Consider the lowly gourd. A member of the Cucurbits family of flowering vines that includes the cucumber and the pumpkin, the gourd is a curious anomaly in the plant world because it produces a large fruit that is inedible due to its tough rind.
In the symbiotic world of flora and fauna, where most every plant and critter seem to have a purpose, one can only assume the gourd exists to provide the world with a natural vessel.
Priscilla Wilson first considered the gourd in 1974, when she and her future wife, Janice Lymburner, decided to make planters for their mothers out of gourds purchased from a roadside vendor in the North Georgia mountains.
As she cut a 6-inch hole into the front of the gourd with a small handsaw, Wilson saw not just a vessel but an object of beauty. She was inspired to begin crafting items from the curved objects.
“The very earliest things were just totally simple,” said Wilson. “I love the gourds themselves, the shapes and everything. I didn’t think they needed embellishments. So I would just put a hole in them and hang them on the wall as a vase for dried flowers. I didn’t decorate them.”
Click below to read more about Wilson and Lymburner and the origins of their unique pottery process that uses gourds as molds.
IF YOU GO
Gourd Place. 2319 Duncan Bridge Road, Sautee. Free. April 1-Dec. 23: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays. January-March: by appointment only. 706-865-4048, www.gourdplace.com.
More North Georgia pottery
Hickory Flat Pottery. 13664 Ga. 197 N., Clarkesville. Free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Sundays. 706-947-0030, www.hickoryflatpottery.com.
The Willows Pottery. 7273 S. Main St., Helen. Free. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. 706-878-1344, www.thewillowspottery.com.
Mark of the Potter. 9982 Ga. 197 N., Clarkesville. Free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Closes at 5 p.m. January-March. 706-947-3440, www.markofthepotter.com.
Folk Pottery Museum. Sautee Nacoochee Center, 283 Ga. 255 N., Sautee Nacoochee. $5 adults, $4 seniors and $2 for children. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays. 706-878-3300, www.folkpotterymuseum.com.