Monday, September 14, 2009

Prototype incense burner

The thought process went like this...

On one of the email groups I'm on, for my local SCA chapter, they're talking about Halloween and carving jack-o-lanterns as a contest. Except, since pumpkins are new world items and the SCA tries to recreate the life and times of Medieval Europe, they're talking about 'gourd' carving. Well, one of the ladies asked if she could bring an actual dried gourd to work with.

That sparked my interest. So I went bopping around the internet, looking for information on gourd lanterns. I found this page: , which has some incredible work! I want to try that. It looks simply like poking holes in the gourd, like the tin punch I used to do awhile ago. (Wouldn't that be cute with light bright pegs?)

Then when I was in the shower this morning--don't all the great ideas come to you in the shower?--I decided that the same technique might work great to create an incense holder. Since gourds are flammable, you'd have to place a dish inside to hold the cone incense. Hmmmm...

I popped out to the shed, and grabbed a small gourd. (Ok, I got dressed first.) I wrapped it in a wet towel to prep, then ran out to my local Asian supermarket to pick up a couple of the little dishes that are used for mixing sauces for sushi. Back home, I set to work.

Three or four hours later (not counting time in and around sick kids, sick husband, cooking, grocery shopping, etc), this is what I came up with:

The walls of this particular gourd are on the thin side, so this one is not for sale. But as a prototype, it is working really well. It is currently living on top of the piano in my bedroom, making the whole room smell absolutely lovely. I'm going to burn several cones over the next while, to make sure everything is in order. Then I think it will be time to make some more of these!


  1. Thanks, folks! It was fun to take an idea and run with it...and have it turn out. :)

  2. Hi Melissa,
    fantastic gourd incense.:) Great job!
    I know that gourds are amazing items, maybe we can change ideas too, as you get inspired of my website :)

  3. Oh wow! Hello, Serka. Yes, I found your website when I was searching for information on gourd lamps. Your work is incredible!

    I am here in the US southwest desert, so I combined the inspiration I found in your work with the feel of the landscape and artwork of this area. The results look like this: . I used leather dye and wood burning to embellish the gourd before drilling the holes.

    Thank you so much for dropping by!

  4. Hi Melissa,
    Your gourd lamp on etsy is wonderful! I do love it, the colour is fantastic too. It is always a good feeling to create something new, creating is an artistic and at the same time recreational activity... Enjoy the creating.:)