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In This Issue: New Mexican artist Sharon Patrick is a woman who has had a long relationship with art and design. Sharon learned her jewellery craft in a small manufacturing jewellery shop and this provided the venue to put original designs on paper through to the finished product. Those acquired skills are now used in her gourd art.
Sharon's carving, a technique that is used in jewellery design, is demonstrated in the fine featured faces in her sculptures. Her philosophy is that art brings people together and that we can all learn from each other. A fascinating artist and designer, please welcome Sharon Patrick to the July issue of Gourd Fever.
Jim Carlson is here debating about who is the worst enemy of the gourd plant. I must admit I full heartedly agree with his conclusion. Humorous and full of advice, it is an article you will not want to miss.
In The Gourd Jungle: Tips For The Home Gourd Gardener we enter the world of the cucumber beetle. Is it a friend or foe or both? Plus it's time to get out the utility knives to do a little pruning. July is a busy month for the gourd grower so let's get going. Please enjoy this summer issue of Gourd Fever.
Sharon Patrick: New Directions In Art and Design
Sharon Patrick has been around. Born in Texas and raised in New Mexico, Sharon has travelled extensively throughout the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Canada. In the early 70's she attended the University of New Mexico and Fine Arts College graduating with a head full of ideas and the skills to pursue her dreams.
She found employment in a small jewellery manufacturing shop where she learned the craft of jewellery-making including design and production
work through to the finished works of art. Today she creates her own line of jewellery in addition to her unique gourd art.
Gourds...one day while scrolling eBay a maranka caught Sharon's eye. It reminded her of an exotic sea creature and she had to have it. Since that time Sharon has learned that gourds come in many shapes and sizes, all she has taken advantage of.
The Stories She Told
Because Sharon is a jeweller by trade it felt natural to start carving on gourds. The tools are the same and the medium is much larger (which is nice) than the small charms and pendants she is requested to create.
A challenge and a love is to see how far she can go with the depth of design on a gourd. When starting a gourd Sharon may have a twinkling of an idea but the gourd usually has a mind of its own. When the design is right and the gourd agrees then it all flows together. Some gourds just show you what direction to go. Some will submit. Still some will say to change what you are thinking.
When talking to Sharon about ideas she is quick to say they are everywhere. Just listening and looking around can spur on an idea. Or an image you might see in your mind's eye is one that you will just have to try on a gourd. A gourd is not just a birdhouse but a canvas into the world of design.
Ancient Storage Vessel
When Sharon was asked,'What is art and how does it affect others' she replied,
"What you see when you look at or feel inspiration and where you take that feeling is art. Where would we be without the drawings in the Pyramids, the statues in Rome and Greece, the great Wall of China, Native Indian pots and cavemen drawings."
"All are important for history and for mankind. It explains what makes us the kind of people we are, where we come from and hopefully where we are going."
On a personal note Sharon has two dogs and two sons. Her camera travels with her as she loves taking photos of everything. In New Mexico there is an enormous variety of birds and this year Sharon and her family were lucky to have a pair of doves nest in a silk tree by their front porch.
Watching those babies emerge from their eggs, grow and fledge inspired her to create some fun little birds out of gourds to sell. Once again it proves the point that you don't have to go far from home to be inspired!
Sharon Patrick is currently organizing a gourd event with Robert Rivera, Dar Stone and Jan Ward which will take place in October in Albuguerque, NM.
If you find yourself in Old Town Albuquerque, NM stop by the Yucca Art Gallery where Sharon's art is being shown.
To view more of Sharon's gourd art and jewellery click here:
Ken Carlson: Gourd Attack!
I know that I am suppose to tell you that the cucumber beetle is the enemy of the gourd and that you must be ever vigilant or it will destroy an entire gourd crop. Sorry, but to my way of thinking the worst enemy of the gourd is not the cucumber beetle. Yes, our little beetle friend can be a pest, but think about it, the little guys are not too bright. They can be all but wiped out with a well targeted spray and they are not smart enough to be sneaky.
Go forth oh ye gourd growers of the north and enter your gourd garden on a very still night. Stand still, wait and if there is a single cucumber beetle in your entire gourd patch, he will find you and land on your face.You will duck too slowly, smack, and now you have a long green smear sitting on your cheek. (Great fun to watch the eyes of the convenience store clerk - you would think they had never seen the insides of a cucumber beetle before.)
The real enemy of the gourd is the one that you know will be there every year. This constant uphill battle will wear you down until you can't take it any more. Who is this enemy; you guessed it - it is the weed.
In case you can't tell I pulled weeds today until I couldn't stand up straight and then I sprayed them until I couldn't spray straight. Tonight when I fall asleep I'll dream of...I'll dream that as I walk into my first period class I remember that we have a test and I forgot to study for it...(if anything I should tell you about my college night life, and that was 40 years ago.) But I digress.
The weed is the real enemy of the gourd - the #1 enemy simply because it is so embarrassing to let someone see your garden if you didn't get every last weed out of it! Gourds grow fast and spread out so; each leaf gives shade to mutiple tiny little weeds that you know are going to be huge in a few minutes so they must be pulled NOW. (Towards the end of summer I only pull the big weeds.)
I have found a way of making the weed killing process a little easier, at least when my gourd plants are small. When I get ready to spray (Round-Up) I put a plastic container over each small gourd and then spray the entire area. The container protects the gourds, and when the gourd gets bigger, I use a bigger pot.
When the gourd vines are about three feet in all directions, I pull the vines together under a 5 gallon pail. This takes time because I only have a few pails so I put the vines under the pails, spray, wait 15 minutes and move on. When pulling the pail off I leave the vines tangled until I am sure the Round-Up is dry and then spread the vines back out.
For my climbing gourds I put a large piece of cardboard between the sprayer and the gourds on the fence. You don't want the spray or it's drift to hit the gourd leaves. If spray its a leaf I cut it off.
Again, this will help until the gourd is out of control (spread out in all directions) and then I do what every self-respecting gourd grower does...I don't take anybody else into the garden for the rest of the year.
PS Please let me know if anyone has an easy way of keeping 4 rows of sweet corn clean.
Out Of The Mailbag
I would just like to say how absolutely beautiful the gourds are that you sent me. It is my first time working with them and am using them for décor purposes in both my home and in my shop.
I couldn't believe how many I got in the sample box. I was not expecting anything more than 3-4 small gourds and WOW, was I wrong.
I went to the website to post feedback but was unable to find anywhere to do it. I just wanted you to know how amazing Northern Dipper is. This definitely won't be my last order that's for sure. Thanks, Charlene C.
Thank you for your email. We are happy you liked the selection we sent. We believe that a sample box should be just that - a good selection of gourds which can be used for many types of projects.
We would love to see what you have done with your "samples." Send us some photos and we'll put them in the newsletter.
This email has nothing to do with gourds but with bees. It is about the consequences of using insecticides. Thought maybe some of your readers would be interested...
In my yard I have a birdhouse that is attached to my garden shed. It is round and painted red with two entry holes. This year, instead of a bird, I had honey bees move into it.
Every night I go out and stand about a foot away. I want them to get use to me. (I have read articles where bees can actually recognize faces.) When they come home in the evening they fly in from all directions. They are so quick and come so close I can almost feel the brush of their wings on my cheek. Their back legs are coated with pollen. It looks as though they are all wearing big overstuffed yellow saddlebags.
It was upsetting when I read about an insecticide that killed off 50,000 bees in Oregon. A mass killing of bees. The worst part was that the spraying was done for cosmetic reasons....sap from aphids was falling on people's cars. It was horrific not only for us who love bees, but for the agricultural sector who rely on bees and other insects for pollination. No pollination - no food. It is all very simple.
I wanted to remind everyone that we can all do our own small part by not using pesticides and herbicides in our own gardens. There are lots of natural products to combat aphids and weeds. Just go to your local nursery to see what they have.
In the meantime plant lots of bee-loving flowers and maybe with luck you too will have bees moving in as a neighbour.
Erin Wesley - Vancouver, BC
Here is a link to the bee killing in Oregon:
The puya chilensis or 'sheep-eating' plant is one you will want to stay away from. In it's native Chile the puya chilensis uses its enormous razor-sharp spikes to capture birds and sheep for food. That's right. The birds and sheep get caught up and slowly starve to death. They decompose which in turn provides nutrients to the plant.
At Britain's Royal Horticultural Society's Garden Wisley this plant has been growing in a greenhouse for 15 years living on a diet of liquid fertilizer. This year was the first year it has bloomed much to the delight of Cara Smith who looks after it.
To learn more about this interesting plant click here: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/352834
Looking Ahead: August 2013
Next month we are travelling to California to visit with artist and teacher Gloria Crane. As an artist Gloria's work is beautiful. Her vessels are colorful with images of exotic flora and fauna including birds of paradise, frogs and parrots. Her gourd purses depict intricate Celtic knots and flowers.
Gloria is also a teacher and mentor to many. This year alone she is teaching or exhibiting at several venues including Wuertz Farm, Welburn Gourd Farm as well as countless others. Gloria's work is fresh and appealing and we welcome her in the August issue of Gourd Fever.
Ken Carlson will be checking in and we will be checking out...out to the gourd garden that is to see how things are progressing. Hard to believe it will be August already.
Here at Northern Dipper we will be raising our glasses in celebration. This is the 100th issue of Gourd Fever. Our readership started out small and has now reached into the thousands stretching around the globe. We can't help but smile at how the simple little tan coloured hard-shell gourd can bring so many like-minded people together.
On that note we will end. Take some time this month to enjoy yourselves and relax. That is what summer is all about!
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
PS Stories, ideas, photos or comments? Send them this way to firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 9, Number100
In this issue:
Sharon Patrick: New Directions In Art and Design
The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper
Ken Carlson: Gourd Attack!
The Gourd Jungle: Tips For The Home Gourd Gardener
Out of the Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia
The Bulletin Board
Here in Ontario it has been hot. Today it was 36C / 98.6F with high humidity. It is like
walking in a plastic bag.
Where I am sitting I am surrounded by fall and
winter. I am getting ready
for the shows and am hoping
that painting snowmen will psychologically cool
me off. But who is to say
for sure. I still feel hot.
There will not be any workshops during July but
we will be back in August
with a new schedule.
Northern Dipper is still open - it is just the workshop department that is closed.
Come on out to see what we have. Give us a call and we'll set up a day. See you soon.
"My first love is sculpture
and gourds lend themselves to that end. I carve Tagua
nuts into heads and incorporate them into
figures with gourd bodies."
"I like to create horses with gourd pieces...the heads are sculpted with clay."
"The challenge is to keep improving my abilities and some times to think outside the box for new ideas."
" I have had the privilege of working with Robert
Rivera and helping with
"Teaching and learning are sharing ideas and opening up new directions with learned techniques. It is fun to try new things as well as watch what comes from others as they
try a new technique."
Advice For New Artists
"Everyone has some kind of artistic ability within them. Whether it is in gourds,
writing a book, cooking a meal, building a bridge or parking a car right between two lines, it is all an expression of yourself."
"Go with what you feel and
visualize it in your mind's eye. Make something amazing
Corn Maiden - One of a kind necklace designed and carved by Sharon
" What I would like is to continue learning new techniques and keep improving my carving ability. The old saying so many gourds so little time. Bring them on and lets create
more art together!"
Sterling Silver Charm
The Gourd Jungle: Tips For The Home Gourd Gardener
July is an exciting month in the gourd garden. There are plenty of flowers to pollinate, the young gourds are growing rapidly and the vines are wild.
This is the time to think about pruning the main vine which will allow plant's energy to go
into the laterals / side vines and the gourds.
It's easy...follow the main center vine up from the ground up to the top and snip.
These tiny striped or spotted insects can be either a friend or a foe depending on their numbers.
If their population is small
they are amazing pollinators. They flit from one flower
to another looking for a
mate and with each flit
pollen is placed.
If their numbers are large they can be destructive. They will eat the plant and sometimes the gourd too.
A bigger problem is that
the cucumber beetle can spread diseases like
bacterial wilt which will decimate your plants.
If your beetles are out of control and you want to use a natural approach, plant early radishes - lots of radishes and let them go to seed.
For a more permanent solution visit your local nursery. They will be able to give you advice.
There are lots of websites on the various methods of dealing with cucumber beetles. Just Google it and choose which method you feel most comfortable with.
Out Of The Mailbag
Here is one of the banjos I made using one of your gourds. It was one of many that I shipped off to Jamaica when I moved there. As you can see it arrived safe and sound.
Here is the second sighting from Georgia sent in by our friend Antonella. These gourds were seen in Savannah at the Wormsloe Historic Site; more commonly know as the Wormsloe Plantation.
They were spotted in one of the original cabins still standing. These cabins are where the slaves of the plantation would have lived.
To learn more about the Wormsloe Plantation
It's A Dog's Life
Walle, the winner of the 2013 Ugliest Dog Contest
(Photo by Noah Berger, The Associated Press)
Walle is a mix of a boxer, beagle and basset hound and is described as being huge- headed and duck-footed. But he proved to be a winner at the 25th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest.
Owner Tammie Barbee said that people often come up to her and say that dog's not right but she loves him anyways.
The prize was $1500 plus appearances on network TV.
To see photos of Walle and other entries click here:
Music Pick Of The Month
Youn Sun Nah
PO Box 1145
5376 County Road 56
L0L 1L0, Canada
© Northern Dipper 2013. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be used in any form without prior written permission from the authors.