Myrna Grigsby

When we at Orbital Holding Systems heard about the gourd society, we were not sure what to make of it. What would one do with gourds? Sure we had seen the arrangements on dinner tables with fall leaves but carving, painting, wood burning?

Myrna Grigsby patiently assured us that we had confused gourds with squash as many do, evidently. Well, we saw what was meant by "gourds" and what amazing things could be done with them. There are tens of thousands of gourd artists across the country and some of the carving, pyrography, and coloration is quite astounding. To see what artistic ability, style, boundless imagination, and tons of skill can do, check out the gourd society links below.

Myrna Grigsby is a past president of the Washington State Gourd Society and a past director of the American Gourd Society. She invited us to her studio to see her work, (both noun and verb). Some of it is featured on the Orbital video here on the web site. Here is what Myrna had to say in a recent message to fellow gourders:

"My husband recently purchased a new fun "gadget" for me. It is called an Orbital [Holding System]. This thing tilts, swivels, binds every which way and is used for gourds (although you could use it for a number of things). I have rheumatoid arthritis and it was getting harder for me to hang onto a gourd while I cleaned it and burned and carved on it. The inventors demonstrated for me, my husband and another gourd artist, Dynva Todd (Vice-President of The Washington State Gourd Society), how this thing worked. With some apprehension, one of my beautiful, finished gourds was placed in the Orbital and we turned, swiveled, cleaned with a ball attached to a drill and within seconds we all knew this was going to be a winner in the gourd world. It totally frees both of your hands to do what you need to do and there wasn't a mark on my gourd anywhere! We placed a couple of different sized gourds in the Orbital from a very large one to a very small, thin shelled one and they both fit beautifully. I have to say, this little gizmo is not cheap, however, I have only owned it for a week or so and I have found it to be under priced! As President of The Washington State Gourd Society, Director for The American Gourd Society and member of the Idaho Gourd Society and an artist...I 110% recommend the Orbital and you will know that it is an investment that you will use for many, many years to come!"

Myrna uses the Grip-All Jaws Orbital to hold gourds while using a drill-driven abrasive ball. She is doing this in the video. What you don't see is that she really bears down and hogs away the waste material from the inside. The gourd is held tight enough that she can use both hands on the drill.

It's fascinating to watch her perform the pyrography work on the outside. The dried gourds are like wood and Myrna uses a fine pen to draw intricate designs and motifs.

Myrna often adds beads and metals to the finished gourds. Some gourds are finished with lacquer or varnish and some are not. Some are lined and some are not. You can see a table filled with her work in the Orbital video.

We are grateful to Myrna for enlightening us as to the art and beauty that can come from the humble calabash. Try doing THAT with a squash!