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Gourd Classes

Gourd carving classes are taught at my home in Tucson, Arizona.  Send me an email to sign up for classes: [email protected] (*Information shown is for my Tucson classes.  Class cost, duration, time and other details may vary when they are taught at other locations.)  Please note refund policy at the bottom of page.


Class Schedule

Carving a Contemporary Bird In this class, I'll show you how to lay out and carved this contemporary bird design.  You will have a choice of layout and background treatment;  the background treatment shown here is very difficult and time consuming, so I will show you some alternative styles.

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any burs you have on hand. Bring a gourd - something in the 5-7" range is probably best if you want to finish your piece in class. The gourd should be at least 1/4" thick after cleaning. You may paint the inside of your gourd if you wish .  Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch.  Some basic ink dyes/paints and finishing supplies will be available for class use, but you are welcome to bring your own inks/dyes/brushes, etc. if you prefer to use your own.  Many will not get beyond the carving portion and will have to do the coloring at home.

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Leaves and Swirls
In this class, you'll learn how to lay out a spiral on your gourd and how to carve swirling raised ripples.  You will also  be accenting your piece with a carved leaves design.  As always,  you'll have the option of personalizing the design to make it unique.

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any burs you have on hand. Bring a gourd - Size and shape aren't crucial, but the gourd should be at least 1/4" thick after cleaning. Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch.  The carving will take you all day; plan on doing any coloring or finishing at home.  I will explain how the finishes I use are achieved. 

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Class - Carved Infinity Weave

This class will show you how to lay out and carve the "Infinity Weave" pattern.  

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any burs you have on hand.  Bring a gourd - something in the 5-6" range is best if you want to finish your piece in class. Clean the gourd inside and out; you may paint the inside of your gourd if you wish . Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch. 

Some dyes/paints and finishing supplies will be available for class use if you finish the carving.



Sampler - Carved Textures

This class introduces 3 new textures - river rocks, 2 kinds of stylized waves, and pond ripples.  You'll be able to design your own piece using these textures; everyone's project will be different depending on what they choose to do with the patterns. 

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any burs you have on hand. Bring a gourd - something in the 5-7" range is probably best if you want to finish your piece in class. The gourd should be at least 1/4" thick after cleaning. You may paint the inside of your gourd if you wish or paint it in class. Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch.  Some dyes/paints and finishing supplies will be available for class use, but you are welcome to bring your own inks/dyes/brushes, etc. if you prefer to use your own.

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​​Swept Ashore/Woven Filigree 

This class will teach you how to do a the woven type filigree carving shown in both of these projects, as well as a few other water related patterns.  You'll be able to design your own piece using the woven filigree as the focal point; everyone's project will be different depending on what they choose to do with the patterns. The photos are just examples. 

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any burs you have on hand. Bring a gourd - something in the 5-7" range is probably best if you want to finish your piece in class. The gourd should be at least 1/4" thick after cleaning. You may paint the inside of your gourd if you wish or paint it in class. Bring a dust mask or purchase one at class.  Some dyes/paints and finishing supplies will be available for class use, but you are welcome to bring your own inks/dyes/brushes, etc. if you prefer to use your own.  Bring a sack lunch.

Basic Mask Making

Learn about some basic mask making techniques and create your own masterpiece.  You will be supplied with a kit containing all the basic materials you'll need, including a half gourd, feathers and more.  (You are welcome to bring and use your own special feathers, beads or other accessories if you wish.)  I will provide different types of acrylic paints and stains, but you may bring dyes or inks if you would rather use those instead.

What to bring: 
A basic tool kit with xacto knife, pencil,  paintbrush, dremel, etc.  (Whatever basic tools you like to use at home.) A mini saw may be helpful but is not necessary.  Bring a woodburner if you want to use one, and a sack lunch.

Spiral Carving
 
This class is a combination techniques/project class; you should be able to finish your gourd depending on how complicated you choose to make it.  You will be provided with a center stone or concho, and will decide on what decorative spirals you want to wrap around it on the gourd.  You'll have a choice of a variety of carved and woodburned patterns to choose from, as well as some different finishing techniques you can choose from. The photos are just examples, everyone will make something unique.

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any accessories you have on hand. Bring a woodburner,  and bing a gourd that is not huge.  Something in the 5-7" range is probably best if you want to finish your piece in class.  Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch.  Finishing supplies will be available for class use, but you are welcome to bring your own inks/dyes/brushes, etc. if you prefer to use your own.

Pueblo Ladies

This gourd may be as simple or as complicated as you wish - but we will focus on carving and burning at least one pueblo lady and her stylized pueblo village behind her.  Other details such as ripples, added gourd pottery are an option; you can be creative so that your gourd will be unique. How much you add depends on your own taste, talents and time!   You will be provided with cabochons for one lady, and one gourd pot.  

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any accessories you have on hand. Bring a woodburner,  and bing a gourd that is not huge.  Something in the 5-7" range is probably best if you want to finish your piece in class.  Bring a dust mask or purchase one at class.  Finishing supplies will be available for class use, but you are welcome to bring your own inks/dyes/brushes, etc. if you prefer to use your own.  Bring a sack lunch.

Filigree Carving

In this class you'll learn how to design and carve a section of "filigree" into the gourd surface and will have the option of adding design elements such as butterflies, dragonflies, etc.  You'll try different carving methods and burs and should complete at least one section in class.  Take advantage of learning from a master; I'll provide you with plenty of tips and tricks that will make the technique much easier and the finished project look good!

Students should bring a gourd that is reasonably thick for carving.  The gourd should be cut open, cleaned and painted inside (if desired) ahead of time.  Bring a Dremel or other similar rotary tool, and any burs you have on hand.  Bring a good quality dust mask.  Riffler files and sanding sticks are helpful but not necessary.  (Some hand tools will be available for shared class use.)


Fancy Filigree

Take your filigree carving to a new level!  In this class, you'll learn how to lay out and execute some new and innovative filigree type designs. Emphasis is placed on developing skills to enable you to create new and more advanced designs in your future projects.  You'll learn some tips and techniques to give your carving a more finished and professional appearance.

Students should bring a gourd cleaned inside and out.  Any shape is fine - but bring one that is at least 1/4" thick after cleaning.  Avoid gourds that are really large, as you will not have time to finish a large piece.  

Bring a good quality dust mask, a dremel tool and burs, and any small hand tools such as files or sanding items you may have on hand. Bring an xacto knife with a NEW SHARP BLADE and a pencil.

Native Treasures

This is an example of what you will be able to make during our class.  Your design will vary.  You will learn how to carve and paint faux precious stone jewelry effects, and faux textured metal effects.  Inlaid heishi and stones and inlaid wire effects will be shown - but are optional.  We will carve in the morning and paint in the afternoon - bring a sack lunch and we'll take a break between the two techniques.

Bring a good quality dust mask, a dremel tool and burs, and a woodburner. .  I will supply acrylic paints in a variety of colors and some basic dyes/coloring/finishing products.  I will also have paint brushes availble for class use, but you may wish to bring your own.  (Class brushes aren't always cared for as well as what you use at home!)


Carving with Cutouts 

Hummingbirds OR Sea Life and Water Patterns OR Cardinals and Blue Jays OR Desert Rabbits 


The Carving with Cutouts workshop is primarily designed for those that have taken a basic carving class in the past and/or feel comfortable with their power carving tools and the basic techniques, however beginners are welcome too..  You'll learn about designing, dimensional 3-D carving, and carving with cutouts.  The class content focuses on how to see and design a 3-D pattern, and the design varies depending on the class interest and location.  However, the class is taught in the same way no matter which design is offered. My classes encourage creativity - each person's gourd will be unique depending on their skills and interests.  

Vertical gourds work well, but we can work with what you bring.   There will not be time to paint the gourd, this class focuses on carving techniques.

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any accessories you have on hand. Bring a thick gourd suitable for carving and your basic tool box. A mini jig saw may be helpful but is not necessary.  We will have some tools available for shared use. Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch. 

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Basic Power Carving

This class is perfect for those who want to learn how to get more out of a Dremel tool or other brand of rotary carver. In this class, you'll learn about using your power tool more effectively, and all about different types of burs and what they do.  You'll learn techniques and will carve sand ripples, basic relief carving, and carving for inlay.  Carving safety and types of equipment will be discussed.   

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any accessories you have on hand. Bring a gourd suitable for carving and your basic tool box. A mini jig saw may be helpful but is not necessary.   Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch.   You will receive some inlay items to use on your project.



Pottery Shards

Inspired by Southwest Native Pottery, this class has a mix of carving and painting techniques.  First, you'll carve your gourd to create the appearance of 3-D overlaid shards of pottery, and then use a variety of painting techniques to complete the illusion.  

To save time in class, please bring a gourd suitable for carving that has been cut and cleaned ahead of time. Almost any gourd shape is OK, but you will get more of a dimensional effect if the gourd isn't too thin.

Bring a rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any carving burs you  may have on hand.   Bring a dust mask or purchase one at class.  I will supply a few small turquoise cabochons as well as paints.  I have paint brushes and painting sponges for class use, but I recommend that you bring  your own good liner brush.  My brushes have been used by many students and are not great for fine detail painting.     Wear old clothes. and bring gloves if you don't like to get paint on your hands. 

Leather Tooled Gourd

Make a gourd with a traditional leather tooled look.  You will carve and woodburn a typical leather carving design - as an option you may choose to leave the gourd natural, or you may want to darken either the gourd or the carved background.  Carve a "rope" border or try some patina paints.  You will receive one decorative concho as an accent piece; you may bring your own conchos or purchase them from ArizonaGourds.com if you want to carry the pattern around the gourd.  

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any accessories you have on hand. Bring a cut open and cleaned gourd suitable for carving and your basic tool box. Bring a woodburner if you have one; I have a few for shared class use.   Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch. 


Southwestern Gourd Pottery with Lizard

This combo class will show you how to securely attach handles that are functional as well as decorative.  (The handles are optional.)  If desired, you can give your pot some character with cracks or chips.  Next, learn how to create a stylized lizard out of fast curing epoxy clay.

Students should bring a gourd cleaned inside and out.  Any shape is fine, but avoid gourds that are really large. One that is 6-8" or less in diameter is preferred. This is a good class to use gourds with flaws, as the surface will be totally painted.  Bring a good quality dust mask, a dremel tool and burs, and and a 1/2 - 1" paintbrush and/or painting sponge. Small brushes and/or Pitt pen are recommended if you want to put a fine line design on your pottery.  Paints, clay and handles will be supplied in class.  
Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any accessories you have on hand. Bring a cut open and cleaned gourd suitable for carving and your basic tool box. Bring a woodburner if you have one; I have a few for shared class use.   Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch. 
War Shirt / Native Dress

In this class, you'll learn how to create a sueded texture on your gourd and how to add faux beading that looks real enough to fool most people!  Various embellishments will be added to create the illusion of Native style leather clothing.  (Little or no carving in this class, so you'll have a chance to enjoy visiting with your classmates!)

Paints and basic embellishments of your choice will be provided.  Bring a gourd, a woodburner and your basic tool box.  You may be drilling some holes or possibly insetting some embellishments, so a dremel may also be handy but is optional for this class.  Preferably, the gourd should be taller than it is wide, but we can work with whatever you bring.  Please bring one that is not really small, larger gourds work well for this project.  This is a good class to use gourds with flaws, as the entire gourd will be painted.

Mask/Rattle Workshop 

It's a functional rattle - but it's also a mask you can hang on the wall!  Learn construction techniques for making these southwestern style rattles, then add your own touches to make the rattle into a decorative art piece.

You will be provided with a rattle handle and a some embellishments. Extra embellishments such as turquoise will be available for purchase if desired.  (You may also bring  special embellishments of your choice to make your finished project unique.) Basic water based dyes and paints will be available for shared class use; if you have special dyes, inks or products you prefer, please bring your own. 

Suggested tools:  Bring a rotary tool and burs if you want to add carved designs.  Or, bring a woodburner - your method of decoration is up to you.  We will use a cordless drill with a 5/8", 1/2" and 1/4"  drill bits - I have some for shared use if you don't have these.
 

3-D Feather Carving

Learn basic dimensional carving techniques.  The concepts of visualizing high-relief dimensional carving will be discussed, and additional techniques such as undercutting, rounding and specialized carving will enable you to create a feather that is dramatic and realistic in appearance.    You may use either carving burs or woodburning to add the feather barbs, and painting methods will be discussed.  (Students will learn feather carving only.  Other decorative applications show in the photo may be added as desired after class is over.)

Students should bring a Dremel, Foredom or other similar rotary tool and any burs you have on hand.  Bring a good quality dust mask, a woodburner with a pointed or skew tip, and please bring a cleaned gourd that is suitable for carving (at least 1/4" thick is preferable). 

Water & Wind -
Carving patterns inspired by Southwestern Pueblos

Use carving techniques and some wood burning to decorate a gourd with interesting southwestern patterns. You will learn how to carve a dimensional “rain cloud” pattern, and how to combine it with other effects such as carved basketry, Katsina Butterfly
maiden designs, or sand ripples. We’ll discuss “designing in the round”. Everyone will have the flexibility to design their gourd around some of these techniques so that each finished carving will be unique. Please note that this is a techniques class and you will
not finish the gourd during class time.

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any carving burs you have on hand.  Bring a cut and cleaned gourd suitable for carving, and a dust mask.

Rock Art with Gourd Pottery 

In this class, you'll make a rock art wallhanging complete with a piece of ancient gourd "pottery".  Your wallhanging can be up to approximately 2 ft x 3 ft; you choose the size and shape!  

The instructor will supply the rock art base material, adhesives, and paints.  Bring a cleaned gourd - you choose the shape and size.  (A broken or cracked gourd is perfect for this project, and you'll only need one half of the gourd.  Gourds that are 5-6"  work well.) 

Please wear old clothes - this can be messy.  If you have them, bring a propane or butane torch, and a soldering iron or soldering iron style woodburner.  An old kitchen knife, a Pitt Pen and old beat up paint brushes both large and small are also suggested.  The instructor will have some of these items for shared use.  Bring a sack lunch.  *Note: because of tools, materials and space reqirements, this class is limited in size and is only taught in Tucson.


Petroglyphs and Ripples Oil Candle Gourd

In this class you will learn the basics of using a power rotary tool to carve on gourds.  Students will carve "sand ripples" and then learn decorative sponge painting techniques with Petroglyph designs to complete the gourd.  Demonstrations of additional techniques such as heishi inlay and gold leafing will be presented.  

Students should bring a dremel or other similar rotary tool and any burs you have on hand.  Bring a good quality dust mask. You may also bring your own paint brushes, sponges or paints if desired.

Students will be supplied an oil candle insert, heishi and painting materials. Gold leafing will be discussed and demonstrated. Bring a small gourd (at least 4" tall) that sits reasonably well and will be solid enough for carving.  Cannonballs, small pears or other rounded gourds with no neck are best.

Doodles and Glass 

Learn to inlay crushed glass as a decorative effect, and combine it with woodburned (or drawn) doodles in a fun composition.  

Students should bring a cleaned gourd.  Any thickness, shape or size is fine - and perhaps you'd like to experiment and use this technique to embellish a mask or spirit doll!  Choose from a variety of design ideas.   Bring a good quality dust mask, a dremel tool and burs, and a woodburner.  I will supply the crushed glass in a variety of colors, glue, and some basic dyes/coloring products.   Bring a sack lunch.

River Bed Gourd

Learn how to recess an area to create a flowing "river bed".  Add decorative bubble holes and small pebbles to complete the effect.   You'll finish up with an application of color and patina paints and oxidizers to accent the finished project.

Students should bring a dremel or other similar rotary tool and any burs you have on hand.  Bring a small gourd (cannonballs and small canteens work great) and a good quality dust mask.  The instructor will provide the pebbles, glue, paints and dyes.
  


"Raku" with Critters

Here is something a bit different - and it's suitable for beginning to experienced gourders.  Learn how to make a faux - raku style gourd (with or without carved accents depending on your skill and interests) and finish it off with a decorative twig and a flying critter such as a bee, butterfly or dragonfly.  

If you have one, bring your dremel tool and carving burs to add a carved accent.  I will provide faux painting supplies, twigs and critters.  Wear old clothes. and bring gloves if you don't like to get paint on your hands.  


Peacock Feather Gourd

Inlay a piece of dichroic glass (provided) and create a striking peacock feather design on your gourd.  You'll use carving, woodburning, gold leafing and painting techniques to create a eye-catching peacock feather on your prepared gourd.  Please bring a gourd that has been cleaned and prepared.  The irridescent effects will be most striking if you dye or ink your gourd with a dark color before class.  Cannonballs and small vase shaped gourds are good choices.  Note: Added lid is not part of the class.

One piece of glass, gold leafing and paints will be supplied. You may bring your own brushes if you wish.   Bring a rotary tool and any burs you have on hand, a good quality dust mask, and a woodburner with a skew or similar tip for burning lines.

Faux Basketry

Learn to design and layout a gourd to use this technique effectively.  Carving, woodburning and minimal use of paint will be used to create areas that will appear to be inlaid sections of coiled basketry.  Students will learn the basketry technique only.  Other decorative applications can be added as desired after class is over.   Students should bring a dremel, Foredom or other similar rotary tool and any burs you have on hand.  Bring a good quality dust mask, a woodburner and  please bring a cleaned gourd that is suitable for carving.  Paint will be provided.



Basic Drum Making

In this class you'll learn how to make a basic drum.  You will have some choices as to style of drum and materials used, including the use of lacing OR tacking.
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Students should bring a gourd that is reasonably sturdy.  The gourd should not flex easily when squeezed.  Shape is not crucial, but it may determine the style of drum you will make.  You will be provided with the proper size drum head, lacing and metal ring.   Acrylic paints and sprays will be available, if you prefer to use inks or dyes you may bring your own.  Bring a mini saw if you have one. 

Ocean Drum 

Hear the soothing sounds of ocean waves lapping on the shore when you play this drum!  In this class, you'll prepare and decorate your gourd shell with ocean related designs, and add a goatskin rawhide drum skin and rim. All supplies are included in the cost of the class including a prepared gourd.   Note: The photo is just a sample - everyone's finished piece will be unique!

Provided supplies include a skin, decorative trims and tacks, sound effects material, and paints/dyes to create your drum. Bring a a pair of scissors and (bring if you have): wood burner, staple gun and/or small hammer. You are welcome to bring small shells or other items for embellishment purposes.

Class paint brushes will be available for shared use, but you may prefer to bring your own.    Bring a sack lunch. 


Coiling Classes  - 2 Versions

Closed Coiling Class

This class will introduce you to basic closed coiling techniques, including how to prepare your gourd for weaving, starting and ending techniques, basic wrapping techniques, adding additional colors and threads, and figure 8 wrapping.  


Students should bring a prepared gourd bowl.  The gourd should be no larger than about 6-7" wide - (you may use a larger bowl but the project will take you a long time.)  Prepare the bowl by cutting off the top and cleaning the gourd thoroughly inside and out.  DO NOT drill holes in the gourd, we will do that in class.  Optional: You may decorate or paint the bowl if desired, these steps should finished prior to class.   Bring a pair of small scissors.  Helpful if you have them, but not mandatory: small needlenose pliers, small ruler, awl, dremel tool or pin vise with a 1/16" drill bit.  Waxed linen is not provided - bring your own, preferably at least 2 colors so that you can learn color changing. I will provide the inner core material and tapestry needle.    Bring a sack lunch.

Closed Coiling with Feathers
In these class, you'll learn how to combine coil weaving with the addition of small feathers for a fun effect. You'll learn the basic coiling technique and how to prepare individual feathers for weaving. Most of the instruction will take place in the morning, and the rest of the day you'll work on your project and enjoy the time visiting with your fellow weavers.  We will take a short lunch break - so bring a sack lunch.  

Bring a gourd bowl that is cleaned and finished inside and out  and is ready for coiling.  The opening of the gourd bowl should be approximately between 5-8" in diameter.  (We will drill the small holes to attach the weaving in class.)   Also bring a spool of waxed linen (any color, your choice.)   I will provide the inner core material, tapestry needle and feathers for each student. 

Pine Needle Basket with Cabochon
Not a gourd project this time - but the pine needle weaving skills you will learn will transfer to future gourd projects.  This basket will be woven around a center cabochon (provided).  Each student will receive a bundle of southern long leaf pine needles, ready for weaving. You'll also receive a small roll of artificial sinew, a center cabochon prepared for use, and a sewing needle.  

Bring an old kitchen sized towel, a pair of small scissors and a small pliers.  
Bring a sack lunch.  If you prefer to use waxed linen or your own special beads, bring those with you
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2  Day -  Flower Fantasy

This class will expose you to several contemporay design concepts. Like all of my classes, everyone's finished gourd will be personalized and will look different!  You'll learn some new techniques and should go home with a finished or near finished piece.  Flowers are the theme, but composition and techniques and some new ideas will be the primary focus.

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and a basic tool box including a hobby knife with new, sharp blades.  A mini jig saw may be helpful but is not necessary.   Bring a dust mask or purchase one at class.  Day two:  Bring a woodburner, gloves, any your own paint brushes or applicators if you don't want to use my well-used class tools.  Bring a sack lunch each day.

I will provide some materials and finishes to use on your project, but you may also bring your own dyes/inks/paints if you prefer.  You will also need to provide your own gourds - Bring one that is cut open and cleaned inside and out.  Other openings will be made in class.  Do not paint the interior.  Also, bring a few smaller gourds that can fit inside the larger gourd.  We will learn how to cut the openings and select the correct size - but you will want a few to choose from during class.  

Ravens and Canyons
This workshop is great for those that have taken a basic carving class in the past and/or feel comfortable with their power carving tools and the basic techniques, however beginners are welcome too..  You'll learn about designing, dimensional 3-D carving using a raven as the focal subject.  The class content focuses on how to d design a gourd using the raven theme and the design varies depending on the class interest and location.  My classes encourage creativity - each person's gourd will be unique depending on their skills and interests.  

Vertical gourds work well, but we can work with what you bring.   There will not be time to paint the gourd, this class focuses on carving techniques.

Bring a power rotary tool (Dremel or other brand) and any accessories you have on hand. Bring a thick gourd suitable for carving and your basic tool box. A mini jig saw may be helpful but is not necessary.  We will have some tools available for shared use. Bring a dust mask and a sack lunch. 

*Is your gourd club or chapter interested in having me come to teach a workshop? 
If so, please contact me at [email protected] and I will  work with you to make arrangements. 
(You will need to find a local spot to hold classes, such as a large garage, meeting room, outdoors under tents, etc.)
Read the important small print…

Class fees should be paid as soon as possible after registration.  Your space in class is NOT confirmed until your payment has been received.  Your class must be paid for by the time the class has filled, or your space will be released to others.  $10 of your class fee is a non-refundable deposit. 

Although most of these classes have  low minimum enrollments, I will only run those classes that meet their paid student minimum by one week prior to the start date.   If I cancel the class due to low enrollment or for any other reason, you will get a full refund.

If you cancel your class 3 weeks or more before the start date, you will get a full refund less the $10 deposit.  If I am able to fill your space from the wait list, I will refund the deposit as well.

Classes that are cancelled two weeks before the start date will receive 1/2 credit in a future class or a 1/2 cash refund.  If I am able to fill your slot with another student, you will receive a full refund or credit in a future class.

There will be no refund/credit on classes that you cancel within one week of the start date.  (However, you may find your own replacement to cover your space if you wish.)