Initially, gourds are opened, cleaned, and treated as needed for their intended use. For example, appropriate-sized holes for different bird species are drilled into gourds designated to be birdhouses; those gourds that are selected to be bowls or vases are cut open with a key-hole saw. After opening, all the debris is removed from the interior of the gourd.
Once cleaned, a design is penciled onto the gourd surface. The design that is selected is in keeping with the shape of the gourd. The penciled design is then used as a template to carve the design onto the gourd. After carving, the gourds to be used indoors are stained with dyes, indigo ink and/or acrylics.
Gourds to be used outdoors are painted with outdoor paints and treated with uv-resistant urethane to make them durable and weather resistant.
Susan’s love for gourd art stems from her horticultural interests coupled with her desire to produce a functional as well as decorative product. Over the past seasons, the Wolf family gourd garden has provided Susan with a medium to work – providing her many different shapes and sizes of gourds.
Susan is originally from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. After receiving her Ph.D. in Plant Breeding from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, Susan moved to Virginia in 1988 to take a post-doctoral position in plant biology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. After completion of her postdoctoral tenure, Susan moved to Toms Brook, Virginia and conducted research in the plant sciences at the Virginia Tech Agricultural and Research Station in Winchester, Virginia. Susan is currently self-employed and works out of her home in Toms Brook where she lives with her husband and two sons.