Claire Cassan I was born and raised in south of France and graduated from the National Engineering School of Geology of Nancy. I had the opportunity to do two internships in Austin for an American company, and they hired me right after I got my diploma. That's how I ended up living in Houston for 12 happy years, working as a software developper for the oil&gas industry. I came back to south of France in Fall 2011.

During my stay in Texas I met great people and discovered many different crafts. One of them is gourd crafting. I discovered this one during a trip to Hawaii, in a local art exhibit, and as soon as I was back to Houston I googled it. This is how I found the South East Texas Gourd Patch . This is a very active patch, with regular classes and events, and experienced artists always eager to share their techniques. Many of them I consider my friends.

Craftmen and craftwomen of all ages have pushed their skills to the level of true Art. In Japan, craftmen may even be referred to as National Living Treasures. I have always been fascinated by exquisitely crafted items, and humbled in front of the patience, dexterity and knowledge that they demonstrate.

My personal drive in craft is the learning experience. I have a large collection of craft books that keeps growing and I tend to mix different crafts on my gourds: Kumihimo braiding, Japanese lacquer, weaving, eggshell inlay. I also enjoy teaching and gave classes at the annual TGS Gourd Show and in our patch.

My work is largely influenced by my love for the Japanese culture. Another strong influence is my best friend Clara Willibey, who always pushes me to do more! She had me enter the competition at a Lonestar gourd show, and I was rewarded with 2 ribbons, blue and red. And another blue ribbon later for my trademark two-tones lacquer finish.

I'm lucky to have great family and friends who encourage me, and a loving life partner who doesn't complain too much when I leave tools and dust all over the house.

I maintain several Free Tutorials and a list of my books and suppliers. I have also gathered several of my favorite recipes for you to try.

My Favorite Links