Judging Committee Letter

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Dear Gourd Crafters/Artists,


We would like to take this opportunity to thank you in advance for participating in the 2018 SMGS Gourd Art Festival competition. We so appreciate each and every entry to our show. As fellow gourd artists, we understand the hours of work and the time spent developing new ideas that go into each and every piece. It is so exciting each year to look at the hundreds of entries and enjoy the variety of ideas and creative abilities we see.


A change to Category 2 – Crafted gourds has been made for determining whether a person should enter the Novice and Intermediate Divisions. 


The Novice Division is for gourd crafters/artists that are relatively new to gourd crafting and have not won a blue ribbon in the Novice Division.  They may have not sold gourds and have not taught a gourd class for a fee. Once you win five (was one) blue ribbons you MUST move up to the Intermediate Division. It is not necessary to enter the Novice Division if you feel you are working at a higher level.  If you win Best of Show they MUST move up to the Master Craftsman Division. You MUST choose only one Division to enter in the Crafted Gourds Category.


The Intermediate Division is for crafters/artists that understand and use basic techniques.  They may have sold gourds but have not taught a gourd class for a fee. If they have won ten (was five) blue ribbons at the Intermediate Division, they MUST move up to the Advanced Division.  If they have won Best of Show they MUST move up to the Masters Division.  You may enter a higher Division if you feel you are working at the next level.  You MUST choose only one Division to enter in the Crafted Gourds Category.


As judges we take our responsibility seriously and are committed to doing the best job possible.  In judging, we follow:


  1. The American Gourd Society judging handbook rules and suggestions.  Judging will be according to AGS rules, Scoring Option  "C" for ALL CLASSES, except for the manipulated gourds in the Growers Category.  For additional information on AGS rules, see www. http://americangourdsociety.org/judging.html.
  2. Our Class Description Requirements
  3. The Gourd Crafting Terms and Definitions which the SMGS has adopted
  4. Once again there will be an entry fee for those who are entering the competition in the Grower’s, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Master Craftsman divisions.  The cost for preregistered entries will be $2.00 per entry for members of the Show-Me Gourd Society and $3.00 for non-members.  The Youth Division will remain free. This fee helps cover the cost of ribbons and printing supplies for the competition.

Late registration (received after March 19, 2018) and unregistered “walk-in” entries on the day of the show will incur a late fee of $5.00 for each item entered into the show. If an exhibitor that preregistered their entries brings to the show additional entries, each non-preregistered entry will incur a late fee of $5.00.


We want every participant to have the best experience possible.  In order for that to happen you should pay close attention to the following suggestions to help make that happen.

  • Read very carefully the description and requirements of the competition Category and Division in which you plan to enter your work. If entering in the Category 2 - Crafted Gourd, make sure you enter in the correct Division, as you can only enter in only one Division within this Category.  You can, however; also enter the Category 1 - Dried Gourd/Grower’s and the Category 3 - Other.
  • Read very carefully the Class descriptions and make sure your entry fits and qualifies for the Class in which you plan to place the entry.  
  • Read very carefully the Gourd Crafting Terms and Definitions. (Posted on the SMGS website).
  • If a gourd is cut in any way, be sure it is finished on the interior as well as the exterior.  The interior should be sanded smooth and painted or sealed in some manner. If a stem is left on the gourd it must be cleaned also.
  • Be sure the gourd will sit securely on its base for display.
  • Pay close attention to the lines of your design. Are the lines clean and crisp?  If it is a cut design, are the cut edges smooth and clean?
  • Be certain to read the rules regarding use of synthetic (man-made) materials and embellishments.
  • For the sake of informing the viewing public (as well as the judges), submit identify any unusual natural materials or techniques that you have used in your gourd project on the back of the entry tag. If a Class requires a statement of the different techniques, or artists, be sure to include it with your entry.
  • Judges are primarily looking for these things when they judge a gourd: 
    • Does it “fit” the class description and requirements?
    • Does the workmanship show skill and attention to detail? 
    • Does the entry show creativity and originality?
    • Does the technique used and the design that is executed “fit “and enhance the natural beauty of the gourd?
    • What is the quality of the gourd? Does its structure (thickness, shape and/or scars) detract from or add to the overall impact of the finished piece?

If you have any questions, contact the Competition Chair:  Nancy Amburgey - amburgey21@centurytel.net, please include  SMGS Competition in the Subject Line.