2019 Competition Rules and Basic Information

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  1. The theme for the 2019 SMGS Festival is “Creatures of Land and Sea”.
  2. Any gardener can enter their gourds in Category 1 - Dried Gourds/Growers.  Any crafter/artist can enter their work in Category 2 - Crafted Gourd.  Anyone can enter Category 3 - Other for “Gourds in other Media” and the Challenge Classes.  A group of individuals may enter the Collaborative Class in Category 3 – Other (an individual is limited to participation in one collaborative project).
  3. Membership in a gourd society is not required but is encouraged.
  4. This year there are 100 different classes of competition.  There are 10 classes of competition for dried gourds and 89 classes of competition for crafted gourds. There is even a “Gourds in other Media” class that can be any kind of art/ craft where the subject is a gourd but there is no gourd involved in the actual piece.  There is something for everyone!
  5. Participants are allowed one entry per class, except for the YOUTH Division.  In order to encourage youth to further develop skills, they will be allowed up to two entries for their Class.
  6. All crafted entries in Category 2: Crafted Gourds must be entered in the same Division.
  7. All Category 1: Growers entries must be grown by the person entering them.
  8. All Category 2: Crafted Gourds and Category 3: Other Entries must be the exhibitor’s own work.
  9. An entry that has been entered in a previous SMGS competition will not be allowed.
  10. This is a family event and therefore any entry that is deemed offensive or inappropriate for children to view will be removed from the competition.
  11. The entry form is included on-line at www.showmegourdsociety.com.
  12. Once again there will be an entry fee for those who are entering the competition.  This information is included on the Registration Form. This fee helps cover the cost of ribbons and printing supplies for the competition. 
  13. Exhibitor packets with entry tags will be available at the door when exhibitors arrive with their entries (for those exhibitors who have preregistered).  Preregistration is extremely helpful to the set-up team as they prepare the competition tables to ensure that there is adequate room to properly display your crafted gourd(s).

    In order to expedite check-in, competitors may preprint labels no larger than 3-1/2” wide x 1-1/2” high with the following information: 

City, State Zip Code
Phone Number

These labels can then be attached to the entry tags at the festival when checking in.

  1. Please read carefully the descriptions of each competition Category and Division (Youth, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master Craftsman Divisions) and Class.  Be sure that you are entering in the proper Category, Division and Class. The judges reserve the right to reassign your entry to a different Class or different Division if necessary.
  2. Please read carefully the descriptions and requirements of each Class of Competition that you plan to enter. The section on “Gourd Terms and Definitions” on the SMGS website will be helpful in clarifying questions you may have.  If your entry does not fit the requirements as specified in each Category, Division and Class of competition, it may be disqualified.  If the competition Class description asks for a listing, such as techniques, materials or other specific information, be sure the required information is included on the back of the gourd entry tag when you enter your gourd in the show.  Missing information may be cause for disqualification. In addition, it is the responsibility of the artist entering to note any special characteristics, unusual or irregular technique that may affect the judging of a specific entry.  Space will be provided on the back of the entry 
  3. If you have questions, you may contact the Competition Chair, Nancy Amburgey, at amburgey21@centurytel.net.
  4. Competition entries will be accepted for placement in the show on Friday, April 5, 2019 between 1:00 and 5:00 pm. An exception will be made for ONLY the FRIDAY AFTERNOON students and teachers - Their entries will also be accepted for placement between 12:00pm and 5:00pm on Friday.
  5. There will be a receiving table for the entries as they come in. Judging team volunteers will place the entries on the competition tables.  If a judge sees that an entry is entered in the wrong Class the judge may move it to the correct Class. Entrants are not allowed to move their entries after they have been placed.
  6. The competition display table area will be closed to the public (and exhibitors) during the placement and until after the judging is completed.
  7. Judging will take place on Friday, April 5 beginning at 5:30.  Judges’ decisions are final.
  8. Awards will be given to the top three entries in each class.  At the judges’ discretion, fewer awards may be issued. If there is only one entry in the class, it does not necessarily guarantee a blue placement.
  9. The judged gourd art show will be open to the public on Saturday, April 6 from 9:00 am 5:30 pm and on Sunday, April 7 from 10:00 am 3:00 pm.
  10. Exhibitors may place their business cards by their entries on Saturday at 9:00 am when the show opens to the public.
  11. Photography will be allowed at this competition.  By entering the 2019 SMGS Gourd Art Festival, you are agreeing that your work may be photographed.
  12. The Show-Me Gourd Society will provide reasonable security during the festival but assumes no responsibility for damage to or theft of items.
  13. All entries must remain in place until the show is closed at 3:00 pm on Sunday, April 7. Failure to abide by this rule may result in not being allowed to enter in the next year's competition.
  14. Gourds not claimed on Sunday, April 7 by 4:00 pm become the property of the Show-Me Gourd Society, unless prior arrangements have been made.
  15. Lichtenberg (fractal) and Laser work on Gourds will not be accepted into the SMGS Competition at this time.
  16. Any intellectual infringement(s) including copyright, trademarks or licensing rights are NOT allowed unless written approval by the intellectual owner is included with the entry.  This includes logos, lyrics, slogans, etc.  Entries that violate this rule will be disqualified and will not be judged and will be removed from the show.
  17. Gourd bases/stands are permitted, but are not mandatory.  The base should be complementary to the gourd art and of stable construction.  Electrical outlets are not available for revolving stands - thus it should be battery operated. The base will not be considered in the judging unless permanently attached or a note is included with the entry to include the base with the judging.
  18. Gourds may be purchased for crafting and should be of good quality.
  19. If the gourd is cut (opened), it must be cleaned and finished on the inside as well as on the outside.  If there is a stem, it must be cleaned, and may be finished.
  20. In the Crafted and Other Categories either whole or cut (opened) gourds shall be allowed unless if otherwise stated in the Class description.
  21. The past only allowed for natural accessories for any embellishments.  We do realize that there are a great number of new artificially made products that can be used that will not detract from the natural beauty of gourd art if used appropriately.  Acrylic paints, Apoxie-Sculpt, Quick wood, plastic armatures to allow moving parts (if not visible), etc. While this rule is being loosened to allow less restriction to our artists please keep in mind the spirit of the rule which is to keep the gourd art as natural as possible.  Art that has obvious artificial embellishments will not score as high as those with all natural embellishments.

    A key word in the above statement is obvious.  Unless if a class specifically calls for natural materials, man-made or artificial shall be allowed so long as the "spirit" of keeping the item natural is maintained.  The spirit of the rule is to keep the art looking as natural and “classy” as possible without limiting the artists too much.  In addition, the American Gourd Society Judging Handbook in Section 13 discusses natural materials. 

    An entry with artificial materials shall not be penalized for the man-made material usage unless if there is a tie.  This is to allow for creativity and material selection by artist and not to stifle creativity. 
  1. Naturaaccessorieinclude wood, dried planmaterial,seeds, shells, stones, sand, glass, bone, feathers, wool and small amounts of clay, metal, etc.
  2. Artificial flowers, glitter and Styrofoam are not permitted as embellishments (unless the Competition Class Description states otherwise).
  3. A clear finish, such as wax or varnish is acceptable on all entries, except for the Growers Category.
  4. Limited Embellishments may be used for any class unless if specifically excluded in the Class description.
  5. To encourage those who are new or beginning with gourd art, the Divisions of Youth, Novice and Intermediate may enter a piece from a seminar, class or pattern (including Stick and Burn patterns).  Original work and designs are highly encouraged and may receive a higher rating. 

    For the Advanced and Masters Divisions, individuals MUST enter work of their own design, not from a seminar or class (unless they taught the class) as they have achieved knowledge and skills for these Divisions.   
  6. Make certain all materials (feathers, plant or animal parts) are legal to possess under state and federal statutes.

    Many may not know that it is illegal to collect, buy, sell or to use most native wild bird feathers according to the US North American Migratory Bird Act (MBTA).  (For more information, see https://www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and-regulations/laws- legislations/migratory-bird-treaty-act.php.)

    Exceptions exist for the feathers of legally-hunted gamebirds, and for the use of feathers by Native Americans.  For more information, see the FAQ page (http://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/faq.php). In addition to feathers, each state has lists for endangered  or threatened native species of plants and parts of animals.

    It is the responsibility of the individual to be able to demonstrate


  • Feathers did not come from protected wild birds.
  • Endangered plant materials were not used.
  • Protected animal parts were not used.

It is the intention of the SMGS that all entries are to follow state and federal laws regarding the use of materials in the entries. It is beyond the SMGS to be able to list all regulated items that are illegal to collect or possess. Materials used in the entries shall NOT violate any state or federal laws.