Here's my latest. It's small (the gourd is 4" tall) and the gourd plays a minor role, really serving only as a base for the polymer clay otters.
The gourd doesn't open. But I did cut it in half at the "waist" so that I could remove the seeds and add ballast then glued the two halves back together. For ballast, I mixed sand with acrylic pouring medium and put about 1 1/2" in the bottom. The base of the gourd is small (I sanded it flat, by the way) and the otters are relatively big so I was concerned about stability.
This is one HARD gourd. Carving the grooves for the strands of beads was a real challenge. I started with hand tools - a knife and a small gouge - because I thought I would have better control of them. But after struggling for an hour or so, I realized I'd need power, so I got out the Dremel tool. It was difficult to control, especially over the uneven extra-hard patches of the gourd's surface, but I didn't have a choice if I wanted grooves.
The silver spot is metal leaf. It's supposed to represent the reflection of the moon in the water.
I think the bead "coralling" is a pretty good suggestion of water.
I'd like to put a fish in her mouth. (She's the one at the top, with the gold necklace.) I have a nice little Swarovski crystal one and could glue it on a wire ending in her mouth. But I'm hoping to find some very stiff plastic line (fishing line, maybe) that will be less obvious. So that's a detail for the future.
Meanwhile, I think this is a fun little piece.