Animals Carvings

Animals Carvings

After the gourds are harvested, the artisan removes the outer green skin with a dull knife to expose the lighter brown color underneath. This will become his/her canvas. The gourds are cleaned and dried in the hot Peruvian sun.

After drying, the artisan draws his/her initial design in pencil, then uses a carving tool to remove small pieces of gourd, creating a 3-dimensional version of the original design. Next, the artisan burns the pattern with a glowing ember, usually a feather-shaped piece of Quinual wood that's been heated over a fire, to establish contrast between the carvings and the gourd. The artisan can vary the intensity of the heat by blowing on the ember; the harder the artist blows, the darker the burn.

Having obtained the color, the artisan washes the gourd to remove the pencil marks and polishes the finished piece with a natural wax. Sometimes, the artisan applies an oil/charcoal mixture to the gourd's carved surface. The dye adheres any part of the gourd where the outer skin has been removed, yet wipes clean from the gourd's smooth surfaces. This is why some carved gourds have a black background.