Even portrait sculptures. It's an ancient technique from China.
This method also works for other vegetables. Portrait pickles anyone?
Jim Widess, proprietor of "The Caning Shop" in Berkeley CA and author of many books on gourd craft walks me through the steps.
These molds and gourds were made by the Chinese master Zhang Cairi.
Step 1: Get or Carve the Original Pattern
The light-colored one is the gourd's natural color. The darker one was stained with dark tea.
Almost any object can be used as a pattern for gourd mold.
Most likely you'll want to cast your head full-sized and make a mold from that.
Watch this space for an instructable detailing that process.
The mold must be slightly smaller than the gourd's natural size.
Match the gourd to the rough size and shape of the object you're molding.
There are gourds that grow very large and in a variety of shapes.
Step 2: Head Patterns, Mold, Gourd
That white pattern was used to cast the mold you see here.
This particular mold has a rubber interior and plaster around that to support it.
From left to right are the original carved pattern, plastic resin duplicate, and an actual gourd grown in the mold.
Step 3: Gourd in Mold
Step 4: Clamp the Mold Shut
clamp the mold shut by tying it with string or wire.