While most of us see a squash or a pumpkin the Canto sisters see an epic story, a great adventure — and ultimately, an $800 work of art worthy of a museum.

Katya and Blanca Canto are masters of the disappearing art of gourd decoration, a longtime Peruvian craft, and are showing off their work this summer at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

The gourd itself serves as a canvas for incredibly detailed art that requires a very skilled hand. By using carving tools and a heated stick to color the designs, intricate details are shaped right on the gourd’s surface. In some cases, the design requires so much detail that one gourd can take up to two months to complete.

The sisters use carving tools to create the images and a heated stick to burn in colors.

Some feature animal sculptures, while others create what the girls call a “world view” — a series of images that tell a story.

In order to tell that story, certain skills must be mastered, and the process can take years to learn

The sisters confirmed that one of their their next objets d’art will depict their adventures in Washington.Coloring-for-all-FB-group

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(READ more about the sisters from NPR)

Photos: Josh Cogan/Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archive, Smithsonian Institution

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