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Gourd History

Water Wings

contributed by Scott Nelson

What we now call life vests. They're actually water wings. The gourds fit under the arm pits (to the back) and the twine keeps them together in the front. Kids used them until they learned how to swim, NA' s carried them when they were out in the rivers/bay in case they sank, the water wings would allow them to try and swim back to shore.

TGR Comments:

Were around since the dawn of time.  For all the things and conveniences that we use today the utensils, water vessels, bowls and vases, we have found gourds from ancient cultures that have been used for the same thing we currently use modern made utensils for.  It really makes me wonder as I look at modern day compotes, vases, centerpieces, and many other modern day he utensils, how much the design of our modern utensils were handed down or patterned after gourds.


Today we use ceramic and plastic utensils and metal silverware, we make plastic bottles to hold our liquids and we have man-made ladles instead of dippers .  But gourds have not completely left the scene, but today in modern cultures and gourds are not widely used as serving bowls, canteens for liquids, or for many other uses.  Today gourds and formed a new niche in modern society.  Courts have become a three-dimensional art canvas, a decorative piece for the fireplace, a centerpiece for the coffee table or the dining room table, or even a lamp or  vase for the end table.


Gourds are the vegetable that would not be forgotten.  This ancient utensil vegetable that is still used in some primitive cultures, has not been done away with because of modern technology and modern invention.  As if the gourd itself has reached out to man as a reminder that it was created for man and to be used by men.  It would not be replaced by  caramel glass or the finest pottery, but would find its way into the hearts of modern artisans who would turn this ancient utensil into a piece of beauty to be admired by many.


This is what the gourd has become too many of us who have grown gourds and crafted gourds, it has become a wooden vegetable worthy of admiration.  If you are new to gourds, we hope you'll find the time to explore this website and to see just how much gourds have been accepted into the world of artistry.  There are truly some fine artists whose work is displayed in our gourd artist showcase, who are deserving of global recognition for their artistic skills and the gourds they create deserving of admiration to all who see them.




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