Holy Branch Gourds

Holy Branch Gourds is a family-owned business started in 1985. Folk art gourds, artisan soap, and hand-turned wooden bowls are sold year-round. Seasonal items include: vegetables produced without the use of herbicides or pesticides, herbs, cut flowers, and BBQ dry rubs for chicken, pork and seafood. Breads (zucchini and pumpkin) are fresh baked (Ky Health Service Permit # 72466).

We sell at the Heart of St. Matthews Farmers’ Market, at Beargrass Christian Church, 4100 Shelbyville, Rd., in Louisville (Mid-May through September) on Saturdays, and direct to custormers through our website.

The business started when Bonnie Lander began taking the gourds from her garden and turning them into works of art.

"I like the three-dimensional effect of painting on gourds,’’ said Lander, 57. "The type of detailed painting I do lends itself to gourds, and miniature folk art paintings." Each gourd is unique, depicting rural life in early America, whimsical and primitive. There are no tractors, automobiles or modern machinery on her gourds.

You have to hold one of these gourds in your hands to fully appreciate the detail, and three-dimensional qualities. As you turn the gourd, a new scene appears. All of her work is signed. She was one of 45 Kentucky artists profiled in Phyllis George’s 1989 book, Kentucky Crafts, Handmade and Heartfelt, which was published by Crown Publishers, Inc., in New York.

Bonnie’s work is coveted by collectors in Europe, Japan and the U.S, and was sold at the Southern Crossroads Marketplace during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, and in 1997 at the Smithsonian’s Festival of American Folk Life in Washington, D.C. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Owensboro, Ky., Museum of Art.

Private collectors who own her work include Maria Shriver and Lauren Bacall.

Gourds are natural products, allowed to mature in full sun in the garden. She grows ornamental gourds, and lagenaria, the so-called hardshell gourds.

After the gourds are air dried (for at least a year), they are sanded, painted with acrylics or watercolors. The images are lightfast (resist fading), and permanent. The price of her work is based on the size and style of the gourd.

“That I can combine my love of gardening with painting has kept me busy with gourds all these years,” said Lander. “And now that my oldest daughter Laura is designing gourds, our family business has been revitalized.”


Listing last updated on Nov 24, 2008

Holy Branch Gourds is a family business. We sell at Farmers' Markets and local Art & Craft Fairs. Seasonal items include: folk art gourds, artisan soap, wooden bowls and vegetables produced without the use of herbicides or pesticides, herbs, cut flowers, and BBQ dry rubs for chicken, pork and seafood. Folk art hanger gourd ornaments depict rural activities in spring, summer, fall and winter, and herbs, flowers, and animals. Ornaments range in price from $16 to $38.

Schedule and Location:

Saturdays, Heart of St. Matthews, 4100 Shelbyville Rd., in suburban Louisville, Ky, 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

Latest Reviews

I met this artist at our local Farmers Market and was blown away by her work. Absolutely amazing detail -- and nice lady, too!

We bought several Christmas-themed gourds and a few Halloween gourds to give out as gifts.... [more]

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