There is a Gourd Festival down in Alabama in October when I'll be there (well, I can arrange to stay for it anyway). I picked up a flyer last year and some of their classes sounded really interesting.
Here is their website
And here is a slide show of last years festival.
ALGS Show 2006
This could be fun. Maybe I can talk Maryanne, Stacy, and Kama of making a "girls day out" of it.
I used to have a cookie jar that I think came from my Moms sister made out of a painted gourd. It was a squatty gourd woman with the bottom as the skirt and the top as her face. The gourd was cut horizontally around the middle with a decorative line so you had to have it just right to put the top back on. That was a real challenge for me as a kid. Maybe I'll try to recreate it.
These Turkish Gourd Lamps on the American Gourd Society's site cast very cool shadows and have just all kinds of possibilities.