Bonnie Drake / Gourd Art & More by Drake
Bonnie Drake makes folk art in the rolling hills of Kentucky. In 1993 she stopped painting on canvas and began working exclusively with gourds. She grows all her own gourds, over 2,000 per year of some twenty different varieties. The gourds she most commonly uses are the Martin House Gourd, the kettle bushel, and the Apple gourd. Sometimes Bonnie cuts the top off the gourd to make a bowl; other times the gourd is left whole.
One of her favorite gourd projects involves carving fruits, flowers, and or animals around the top of gourd bowls. As Bonnie travels around Kentucky, she also sketches and takes photographs of scenes she’d like to carve.
After drawing her image with pencil, she uses a tool called a detail master, a long very thin hot needle, to etch her images on the gourd. She then uses carving tools, leather dyes, and natural materials to complete the design. An acrylic sealer is used to finish off the surface of the gourds.
Bonnie was a founding member of the Kentucky Gourd Society, and visited Japan on an exchange program on behalf of gourd artists, to share informationon how Americans grow and work with gourds.
Bonnie’s work can be found in many Kentucky State Park gift shops and at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.