As the evenings begin to darken and the leaves begin to lose their lusciousness, so the onset of fall is upon us. Taking fall as an inspiration for home décor is a great way of embracing the coming season. And there is no need to keep the image of sweeping leaves from your driveway at the fore front of your mind. Fall has plenty of natural bounty that will add a seasonal splash and enliven your dining room. Using a gourd as a new centerpiece for your dining table is a novel way of brightening a dinner party table in the coming months.
What is a Gourd?
A gourd is a fruit with a hard rind that has been used for thousands of years for ornamentation and even making musical instruments. Squashes, pumpkins, melons and luffas are all gourds. Some are edible, but the tough outer skin is not. The rind of a gourd can be carved. It is thought that gourds were among the first crops harvested by early man.
Selecting the Right Gourd.
Making the right choice of gourd depends largely on your personal taste. The first thing to consider is the rest of your color scheme. There’s little point selecting a bright orange pumpkin if none of your table coverings will compliment it. If you want to use your gourd again next fall, contemplate using a dried one, but fresh ones work just fine.
Getting the Desired Effect.
A gourd centerpiece will give a dining table a fall-like feel but not if they are swamped by the rest of your furnishings. For a large dining table with lots of guests select two or three similarly sized and shaped gourds and set them at intervals along the table. One large gourd will make the best, and most simple, statement for a smaller table.
Try adding wheat, dried berries or golden leaves to your display. Choose items that will compliment the color of your gourd. Red berries, set next to a green squash, add vibrancy for instance. Place your gourd centerpiece directly on the table or try mounting it in a shallow bowl or a vase. Gourds are as individual as you are, so express yourself and get creative.
Every kid knows that you need a sharp knife and a steady hand to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. Employ the same principles when carving a gourd: use plenty of space and protect your hands. Try zig zag geometric designs. Alternatively, take your inspiration from nature and carve the natural curves of a leaf or a pine kernel to create a pattern. An awl can be a useful tool to have at your disposal to get you started on the tough rind. And if you like the look of your gourd as it is, remember that there is no need to carve it at all. Note that once you pierce the skin of a gourd it will begin to age much more rapidly.
Preserving Your Gourd.
If you want to preserve your gourd and use it on more than one or two occasions, consider spraying it with a clear lacquer. This will give your centerpiece a pleasing glaze. If your gourd is to be left on the table for more than a few days, turn it from time-to-time so that it does not attract mold.
Make a Natural Vase.
An original idea for a gourd dining table centerpiece is to find a butternut squash that will stand up on its own. Once you have located a stable squash cut off the top with a sharp knife and carefully hollow out the interior, being careful not to pierce the rind from the inside. A long handled spoon is ideal to help you do this. Once the squash has a sufficiently large cavity, use it as a vase. Arrange some dried flowers in your natural receptacle for your arrangement.