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.


  1. I love your turtles! I’m just getting started in the art of gourds, would you tell me what you use to mold the feet, etc and how you adhere it to the gourd? Thank you in advance.

    1. I would love to know also I paint turtles and apsaluty love your little jewels!! They're fantastic!!!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post and found it to be useful and to the point. Thank you for not rambling on and on just to fill the page.

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  3. We’re do you get your seeds I live in Massachusetts. I can’t find any seeds except birdhouse size . I’d love to find some seeds for smaller gourds. If you know someone I’d love to know we’re I can get some seeds. Thank-You