A little bit about me...
Hello, I’m Amanda Rutland, and I'm a gourd artist who also grows my medium.
I live near the Essex/Suffolk border, close to Constable Country, with my partner, two children and two cats.
With a graphic design background, I also love growing fruit & veg on my little allotment and a few years ago, a small packet of gourd seeds arrived that I’d ordered online.
Little did I know that a year later my passion for growing these amazing fruits and what I could do with them was born.
My inspiration mainly comes from the gourd itself, coupled with my imagination and the beauty of the countryside.
Although I am the main grower and crafter, my partner Neil is as involved as me as he also turns the locally-sourced wood bases for the lamps on his lathe, not to mention varnishing all my gourds (scroll further for more about Wonky Wood).
We are both self-taught and compliment each others talents perfectly, aspiring to producing organic, sustainable yet beautiful pieces of functional art together.
A little bit about the process...
From sowing the seed, growing the vine, hand-pollinating and nurturing the fruit through to curing, cleaning, drilling, carving, burning, colouring, varnishing and finishing, each gourd can take up to 2 years from seed to finished piece.
So now you can understand how I get so attached to my gourds - I love them from start to finish.
Gourds are part of the pumpkin/squash family and are usually grown in hot climates. They have had numerous uses throughout history, including as tools, musical instruments, objects of art and food.
Different countries around the world traditionally decorate and style their gourds around their native culture, and I feel I have brought a unique and different style to the British gourd.
In fact, I am currently one of only a few sellers of handcrafted gourds in the UK.
Gourds can be all different shapes and sizes. I try and make most of my pieces practical as well as aesthetically pleasing.
I specialise mostly in feature lamps and egg holders, but over the years I have tried all kinds of other products, which you can find in the shop.
If you would like a lamp and wish to pay in installments, please contact me for more information.
If you would like to try your hand at crafting a gourd, please contact my good friend Julie Grice who has a much bigger polytunnel than me! Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil is my partner & expert woodsman who turns the lamp bases for the gourds and creates his own stunning bowls from local wood.
After having to retire from tree surgery due to back problems, he carried on his wood passion via his lathe in our garage. He is self taught with a high attention to detail.
Neil turns many of his bowls green (fresh and undried) so are ‘wonky’, a slight warping of the wood that occurs naturally as its dried. It gives the bowl its own character and interest.