Gourd Collectibles in Muskoka by irene peel



A gourd is a large round fruit with a hard skin. Traditionally a gourd's hard dry skin  served many purposes, being used for bowls, utensils, ladles, rattles and musical instruments by people living in the tropics and North America. It has been a cultivated plant of both the old and new worlds for thousands of years.

Pine Needle Basketry

Pine needle basketry is a coiling technique using the long leaf pine needles of North America. Irene incorporates pine needles from Muskoka and combines the pine needle basketry with the gourd as did indigenous people many generations ago.


Drums and the sounds they make have come to assume significance that varies in nearly every culture they are played. Irene handcrafts drums using a wood frame, buffalo and deer skin. 

Dance Rattles

Dance rattles, or Shakers, were predominantly used in ceremonies by indigenous people; they were a symbol of music, spirituality, dance and medicine in most tribes. Irene creates the rattle from animal hide and lashed to a small wooden staff to hold. They are decorated with feathers, animal fur, and strings of beads.

Dream Catchers

Native Americans believed the night air was filled with good and bad dreams. The dream catcher, when hung, moves freely in the night air catching the dreams as they float by. Good dreams find their way to the hole in the centre where they slide down the feather to the dreamer. Bad dreams get caught in the webbing and perish with the first light of the day.

Rocks & Minerals

Rocks & minerals have many religious and cultural connections to modern and past generations. Gem stones have links with the signs of the Zodiak, and are believed to have magical and healing properties.