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The Unique Beauty of Handcrafted Gourd Art

Meet Deborah Wilkinson, modern gourd artist, to learn about what inspires her art.

Born, raised and living in Virginia, Deborah Wilkinson is a citizen of the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, based in King William County, Virginia. She describes herself as a Native American artist crafting modern gourd art integrated with Eastern Woodlands culture. Gourd crafting is something she does to stay spiritually connected to her roots. Deborah is a self-taught artist who discovered a passion for gourd art after attending a local intertribal cultural class in 2018. She uses different techniques, including wood burning, carving, painting and embellishments when crafting a gourd.

All gourds are unique creations as she works to capture the individual spirit of the objects of her inspiration. Her tribal culture and love of nature are frequently incorporated into the elements of design.

Deborah’s newest gourd designs, featuring sunflowers, dragonflies, geometric motifs and more, are presented in the “Unique and Handmade” area of the main museum shop at Jamestown Settlement.