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Thanksgiving (Decorative Gourd Season)


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It’s Thanksgiving south of the border, and while we Canadians filled up on turkey and gratitude last month, there are too few opportunities in life to celebrate. So, Happy Thanksgiving to our American customers and friends. Since we are firmly in the heart of decorative gourd season (my friends), enjoy this gorgeous Set of Four Gourds by Johann Weinmann. Though, while it’s four artworks, the gourds themselves actually number 17, which is a decent number of gourds. That’s over four times the advertised number of gourds. Bargain. Bonus gourds.

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Weinmann was a German botanist and apothecary The prints were created in 1737 using mezzotint engraving, a process that made graduated gradiations of tones, shading and colors possible, in contrast to previous methods which did not allow for much subtlety. To create the effect, a printmaker used a tool to roughen the surface of a copper plate, smoothing certain areas and roughening others, depending on the desired density of ink in any given area of the design. The prints were finished by hand-coloring. More about the gourds, from the seller, Shapero Rare Books:

Set of 4 double-page mezzotint engravings, printed in colour and finished by hand. Framed and glazed 51 x 59 cm. An attractive collection of fine plates, being one of the earliest examples of colour printing. Weinmann (1683-1741) was a Regensburg apothecary who organized the publication of Phytanthoza Iconographia, a huge florilegium which was not only very beautiful but which also influenced the publication of similar works worldwide. “The mezzotint process used here had been invented by Johann Teyler in the Netherlands around 1688. As practiced here by Bartholomaus Seuter (1678-1754) and Johann Elias Ridinger (1698-1767), it was really a combination of etching and mezzotint, which made possible delicate lines and a very fine grain. The addition of hand-tinting brought about unusual and subtle effects” (Hunt)

And in case you’re interested in some gourd art of your own – but using actual gourds – here is Gourd Art Basics by C. Angela Mohr to start you on your journey to a cornucopia.

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