Judging Committee and Competition Chair 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 2019 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.


Highlights of the Competition changes for 2019

  • Entry fees will increase for 2019 due to rising costs for the festival and competition.
  • In 2019, the Youth Division will be allowed to enter up to two entries for their class.  This is to encourage them to further develop their skills.
  • The following Classes are deleted for the 2019 Competition.  For any class that is deleted, a person is encouraged to enter the "My Way!" Class for any entry made with these techniques or themes. -
    • Beading -  Novice & Intermediate
    • Carved -  Novice & Intermediate
    • Gourd Doll/Spirit Figure -  Novice & Intermediate
    • Gourds in Motion - Intermediate, Advanced and Masters
    • Wall Hanging/Mask -  Novice & Intermediate
    • Pen & Ink - Advanced
    • Carved and Cut - Intermediate
    • American South-West Design - Intermediate
  • The following additional Classes have been added for the 2019 Competition 
    • Miniature - Novice, Intermediate, Advanced & Masters
    • Table, Desk or Other Lamp – Masters (were in Intermediate and Advanced in 2018)
    • The Challenge Class for 2019 is Sculpture.
    • The 2019 Theme is Creatures of Land and Sea.

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" - Verbal for ALL CLASSES, except for the manipulated gourds in the Growers Category.  At the disgression of the judges, or to break a tie, the Scoring Option may be changed to Option “B” – Simplified.  For additional information on AGS rules, see www.americangourdsociety.org/judging.htmlJudging for the manipulated gourds in the Growers Category will be according to AGS Jim Story Award.


2.     Judging Points


·        Category 1: Dried Gourds/Growers, except Classes 9 and 10


50% Cultural Perfection: mature, clean, and free of imperfections, such as bug scars, etc.


50% True to Type: represents the ideal shape and size of its type name




·        Category 1: Dried Gourds/Growers, Classes 9 and 10


Will be judged according to the American Gourd Society (AGS) Jim Story Award.  Information available at www.americangourdsociety.org/JimStory_judging.html






·        Category 2: Crafted Gourds and Category 3: Other, Class 99 and 100


45% Workmanship:  skill, technique and attention to detail


45% Creativity:  originality and impact of design; use of color and line; enhancement of gourds natural beauty and shape.


10% Gourd Quality:  gourd variety, size, shape and structure “fit” well with the overall design used. (A note may be included with the entry for a gourd where a major blemish or flaw is incorporated in the design or presentation of the gourd.






·        Category 3: Other, Class 98


50% Workmanship:  skill, technique and attention to detail


50% Creativity:  originality and impact of design; use of color and line




3. SMGS Class Description Requirements


4. SMGS Gourd Terms and Definitions






Awards and Honors





Entries in each class of competition may be awarded:






·        1st place Blue Ribbon


·        2nd place Red Ribbon


·        3rd place White Ribbon






In addition, in the Youth Division, a green participation ribbon is given to those who did not place in the top three.






Special Ribbons are given for:






·        BEST OF SHOW — Chosen by the team of judges. (Winner will be given a booth at the 2020 SMGS Festival and in the future will move to the Master Craftsman Division in the Competition).  The winner of the Best of Show is then eligible to enter into the American Gourd Society (AGS) Gourd Artist of the Year competition.    


·        SMGS PRESIDENTS AWARD — Chosen by the SMGS President.


·        SHOW VICE-PRESIDENT’S AWARD Chosen by the SMGS Vice-President.


·        PEOPLES CHOICE Chosen by the public voting for their favorite gourd in the show.  The People’s Choice winner is then eligible to enter into the AGS Gourd Artist of the Year competition.    


·        MAYORS AWARD Chosen by the Mayor of Springfield, or the Mayor’s representative.


·        ARTISTIC RECOGNITION (5 awards), one in each Crafted Gourd Division - Youth, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Masters — Chosen by the judging team.  These awards are selected by the judging team to recognize an individual’s entry that is outstanding.  The recognition can be for originality, new or different technique or other characteristic of the entry.  It is NOT a requirement for the entry to have won a blue ribbon in the class.




One year SMGS membership will be given to:






·        BEST GROWER VENDOR BOOTH   — Chosen by judges and clerks.


·        BEST SUPPLY VENDOR BOOTH  — Chosen by judges and clerks.


·        BEST ART/CRAFT VENDOR BOOTH   — Chosen by judges and clerks.




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 the festival and competition. 





Helpful Suggestions - We want every participant to have the best experience possible.  In order for that to happen you should pay close attention to the following.




·         Please read all the competition information when preparing entries to make certain to follow the rules. 


·         The description and requirements of the competition Class, 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.


·         Class descriptions, make sure your entry fits and qualifies for the Class in which you plan to place the entry. 


·         SMGS Gourd Terms and Definitions. (Posted on the SMGS website – www.showmegourdsociety.com).


·         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), 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, materials or artists, be sure to include it with your entry.


·         Judges are primarily looking for these things when they judge a gourd:


o    Does it “fit” the class description and requirements?


o    Does the workmanship show skill and attention to detail?


o    Does the entry show creativity and originality?


o    Does the technique used and the design that is executed “fit “and enhance the natural beauty of the gourd?


o    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.