Gourd Society, and award ribbons and prizes will be handed to winners. Entries must be received at the Gourd Gathering no later than noon on Friday, July 30, 2021.
All the entries will be put up for sale by silent auction. If you are not an artist, you can still participate in the fun by bidding on your favorites. The auction winners will take home some beautiful art and all the money raised will be divided into $100 Gourd Gathering Scholarships for 2022.
Gourd Crafting Classes
Classes are offered for gourd artists of all skill levels from beginner to advanced. Jayne Wright, the Volunteer Coordinator for The Gourd Gathering at Cherokee, says that one of her favorite things about gourd crafting is the variety. “You traditionally see birdhouses, but there are so many different things you can do. Some people use jigsaws to cut the gourds into shapes, some people weave or use pine needles. Some people are wonderful painters. I think people are always surprised at how many different things you can do.”
Ink dye gourd made with natural bark by Robin Bryson. Photo from gourdgathering.org
The Gathering’s class list for this year includes workshops on wood burning, carving, painting, sculpting and more. All in all the event will feature a total of eight class sessions with up to 25 classes per session.
For COVID safety all the classes will be held outside–some under covered porches or tents. Classes will be more spread out so that people don’t have to sit right next to one another and organizers are asking guests to socially distance themselves.
Some classes are already sold out, but there are still a few seats available. Check the class schedule at gourdgathering.org for workshop information. Online registration ends on July 5th, but you are welcome to sign up in person at the event for any class that is not sold out.
Members of the general public are welcome to come shop from the vendors at the Gourd Gathering. You’ll find finished crafts as well as crafting tools and supplies including gourds, saws, carving implements, dyes, paints, beads, feathers, and other types of crafts such as hand woven baskets.
In addition to the vendors and the silent auction you can also purchase items in the Gathering’s “white elephant room.” Here you will find a variety of crafts and goods that are donated by volunteers–including crafting supplies. The organizers of the event call it a “super yard sale.”
July 28 – August 1st, 2021.
Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds
545 Tsali Blvd.
Cherokee, NC 28719
Visit gourdgathering.org for more information.