The Wisconsin Gourd Society
Zeta Chapter of the American Gourd Society
"Cucurbitaceae Custodiae"

Member Highlight

Bruce Flesch from Platteville
     Hi—I am Bruce Flesch. I live in the southwestern part of Wisconsin in the shadow of the world’s largest “M” just outside of Platteville. Because of my rural address and the fact that I have chosen to work with gourds, I have named my beginning business Rural Roots Gourd Art.

     I more or less stumbled upon working with gourds one year when we happened to grow them and got a bumper crop. Since you can’t eat gourds, I decided to try my hand at putting a design on them. I got several of Ginger Summit’s books from the public library and did some reading up on them.

     I am not an artist and couldn’t draw anything that you would recognize, so I worked with geometric designs using what I had learned in my college drafting courses. I use a compass, ruler, protractor and other tools to lay out my designs. I like to use pottery designs from ancient Southwest Indian tribes. Each tribe had their own techniques and designs. I particularly like ideas from the Mimbres and Pima Indians.

     I have tried leather dyes and many different types of mediums from permanent markers to colored pencils. I find that acrylic paints give the best coverage and boldest color. I seal the design by spraying it with a semigloss polyurethane. My wife helps by adding pine needles or other natural embellishments to the rims of the gourds. I like to allow much of the natural beauty of the gourd to show; therefore, I don’t paint the whole gourd, just the design. I also have been adding bead work or other decorations to my designs.

     When I am not sitting at my work table fiddling with a gourd, I spend my time in my numerous flower gardens and veggie patch; my wife and I are Master Gardeners. We also have worked for years to restore and rebuild our old farm house.

This page last updated on June 27th, 2006.
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