March Gourd Madness expands, offers classes

Published 4:03 pm Thursday, February 22, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

What started as a festival highlighting a unique art form in the small office of the Chilton County Arts Council has expanded into a two-day March Gourd Madness event in the spacious Conference and Performing Arts Center on March 23-24.

This free event will feature demonstrations, vendors of gourds, gourd art and gourd art supplies.

Organizer Mack Gothard said several classes will be offered in various forms of gourd art techniques, many of which will be taught by well-known gourd artists. Fees vary depending on the class.

“This year, I have been going and getting teachers from out of the county that are well known for their classes,” Gothard said.

As president of the Alabama Gourd Society, Gothard has met gourd artists from several states. Some of them will be from New Hampshire, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Kentucky will be attending the event as suppliers and teachers.

The classes have created a wave of early registrations from around the region and beyond.

“My main purpose is to get Central Alabama and South Alabama,” Gothard said.

Gothard said someone from New York has already signed up for a class.

Space in each class is limited, so early registration is encouraged. Class topics will include creating animals from gourds, a class for beginners, carving gourds, coloring gourds and turning gourds into vases. A complete list of classes is available at

Gothard said he is especially excited to have Georgia Gourd Society President Troy Tatum teaching a new technique for putting a natural luffa sponge inside a gourd to create a design.

“It’s a brand-new technique. This is the first class,” Gothard said.

The luffa is actually a gourd.

Gothard said carving was the most difficult technique

Classes will be offered noon to 4 p.m. on March 23 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 24.

To register for the event contact, Gothard at or 205-245-9441.

Other traditional art demonstrations, such as broom making and pine needle weaving, will presented.

“My goal is to bring the old traditional arts back into focus and have classes where you can learn,” Gothard said.

He said he wants to be a part of keeping the traditional arts alive.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts, The National Endowment of the Arts and city of Clanton are also sponsoring the event.