82nd North Carolina Gourd Arts & Crafts Festival

September 7 – 8, 2024

2024 Instructor Biographies

Alphabetical by last name

James Anspach



Owners, Jim  & Charlene Anspach 

jim.anspach57 at gmail.com

My wife, Charlene, joined the PA Gourd Society about 7 years ago because she wanted to learn more about working with gourds in various ways.  As a new member, I was able to accompany her to a class at an Amish farm where we learned how to weave a basket from gourd instructors Suzi Nonn and Reagan Bitler.   I took an interest in this weaving technique and have been making baskets ever since.  For the last few years I’ve been teaching basket weaving to others. We’ve traveled from PA to Florida, GA, the Carolinas, Ohio and out west teaching at gourd events, private functions and campgrounds along the way while enjoying the RV life with our two loveable Jack Russell Terriers.  My wife creates a variety of things with gourds and likes to add to the business in her own way.  Together, we make a great team.

Cara Bevan

North Carolina

Gourd Art by Cara and Robyn

Cara Bevan Fine Art


carabevan.art.heart at gmail.com

Cara is a self-taught artist from Trinity, NC. She’s been creating art professionally since 2007. Her specialties are realistic acrylic paintings and gourd sculptures of animals. She focuses on details and refined techniques learned through her years of experimenting, combining gourds, wire, and various clays together to create complex creatures. Her work has been in gallery and museum exhibits across the US and sold worldwide online. You can see her work at her website www.carabevan.com

Paulette Disbrow

North Carolina

Hector’s Creek Farm

paulette.disbrow at mindspring.com

I got introduced to gourds by attending the NCGS festival a number of years ago. Later I joined a patch and started learning about crafting and painting gourds. I really liked the preparing stage of crafting. We started growing gourds so I now had access to gourds to experiment with. I have come up with inexpensive and easy ways to do things the most folks dread. Or they buy a gourd already prepared. My theme is to make this fun! After all, it is a fantastic hobby.

Anna Fountain

South Carolina

shopannas at yahoo.com

Anna has a small business degree that is heavy on the accounting side. She has 20 years in Technical Writing, Illustrating, and training in an industrial environment, and moved into the self-employed side of business doing the bookkeeping for her husband. She started designing and creating jewelry as a side job and stepped into gourd art accidently, and was hooked forever. She has been working with gourds for around 16 years and loves it as much or more as the first time she created a bird house and a gourd light. She loves teaching gourd classes and watching her students sometimes take it way beyond where she stopped. It is satisfying to see her designs grow into different things based on the student. She believes heavily in detailed tutorials so students can go back in a year or two and still be able to create what they did in class.

Bonnie Gibson



bonniegibsonart at gmail.com

I am a self-taught artisan. I prefer this term over “artist” because to me it denotes a person who works with items that can be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Since I was a child, I was captivated by working with my hands and creating things. I took art classes in high school, but I always felt more comfortable with 3 dimensional creations instead of the traditional paintings and drawings.

Lately I’ve enjoyed teaching classes and writing instructional articles so others can enjoy the same hobbies I love.

Robyn Goode

North Carolina

Gourd Art by Cara and Robyn

robynrc92 at yahoo.com

Robyn has been doing art for over 30 years and has a background in fine art. She discovered gourds in 2010 when she went looking for a new media to work with.  She has won many ribbons for her work and is a part of the N.C. Society and American Gourd Society. Robyn teaches gourd art at various festivals and events in NC. She sells her gourd art and fine art at various shows and venues. The joy of meeting people and teaching different techniques is one of her favorite things to do.

Deborah Hildinger


Fine Art Gourds


dhildingerart at gmail.com

Deborah Hildinger received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas with a double major in Printmaking and Painting in 1979. Upon graduation, WED Show Production employed her as a finishing artist during the construction of EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World. Before moving to California in 2004, Deborah was administrator of the permanent art collection at Orlando International Airport and responsible for the works of art produced by internationally acclaimed artists. Deborah retired in 2016 from the Santa Maria Public Library where during her tenure she held the positions of Cultural Events Coordinator and Library Artist. Within these positions, she managed the arts programs and galleries for adults and children. In addition, she retired from her position as an adjunct instructor at Allan Hancock College. From 2005 to 2016, Ms. Hildinger taught lecture and studio classes.

Around 2010, Deborah read an article in the newspaper about gourds as a fine art. After researching the field, Deborah chose to move away from two-dimensional to three-dimensional art. For her, working with gourds has an element of surprise that is reminiscent of her involvement with printmaking.  She utilizes an intuitive approach where the key is to let the gourd guide the way to fruition through a variety of materials and techniques.

Deborah is an award-winning artist in her own right within the mediums of printmaking, painting, pastel, digital imagery, and fine crafts. She has exhibited in galleries, museums, and art festivals throughout the United States.

Kristie Hull

South Carolina

junker4lifer at gmail.com

Kristie Hull is the social media manager for the South Carolina Gourd Society and one of the managers for the Cypress Gourd Patch, a local patch held in Sumter, South Carolina. She has been creating for most of her life. She started with gourds in 2009. Since then she has come to love creating with gourds, and being a teacher for others. Kristie loves taking things that you wouldn’t think of and creating fun and funky things with them.

Pam Milat

North Carolina

P-Kay Originals

mspam_gs at yahoo.com

Pam Milat has been designing and weaving baskets for over 19 years.  A native of MO, she retired in NC from her corporate career in 2016 and jumped into sharing and teaching basket weaving.  She is a member of several basket organizations including NCBA and her local Port City Basketmakers guild.  Pam travels to several out-of-state basket conventions/events each year to teach her art as well as teaching at the Leland (NC) Cultural Arts Center.  She has had the honor of having her basketry art selected for 3 Gallery Shows and she also sells her baskets at the Seaglass Monthly Market in Castle Hayne, NC.

Pam teaches multiple techniques of basketry, from plain utilitarian to artistic wonders, catheads to ribs, twills to double walls.  Though they are mainly in reed, she uses color and texture to create their beauty.  She dyes all her reed at her kitchen stove, blending and tweaking to create new rich vibrant colors.

Regina Pena

North Carolina

hawaiiangee at icloud.com

Like most people, during the 2020 pandemic, Regina started taking pyrography classes with Jeanette Egan, a member of Triangle Gourd Patch.  It was through local friends’ advice. Regina started using gourds as a medium for her art and the rest is history.  

Today, Regina has expanded and developed her wood burning skills to include clothing such as western style hats, baseball caps and handbags.  Regina has been a member of the Triangle Gourd Patch since 2022.  She has recently started teaching and enjoys helping her students create beautiful art.

Ana Poma


Peruvian Art

anapoma1974 at icloud.com

In this generation, Ana is the only daughter in the family who continues carving gourd. She learned this art from her mother and grandparents. Her objective is to teach traditional technical diversities.

Teresa Vales

North Carolina

tvales at hotmail.com

Teresa Vales lives in Durham, North Carolina, and is an active member of the Triangle Gourd Patch.  Teresa has a strong interest in making items by hand.  She has been involved with gourd crafting for the past 6 years and enjoys the versatility of techniques that can be done on gourds.  Other crafts she has dabbled in include basket making, pottery, embroidery, dotting mandalas and Zentangle.

Sharon Warren

North Carolina

swarren314159 at yahoo.com

I am a member of Triangle Gourd Patch. Judi Fleming is responsible for getting me started in the gourd hobby, which I have participated in since the 2018 Festival in Raleigh. I enjoy all sorts of crafts.

I have a deep personal love and enjoyment for Halloween as an all-out-fun night I hope for kids. I also want them to remember when they came to my home. I enjoy when someone comments in that way because I go all-out. It is an all-October-thing for me- and never the same each year.