When we say “We believe every product has a story,” we mean each product has an origin and a process. It didn’t just *poof* appear on our shelves as today’s hyper-paced digital world can easily lead us to think. There’s no drone delivery service and no high-tech robots etching in designs. The story of a gourd ornament begins with human hands, waxing, dying, sketching, carving, torching, and then adding delicate touches to create beautiful gifts that celebrate the traditions of their people. To us this is something very special, and what’s even more special is knowing that someone will walk into one of our stores, and pick out a gourd with their hands and bring it home or give it to someone to enjoy in their home.
We have been carrying gourd products from Lucuma Designs for many years. They work with talented gourd artisans in the Andean mountains of Peru. According to one carver, the art of gourd carving in his community began over 200 years ago when people from the Andean mountains would go down to the jungle to trade. They learned the craft from artists there, where gourds grew in abundance and had many purposes. It’s a joy to open every batch of gourd ornaments we receive from Lucuma. Every gourd has it’s own unique shape, some are tall and bulbous while others are squat and round, and carved with such amazing detail.
Fun Facts About Gourds:
- Gourd carvers in Peru traditionally used gourds to record family histories, celebrations, myths, rituals, and special events like weddings.
- Native people on all continents (except Antartica) use gourds in many ways including food and water storage.
- Recently, an archaeologist found a gourd and dated it over 4,000 years old. It was carve with the figure of a deity.
Today, Lucuma Designs works with three generations of gourd carvers with a fourth generation growing up right now. Their fair trade relationship has grown over the years, allowing them to have a stable income and use extra funds to create an after-school program for the children in their small village. Here, the children get a healthy meal, get help with homework and even have a Christmas party!