Monday, February 3, 2014

The Turtle Gourd

The very first gourd turtle I ever made was in August of 2007. It started with my grandmother, Yvonne Spinks, showing me a strange lumpy gourd she didn't know what to do with. It's called a Maranka, or caveman, gourd. A challenge, eh? Well alright...

My first thought - Turtle! It worked so well that once I made one I kept making more. The turtle fascination started with large folksy turtles, then to miniatures, all categorized by species. As I created more and more (currently over 200 individual  handmade turtles) I started to make fully textured and life-like turtles too! These "hyper-real" turtles are what I mainly create nowadays along with miniatures.

Contact me via email at if you're interested in any of the turtles on my website or you want a custom made creation. My main shop that displays everything I have available is linked here (powered by Square):

I also sell a few on Etsy:


The size of a turtle gourd depends on the gourd itself. Standard maranka gourds are quite large, and rarely grow small, so to create miniatures I use heirloom "Virginia spinner" gourds. Their dimensions are rarely over 3 inches. I usually make miniatures in sets and miniatures go by their own code numbers. *Example, a miniature of Turtle #1 will be M1-1, M1-2, M1-3, etc.* Numbers are labeled by species type.


Progress photos:

 A standard detailed turtle sculpted and ready to paint.

 A hyper-realistic turtle sculpted and ready to paint.

A collection of miniature turtles sculpted.