Gourd’s Life

Gourd is known since ancient times. In dried form it was a tool, a pot, a musical instrument. Throughout the centuries, it continues to exist with fewer uses than before. Africa , Central Asia , southern Europe , central and northern parts of South America , all cultures have seen and continue to observe this annual plant which belongs to the family of Curcubitae, originated from Legenaria and Curcubita, the same family with edible gourds.

The species that interested me most was the Lagenaria Siceraria the Calabash (pumpkin container). Its origin is from Africa and was spread throughout the world in the passage of time with the constant movement and migration of civilizations. It may be the oldest cultivated home plant on our planet, due to its multiple ways of use. In Peru it was used for recording events and in many other countries of Latin America. The top part of the Gourd (Brazilian Cuia) is used as a container for the drink Yerba (companion) which is prepared from the homonymous plant mixed with cold water, both in northeast Argentina and west Brazil.

In Paraguay, it is made with hot water (not boiled) and it is called ka’ay or Chimarrao (Brazil). Furthermore, in Brazil, among other musical instruments used in Capoeira (Brazilian martial art with dance elements, acrobatics and music), there is the stringed percussion named Berimbou, whose speaker is made out of gourd, adapted onto a wooden bow. Each and every single point of a dried gourd can be converted into artwork with the proper preparation and techniques. Gourd lamps are created from any of its parts.

The shape and the inner hollow form embrace the light bulb or even a set of bulbs, that reflect light amplifying it, just like music coming out of a speaker. The sculpting of the shell plays a double role, both to fill the space with the reflections of the outgoing hues of light in order to set the desired atmosphere, and remain an interesting sculpture during daytime, not requiring its inner light to emerge. Eventually, the light having absorbed the flavors of Yerba, the musical tones, intensity and rhythm of Berimbou, it touches all surfaces of the space it is filling, giving it the special feeling, mood and atmosphere that an African Calabash educes. The “U” shape of the factory lamps was chosen for a reason, which is the best performance of space lighting. In the same way, the shape of a gourd lamp captures the rays of light and leads them through its fine decorative holes on its surface, spangling the space with unexpected and stunning hues, reflecting special colors and a unique atmosphere.