‘Gourd Girls’ craft a life of their own design

Sept 08, 2017
Priscilla Wilson has patented a unique method of making pottery she calls Gourd Impressions Pottery, crafted and sold at the Gourd Place in Sautee. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

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.