With the design inscribed, it is easy to apply the leather dye for color. The grooves contain the dye (the dye runs because it is very thin).
The photo shows the elements. Feibings black leather dye, a dimpled pallette, a straw to move the leather dye from bottle to pallette, a brush. The dye cleans up fairly well with water - black has been the most difficult color for cleanup among all I've used. After painting each sgement, I propped the gourd with the wet side free to dry. Triple coated dye dried mostly in about 10 minutes but some spots remained tacky for up to 90 minutes.
Once dried, I polished the colored areas with a damp cloth. Experience showed that the dye rubs off (on my hands) and reading told me that other artist polished the dye to remove excess. In fact, in some places it removfed the dye entirely, but that seemed ok, so I didn't go back for a second coat. Warnings from others tell me that leather dye is very penetrating. It does take several washings over 24 hours to get it off my fingers.
While in the middle of coloring the gourd, I saw this picture in the Washington Post of a mask on display at the Native American Smithsonian museum from the recent Living with our Ancestors exhibit of Pacific Northwest peoples. The mask is a very lifelike face, but with stylized and deep wrinkles. It looks like a perfect guiro. Since I've recently given the Honnu guiro to Honnu, I have been thinking about another one for me. This looked incredible. I hope I dan to it justice in a gourd. In this picture you may be able to see my initial sketches on my last remaining birdhouse gourd. I want to go see the real thing before working on it further.