The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper
Ken Carlson: Mother Knows Best!
The Gourd Jungle: Tips For The Home Gardener
Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia
Due to our Christmas show schedule the last shipping day at Northern Dipper will be November 22.
The last drop-in day for anything other than gourds is also November 22.
"We need to offer free
access to our ideas and art
in order to draw in others
and cause gourd preservation
and art to prosper."
"Since becoming interested
in gourds, I've studied their history and uses. Each
culture over the past 8,000 years has used gourds in different ways. It is a journey from utility to art."
"I like to tell a story in my gourd art. Often it is only a moment in time. I want the story to be told as authentically as possible including cultural details
in my renderings."
"It is important that our art evolves. My first show pieces used only one technique. As
I became comfortable with new products and techniques, I combined them."
"I am spending more of my time doing deep relief carving. Currently I'm in the process
of completing a gourd for our Texas grandson Christian
and his horse Dreamer."
"It features Faux leather tooling, a leather braided
rim, two pyrography portraits of Dreamer and Christian
as well as two panels of cowboy dreams."
Words Of Advice For New Artists
"Learn the technique. Take your time to create well executed art. I often tell
my classes that there isn't
a prize for finishing first."
"Buy a really good example
of the technique to use
as a reference for comparision. Find classes
that allow you to try out
tools and supplies before
you invest a lot of money.
Do not get discouraged -
your first piece is not going
to be museum quality.
"I think about the future and am afraid that the
importance of art and
music is diminishing."
"Our high school aged grandchildren in Texas and Georgia must take summer courses or after school classes to study art and music. The government's required subjects do not include either art form."
"I'm thrilled that our daughters and two of our grandchildren see enough value in art and music to go spend the extra time to study these subjects."
"My music and artist friends must work multiple jobs to pay living expenses and still practice the vocation that they love. You must be an exceptional artist to pay your bills. I made both art and music a vocation but we encouraged our daughters to choose a business career."
"I've been told that I would settle on one style and technique in my gourd art. That has not been true. When a new style, technique or product is introduced, I try to enroll in a class. There you can sample the product or technique without investing a lot of time or money."
"The teacher gives you their experience on which to build your knowledge. You quickly learn what works and what doesn't and what you like and don't like. For example I love pine needle coiling with sinew - but not with raffia."
"I'm going to continue competing, teaching and writing about gourds. I hope
to find a location and a philanthropist to establish
a Gourd Fine Art competition and rotating display in the Southeast USA."
The Gourd Jungle: Tips For The Home Gardener
Hello Carolyn and Linda,
I don't know if you will remember me but I came to your farm in June and bought a couple of bags of gourds. I recently heard of a process called green-peeling but don't know much about it. Can you tell me if there are any advantages to this?
John Ramsey, Simcoe, Ont.
Nice to hear from you. Green peeling is a process where
the thin, waxy skin on the outside of the gourd (the epidermis) is scraped off. Using a dull kitchen knife
with a smooth blade (I use
a utility knife but am careful) slowly peel off the skin. Be careful not to cut or dig into the gourd. At this
time of year, just after the harvest, there are lots of green gourds to choose from.
After peeling wash the gourd down with a mixture of water and dish soap. Some people will use water and bleach. If any bits of waxy skin are hard to get off gently use a copper dish scrubbie. Wash down once a week until the gourd has dried.
Green peeling is often used
by carvers who want a blemish free surface to work with. Artists will also scrape
designs into the gourd as demonstrated in the above posted photos. In this case
the scraped surface will be
a light ivory or pale tan color...the horse will
dry a darker color.
I have a question about seeds. Can I take seeds from the gourds that I grew this year? Will they be true seeds?
Thanks, Shirley Monk-
Good question. Many people do take seeds from gourds they have grown. The trick is to get the seeds before they freeze. Frozen green seeds will not germinate.
Re: True seeds - in order to get true seeds you have to hand-pollinate and bag the flower right after pollination. There are growers out there that do sell true seed but they are generally quite expensive. If you want a specific gourd shape then it well worth the money. Carolyn