In 1993 Bonnie Drake stopped painting on canvas and began carving and weaving exclusively on gourds. She grows all her own gourds, over 2,000 per year of some twenty different varieties. The gourds she most commonly uses are the Martin House Gourd, the kettle bushel, and the Apple gourd. Sometimes Bonnie cuts the top off the gourd to make a bowl; other times the gourd is left whole.
As Bonnie travels around Kentucky, she sketches and takes photographs of scenes she’d like to carve. After drawing her image with pencil, she uses a tool called a detail master, a long very thin hot needle, to etch her images on the gourd. She then uses carving tools, leather dyes, and natural materials. An acrylic sealer is used to finish off the surface of the gourds.
Bonnie’s work can be found in many Kentucky State Park gift shops and at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.