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Gourd Masks - Unique Gourd Masks by Nedra Denison

Nedra Denison creates her unique gourd masks with inks, paint, metallic powder, beads, exotic feathers and a lot of imagination

Gourd masks are amazing & slightly reminiscent of the masks seen at Mardi Gras. A gourd friend in Louisiana said add some purple, green & gold & it would be a Mardi Gras mask. I'm not sure who started this fantastic gourd art form but it has been inspiring seeing all the wonderful gourd masks over the last few years.

I started doing gourd art in 1999 but I did not become a gourd head until I retired & moved back toGourd masks on display at Belen Art League Show, Fall, 2011. New Mexico in 2007. It was then that I started actively going to gourd festivals & discovered gourd masks. I also started collecting feathers thinking one day I'm going to be brave & make a mask. & it took me 3 years to get up the courage to attempt a mask. It came out good, but not great. Everyone said it turned out really nice & I even sold it at my first show but it was not something I was real proud of & knew I could do better. With each mask I learned more & they got better & I got more creative.

One common thing I found when making them is that they are very labor intensive & the cost of materials really start adding up...beads, feathers & other embellishments. It's mind boggling. Because of the time involved in making a mask I usually only make a few masks each year.

Each mask is a unique work of art & there are no two alike. If you see one you like that has been sold you can contact me about ordering a similar one.

What I discovered is that you really have to let your inhibitions run wild. I think the crazier you get the better the outcome. So, it's been quite an experience stepping outside the box & letting my hair down. That's the hard part since I don't have much hair to let down.

The feathers used in my gourd masks & other gourd projects are natural feathers. They are not painted or dyed. Some of the feathers I use are pheasant, peacock, turkey, ostrich, guinea, macaw, cockatiel, cockatoo & parrot.

For more information on how to clean & maintain the feathers & to see the process in making my gourd masks please go to the main Gourd Mask page.

If you are interested in purchasing a mask or ordering one please contact me.

Copyright Information

Each of these masks are my own original design. They are copyright protected. It may not be copied, reproduced, used as a pattern, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of me, the artist.


"Evangeline"

Mardi Gras theme mask done for the Louisiana Gourd Society's first gourd show. It is an original design.

Evangeline was an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow recalling the 1755 deportation of Acadian Canadians to the newly Spanish Louisiana.

Photos: top left is a full view of the finished Mask. Top right is a close-up of the "bangs". The bottom photos are close-ups of the "earrings on each side of the mask. The glitter & colors don't show up as well as in person but it should give you an idea of what it looks like.

The face was colored with Memories Chalk (cheeks) & Dye (remaining parts of the face) inks. I also used Lumiere metallic acrylic (band around the eyes), Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments mixed with Memories Dye Ink (large area of the mask) & a new metallic ink (gold band around the mask) that I was testing out. I inlaid Abalone (paua shell) cabochon's in lavender, purple & black tones for the eyes & I found a pearl button in the exact colors & pearlescent blend of the green in the mask. Earrings were made with Satin & fabric ribbons, glass beads, pony beads & feathers.

Signed & dated by the artist (2012).

Finished mask measures 19 inches (h) x 24 inches (w)

Price: $325.00

Evangeline Gourd Mask Finished.
Close-up of the left side of the mask.
Evangeline Bangs Close-Up.
Close-up of the right side of the mask.

"Angelique"

I'm gearing up for the Louisiana Gourd Festival & decided to do a Mardi Gras theme mask. This is an original design. I started with a design sketched on paper. The design changed & evolved every step of the way but the original idea of a mask on a gourd mask is still there.

I always give my masks names & try to let the mask or the theme inspire me. I was searching for Cajun & Creole names & came up with quite a list but as it usually happens I had a flash cross my mind & it was "Angelique". As it turns out the name means "Messenger Of God" & it's origins are French so this is the perfect name for this mask since that the name came to me in the form of a message from god.

If you would like to see how this mask was created you can look at my step-by-step tutorial on how I made this mask. From start to finish I have over 30 hours of time creating this mask plus the feathers & other embellishments.

While I was on the Oregon Coast I found some great beads & I thought that earrings would be a nice touch. I had some beautiful satin ribbon at home that is a blend of purple & blue satin. the beads I used were topaz, Iris & blue. So they really compliment the colors of the feathers & face.

Signed & dated by the artist (2012).

Finished mask measures 28 inches (h) x 34 inches (w)

NOTE: Angelique was given to Kate Bangle, Founder & President of the Louisiana Gourd Society at the 1st Annual Gourd Show in Louisiana. Kate had poured her heart & soul into forming the Louisiana Gourd Society & the 1st Gourd show. She inspired me to create a mask with a Mardi Gras theme for the show but at the show I realized I had really made Angelique for Kate. I knew that Angelique was in good hands & Kate has been doing what she does best....she now uses Angelique to inspire budding gourd artists with her own passion for gourds.

Angelique Gourd Mask finsihed with Earrings.
Close-up of Angelique Gourd Mask finsihed with Earrings.
Kate Bangle teaching a mask class with Angelique.

"Elektra"

This is an original design.  As I created the design for this mask it reminded me of a villain out of one of the Marvel superhero comics. As it evolved it makes me think of a flashy super-heroine. I think you can see I'm really starting to step outside the box with this mask.

The mask is made on a short neck dipper gourd. The face is painted with Adirondack & Memories dye inks, Pearl Ex powdered pigments & Lumiere metallic acrylic paint for accent to compliment the firey colors of the feathers & beads. I used some unique & colorful feathers in addition to some gourdgeous hand made dichroic glass with exceptional depth & shimmer. The beads used for the eyes & mouth which really make this mask "pop".

Signed & dated by the artist (2011).

Finished mask measures 17inches (h) x 15 inches (w)

PRICE: $195.00

SOLD

Gourd mask entitled Elektra is made with colorful coordinating beads and feathers. Spectacular Dichroic Glass Cabochon used for the eyes and mouth in the Gourd Mask entitled Elektra.

"Warrior Queen"

This mask is an original design. The mask is done on a short neck dipper gourd. The cheeks were carved & inspired by the lady who helped me redesign my website. Tina does a lot of doodle art & we have been chatting about it so I experimented doing some doodles with my power carver & liked it so much I used it on the mask. The face is painted with Memories dye inks & Lumiere metallic acrylic paint for accent. The colors in the face & beads coordinate with the feathers to make this mask a beauty. Her eyes & mouth are inlaid with beads & brass tacks go across her brow.

Signed & dated by the artist (2011).

Finished mask measures 18 inches (h) 17 inches (w)

2nd Place Professional - Mixed Media Belen Art League Show Fall, 2011

PRICE: $195.00

Gourd mask entitled Warrior Queen is made with exotic feathers and beads.

Gourd mask Zephyr early stages. Gourd mask of Zephyr closeup of face in early stages of design. Gourd mask Zephyr made with very subtle colors of exotic feathers, turquoise and lapis beads.

"Zephyr"

This gourd is one from my garden & I cannot tell you exactly what type it is. It was supposed to be a bottle gourd, but the seeds were obviously pollinated with something else. 

This is an original design. The overall design was sketched & then burned. I laid out the larger feathers & drilled holes. The face was painted with dye inks & gold metallic paint. Turquoise beads were inlaid for the eyes & mouth & a topaz bead inlaid for the mouth. Feathers give Zephyr that finished look...like going to the hairdresser!

Signed & dated by the artist (2010).

Finished mask measures 15 inches (h) x 12 inches (w)

PRICE: $95.00

SOLD

 


"Yuma"

 Means son of a chief

This is an original design. It is done on a dipper gourd. I used Memories dye inks for the majority of the color with an accent of generation green black pearl shimmer around the neck. The eyes were inlaid with a copper free-form bead in one eye & an agate cabochon in the other. I'm learning that there are no rules when it comes to designing masks & the crazier the idea gets, the better it seems to come out. Neutral toned feathers were used for the headdress. 

Signed & dated by the artist (2010).

Finished mask measures 211/2 h x 22 w

PRICE: $125.00

SOLD

Gourd mask Yuma with face sketched on the gourd. Gourd mask Yuma with the face painted. Gourd mask Yuma finished.

Gourd mask Nova with face sketched and feathers laid out.

 

Gourd mask Nova with face painted. Gourd mask Nova finished.

"Nova"

Hopi name meaning "Chases Butterflies"

This is an original design. The mask is done on a bottle gourd grown in my yard. A variety of medium were used to paint the face including Generation Green Shimmers, Memories dye inks & Jo Sonja paint. The eyes are inlaid with brass eye balls! Some exotic feathers with dramatic colors were used & the colors are carried over into the face.

Signed & dated by the artist (2010).

Finished mask measures 17 h x 16 w

SOLD


"Ayasha"

Cheyenne name meaning little one."
This is an original design. The mask is done on a bottle gourd grown in my yard. A variety of medium was used including Memories dye inks, Jo Sonja paint & Generation Green shimmer & powder metallic's for accents. The mouth is embellished with a silver button & one eye inlaid with a pewter bead. The feathers include colorful peacock feathers & the colors are carried over into the face.

Signed & dated by the artist (2010).

Finished mask measures 17 h x 15 w

SOLD

Ayasha with face sketched and feathers laid out.

 

Ayasha face is painted and ready for feathers. Ayasha mask finished with bright, colorful feathers and beads.