Volcano Art Center Featured Artists

Rachel Hope Sarasohn

Transplanted to Hawai`i in 1989, Rachel established a palm frond basket business, selling baskets at art galleries and craft shows until…a friend handed her a gourd. A completely new world, with almost unlimited possibilities for design and color, unfolded…and Rachel was hooked.
With a love of gourds bordering on obsession, she mastered techniques which allow the natural markings and patterns of the gourd to shine past the wood-burned and painted images. As a member of The California Gourd Society, Rachel constantly pursues her quest to broaden her styles and techniques.
She now divides her time between California and Hawai`i, with piles of gourds in both homes, and travels between the two with her tools packed in an ice chest.
The process of opening the gourd with a jig saw, cleaning the inside, soaking the gourd in water for several days, then scraping out the pulp, followed by extensive finish work on the outside, amounts to a third to a half of the total time spent on each gourd.
Rachel first draws a design on a prepared gourd and wood-burns it with a fine-tipped burner. She applies the background color and then does the final painting, using long-lasting leather dyes. Next, she polishes the gourd using a method she does not readily share. Finally she dyes the inside and allows it to dry. A typical ‘hula’ gourd takes a minimum of four days from the design stage.
Please do not place your gourd where it will receive direct sun as the colors may fade. To restore the luster, polish with a soft cloth.