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   To make a very long story short, I was born in Weidman Michigan. My family moved to 
   Phoenix, Arizona, in 1954 when I was a child.  I married my husband in Phoenix in 1962.
   We raised two children in there.   After my children were grown we moved to Tucson, 
   Arizona, for retirement.

   As a young child, I was interested  and involved in the arts and crafts beginning. At the
   age of 16 I became intrested in flowers and I took a job in a florist.  When I was in High
   school I learned Metal Art, Leather Tooling, Oil Painting and many other arts.  As an adult
   I became interested in Floral Design, Cake Decorating of Wedding Cakes, Beading with a
   loom and without a loom, etc.

   In the Fall of 2002 I wanted to do gourds, but it was 2003 before I, took my first gourd
   workshop.  When I bought my first gourd I had no idea of what I was going to do with this  
   thing called a bottle gourd. I flipped on my wood burner and just jumped in -- following
   the natural markings of the gourd that were left from the mold that had formed during
   the drying process as the gourd was drying. When completed the gourd, I saw that I had
   very interesting piece and I liked it; I called it "Around the World Gourd."  I took the idea
   and developed what I call "Random Design." Since then I developed a designs called      
   Vine, Leaf and Flower; Free Hand Geometric Design; Big Flower Design and many other   
   first design and styles developed by me. Creating and developing gourd designs for    
   gourds which is my "Palatte" is very relaxing and rewarding to me.

   I have experimented  with Memories, Ancient Page and Palette Dye Inks on the gourds  
   that I create and have developed a number of new techniques to apply to gourds.  One
   thing about the dye inks is they do not fade.  I fell in love with the dye inks and use them  
   in my own style of gourd art. I use many different kinds of brands of inks including,    
   Alcohol Inks,  I also use Acrylic Paints, Metal Leafing, JW Products, Pigments, Wax, etc.  
   I also embellish with Sand, Rocks, Sea Grass, Danish Cord, Pine Needles, I do inlaying of 
   several  different products.

   I  teach several  different gourd classes incorporating a variety of designs and techniques
   in studio at my home here in Tucson, Arizona. The majority of work is still freehand   
   designs.  While teaching students, I try to teach them how to use the gourd and their
   minds to develop freehand designs.  I also teach students to think beyond the stock
   patterns and tracing pictures onto a gourd.  By doing this, they create their very own
   designs. When a student is finished with their gourd and loves what they have
   accomplished, there is nothing more rewarding and satisfying to me. Teaching is a
   challenge and oh so rewarding.  Besides teaching at home I teach a Tohono Chula Park. 
   I also sell my gourds at several shows a year in Tucson and Phoenix each year.

   I have won many ribbons at the Pima County Fair and Wuertz Gourd Festival.  I was also
   a featured Gourd Artist in a showcase one summer of 2006 at the University of  Arizona, in
  the Library.

       **** All of my gourds that are to be used for food are food safe -- whether it be for
               salads, rolls, tortillas, etc.
****  I also do Birthday Parties for children 10 years and older or adults. They
               design, wood burn and use dye inks etc. on their gourds, they will finish a gourd to
               take home.
****  Give a GIFT CERTIFICATE for a  GOURD or a GOURD CLASS to a LOVED ONE or a

~ Gourds, An Untapped Palette ~

My First Gourd
By Wanda Ryckman

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My First Gourd