Martha Bloom, owner of Bloom's Nursery in Clearfield, PA, loves to garden and grow an assortment of plants, so when an article on gourds caught her eye, a new phase in her life began. It didn't take long for the gourd fever to hit and the gardens became filled with gourd plants and the house with gourd crafts in all phases of completion.
The idea was to add a gift line to the Nursery, but without an actual building to display her creations, Martha sold her gourds at craft shows, on her web site, and at eBay.
She learned the ins and outs of gourd craft by reading numerous books and articles, joining the American Gourd Society and the Pennsylvania Gourd Society, and learning from friends found on the online gourd lists, ClubGourd and GourdPatch. Years of experience have led to the gourds you see today.
Martha's advice to anyone who wants to start working with gourds. "Don't dwell on what to do with your first gourd. If you think about it too much the gourd will just sit there for years with nothing being done to it."
Don't try to learn everything before you start or you will be overwhelmed and give up.
Just know the basics and that is to have a clean, dry, gourd to work with and then pick your favorite type of paint and put something on it. If you don't have any artistic talent find some stencils and make patterns on it. The idea is to just get started.
Don't let those wonderful gourds sit in your basements or garage while you procrastinate because you are afraid it won't turn out right. If that happens get another gourd and try again or paint over the first one if you want. Once you get started the next will be easier.
Currently, Martha specializes in "ready-to-craft" gourds.