Gourds and Higueras

What is an Higuera?

The higuera tree of Puerto Rico bears a hard shelled fruit which has been crafted into vessels, musical instruments and ceremonial objects for centuries. Their pulp holds moisture and the large versions can weigh as much as 15 pounds when mature. Once fully dried, which can take up to 6 months, the shell is extremely durable. Gourd vessels have been discovered dating back 10,000 years. Andrea's innovative use of these underrated art forms earned her the title Artesana de Higueras, allowing her to participate in premier events throughout the island.















higuera hunting
"With limited space on 33-foot Ruff Life, I stored festival equipment, gourds, my sewing machine and whatever else didn't fit at the bright coral home of generous friends in Parguera. After a hard day of higuera-hunting with Czar, their flat rooftop was perfect for unloading and drying when the flybridge got too full. Bless them, their roof was loaded with maturing, gooey higueras in all stages of drying. A rickety ladder was carefully negotiated to inspect, turn or select them, and occasionally a neighbor would return small dried ones which tropical breezes propelled like cannonballs into their yard. Gourd art is terribly underrated."
gourd bud vase
taino dancers
"You never knew who or what you were going to see at an art show. Organizers check out the artists and convey invations to their events on the spot, all the more reason to go to as many shows as possible. Plaza las Americas, the largest mall on the island, held two week-long fairs each year; twelve hour days, buy at least it was air conditioned. Many times I baked outdoors, or was frantically covering, hiding or wiping pieces soaked from unexpected tropical bursts. Even so, can't beat the views." (Click on photo, far right.)


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