GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — A local woman who has always been involved in the arts and crafts world, ventured into a unique state of crafting.
Nancy Vanco, of Gallipolis, Ohio, has been decorating gourds into various items since 2010. Having been around the arts and crafts world her whole life as her mother annually set up a booth at the Bobs Evans Farm Festival, Vanco naturally progressed into this world, making her own creations.
For awhile, Vanco was making jewelry to sell at the Bob Evans Farm Festival, but then wanted to turn in a direction of crafting that no one else had taken in the area. Vanco always had access to gourds, raising them on her farm, and so decided to start decorating them, turning them into different items for sale.
In her “Simply Gourdeous” line, she makes pieces such Christmas ornaments, vases, sitting pieces, lamps, and sculptures out of gourds. These items have different designs and emblems burnt into them, making them suitable for any individual’s taste.
Vanco’s items are available at the The Artisan Shoppe & Studio in Gallipolis, on Facebook, and at the annual Bob Evans Farm Festival held each year in October in Rio Grande, Ohio.
All of the gourds Vanco creates with come from her own farm. Each creation can range from a time of 20 minutes to make to 30-40 hours. To begin her process with each gourd, first she cleans the gourd, then she wood burns it and dyes it. After this initial base is reached, she then draws the design she is going to wood burn onto the gourd. When choosing a design, Vanco explained she has to consider which design will best fit on the specific gourd. After she decides on the right design for the gourd, she then carves the design onto the gourd, and seals it for protection.
Vanco commented creating with gourds is similar to doing wood burning projects, similar tools can even be used.
Other than making creations with gourds, Vanco also dabbles in other artisan activities such as drawing, doing ceramics, and making jewelry to name a few. She even studied art for her undergraduate studies at the University of Rio Grande. For future plans, Vanco plans on attending the Ohio Gourd Show to showcase her “Simply Gourdeous” line.
Along with maintaining her “Simply Gourdeous” business, Vanco is also a speech language pathologist for Gallipolis City Schools.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.