At Gourdlandia, Graham and Otto Ottoson gladly share their passion for the most versatile vegetable.
Inside a simple cabin-like building, Graham Ottoson, a midwife-turned-artist, creates art from gourds. The self-proclaimed “Gourd Lady” began by making gourd lamps. Her passion only grew, leading her to open Gourdlania. Now, visitors can stroll through the gourd trellis, see “pepos” (tiny fuzzy baby gourds), and learn about the art and science of gourd cultivation.
Though anyone may stop by to appreciate Gourdlandia’s wealth of gourd art, workshops are also available for those who wish to learn the craft for themselves. Otto explains how to cure and wash gourds. Graham instructs participants on the finer points of gourd carving, using her gourd-carving tools and tiny gourd jigsaw. Those seeking inspiration can peruse her vast body of work, which includes gourd marionettes, gourd masks, gourd bugles, and of course, gourd lamps.
Since the Ottosons began their love affair with gourds, Gourdlandia has quickly become one of Ithaca’s most beloved, wholesome art centers. Ask about the current gourd experiment—there is always something new in the works. Be sure to visit the restroom and check out the gourd toilet paper hanger.
Know Before You Go
Best to call ahead to be sure it's open: (607) 277-0589. Gourdlandia is located at EcoVillage at Ithaca, a cohousing community of some renown. Information about tours of EcoVillage can be found on the EcoVillage website.