Note: If using Outlook click the above bar where it says “Click to download photos” The photos are the best part!

  River Rocks by Kristen Treuting
In This Issue:  The Homewood Studios in Minnesota houses a large group of artists working in many mediums. There are photographers, painters and fiber artists but the one who stands alone is Kristen Treuting; an artist whose choice is the hard shell gourd, a canvas not well known in Minnesota. 
Often described as obsessed Kristen will spend hours in her studio lost in the flow and ebb of movement. Her gourd art draws the viewer in and they find themselves listening for a babbling brook or the rustle of autumn leaves. Kristen's work is unique and we are pleased that she is our featured artist in the March issue of Gourd Fever.   
 Little Birds by Kristen Treuting
In our series "It's Showtime", the focus will be on booth location, design and set-up. Whether you are doing a small Saturday morning market or a big art show in New York, it is all a matter of scale. A bad location at any show will yield dismal results and a bad design can keep buyers away. Read on...we will give some tips on what to look out for.
Sarah B. sent this photo in of her dog Allie Mae climbing trees in an old B.C. rain forest.
(Thanks Daughter and Allie Mae) 
Lots of mail showed up in our mailbag and we are happy to share it with you. We love the mail and get excited when people send in photos of their art and anything else. Until we get to the mail however, please welcome artist Kristen Treuting. 

Kristen Treuting - Nature's Own

Kristen is a farm girl at heart. She was raised in rural New Jersey where, working side by side with her father, she developed a lifetime love for all living things including gardening. This trend continued when her husband Jack, along with his siblings, inherited the family farm. Each family had a responsibility and Kristen's family was in charge of the pumpkin field.
A few years later Kristen saw her first gourd art at a local art fair. A few days later a colleague and fellow gardener brought a gourd-crafting book to work. Kristen was fascinated by what she read and consequently began to grow her own gourds. It was three years later that she finally drummed up the courage to try her hand at gourd art.
Throughout the process gourds intrigued her with the infinite variety of shapes. They seemed like pottery, an art form that Kristen loved and had tried with little success. Gourds became her pots and she learned to do many things to embellish while keeping their natural integrity.
                            Lotus Pods
As a gourd artist Kristen is basically self-taught. In Minnesota there are not many gourd artists or gourd workshops offered. Her closest experience in the gourd world was her "pilgrimage" to Welburn's Gourd Farm. It was her first gourd festival and she saw many demonstrations of tools and the endless possibilities of techniques and designs. It was there where she invested in more serious tools for her work.
When it comes to Kristen's designs you will see that many are organic in nature and are inspired by the sense of movement and in the shapes and forms of the gourds themselves. The theme of water shows itself in her work as do leaves, trees, animals and flowers.
Lately circular patterns have been playing a dominant role becoming river rocks or pebbles. Her favorite gourds are more abstract in nature and capture the essence of the subject matter while retaining the earthiness of the gourd.
                       We Are The Wave
Being a gourd artist in Minnesota is still rare and Kristen admits she has enjoyed the attention she receives. She has participated in many art shows including the Powderhorn Art Fair and the Women's Art Festival. In addition she has exhibited in themed shows with two fellow artist friends. Their fiber art and paintings complemented her gourd art in amazing ways. Group shows include the Vine Arts Center and Homewood Studios.
Kristen shares a studio with her husband Jack who is a photographer. They have three grown children, a dog and 2 cats. In addition to gourding, Kristen is an avid gardener both on the family farm and in her urban yard.
To learn more about Kristen and her art click here:
Visit Homewood Studios:
To learn about the Powderhorn Art Fair click here:

It's Showtime - Booth Essentials!

Booth Location
Booth location can make or break a vendor at a trade show. It is very important as it can be the key in getting the maximum amount of traffic in front of your booth. The question is: how do you decide which location is a good location?
1.) The first thing is take a good look at the show floor plan. Find out what is available. A corner booth is dynamite as you are getting traffic from 2 directions. It also gives you a chance to open up your booth which automatically makes it more consumer friendly. But a small U-shaped booth can be very successful too providing that it is visually-appealing.
There are different trains of thought but in our opinion it is wise to stay away from washrooms, food courts and entertainment stages. (We have never seen a booth set up near a food court receive much attention and those visitors who attend the entertainment are there for just that-entertainment.) 
There are mixed feelings about the entrance/exit as well. On the up-side people will stop and look but they will not pull out their wallet as they just got there. By the time they have exited they have forgotten all about you. Also the entrance/exit can be very congested which isn't good for a vendor.
2.) Traffic Flow: When studying the floor plan try to figure out the traffic flow. In North America people usually travel down the right hand aisle first; in Europe they travel to the left. 
    Show life is pretty relaxing at a gourd festival!
3.) It is best to book early  - the choices for booths will be greater. Ask the organizers if they know who your neighbors will be. Are they your #1 competitor? This is important; especially if you are doing the big shows.  
4.) Regarding the show organizers remember it is their job to sell booth space and in some cases they don't care to who. Sometimes we vendors will have to take a poor booth location to get our foot in the door but make sure to think about this as doing shows is an expensive venture (booth fees and service costs i.e. electrical for your lighting, inventory, transportation, food and hotels.)
Don't be shy with the organizers. For example if a booth beside you doesn't fill, ask the organizers for a reduced rate - sometimes you can even get a booth for free if they haven't filled the show. Keep in mind that with this decision that you will have to have the inventory to fill two booths.
5.) If possible it is a good idea to walk a show before you apply. Is it full of imports? Is there much traffic? If not - why? Talk to the vendors - they know the circuit and what shows are good.   

Out Of The Mailbag
Hello ladies!
Here is a picture I took of one of your gourds at the Toronto Zoo on November 11. The Remembrance Day celebration they put on every year is really nice. See who is peeking his head out of the entry hole. Who says gourds are just for the birds!
                                                        Mary Kerr
Thank you Mary, we love this photo! That little lizard looks like a real character. So happy he likes the gourd. Carolyn
Note: Northern Dipper donated a few bags of gourds to the Toronto Zoo for their Animal Enrichment Program. They are used for nesting as well as food retrieval. To learn more about this worth-while program click here:
Hi Carolyn and Linda,
Sending you a photo of the lighthouse I told you about last time I was at the farm. The tall slender gourd worked out just great so I thought you would like to see it. Thank you, Diana
We love lighthouses and with the government cutbacks here in Canada we are seeing less and less of them. How nice to have one in your house or yard to look at all the time. Keep in touch, Carolyn 

"Other Stuff"
A lack of sleep can take an immediate toll on your brain. A recent study reported by Nature World News suggests that even a single night of sleep deprivation could result in a loss of brain tissue.
The study from Sweden's Uppsala University involved 15 healthy twenty-something men who usually kept regular sleeping routines. Each were deprived of sleep for one night and blood tests followed the next day.
The tests revealed that the blood showed increased concentrations of the brain molecules NSE and S-100B, which typically rise under conditions of brain damage. Study leader Christian Benedict said that the results indicate that a lack of sleep may promote neurodegenerative processes.
The message: Try to get lots of sleep on a regular basis. Too bad life gets in the way! 

Looking Ahead: May 2014
In addition to being a co-owner of Northern Dipper, Linda Bond is also a full-time medic. At Christmas her "yellow platoon" sent a message through a photograph wishing Linda and Carolyn Season's Greetings.
We are thrilled to have with us wildlife artist Cara Bevan, a woman who never lacks subject matter for her art. Cara grew up and still lives on an animal rescue farm surrounded by both domesticated and wild mammals, birds and reptiles. 
The decision to become a wildlife artist was decided at a very early age. Cara's gourd art, paintings and sculpture depict feathers, fur, scales and leaf and all are lovely and detailed. An inspiration to both animal lovers and artists, Cara Bevan will delight your senses.
May is a busy one for gourd growers. It is the month when your seedlings will be going outside into the ground. In this issue we will be passing along a few tips on gourd growing that will help pave the road to a successful 2014 crop.
Regarding gourd seedlings: At the time of this writing we are at the point of trying to decide what to grow. Plan to get your seeds started inside in early April as this will allow the seedlings to be large and strong in late May when you plant outside.
Until then we will continue to march out of the dark of winter and into the glorious spring. It is right around the corner we promise!
                         Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
(For those readers who do not live in a cold climate, most of Canada and much of the US have had a brutally cold winter. We want it to be gone!!!)
PS Comments or photos... please send them in to   We would love to hear from you.


   Volume 10, Number 107 


In this issue:

Kristen Treuting: Nature's Own

The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper 
It's Showtime: Booth Essentials!

Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia

      The Bulletin Board


Workshop Schedules
Spring is right around the corner and this is the season when Northern Dipper plans their workshop schedules. 
Sign up and receive advance notice on the Northern Dipper workshops including pictures and descriptions.
It is easy...just click here and send us your email address. You will be added to the list.
Gourd Seeds Available!
Gourd seeds are extremely popular with both gardeners and artists alike. Once established, gourds add interest to any garden. Seeds will be ready to ship in the last week of February.
Check out the selection at:
Big Sale on Philodendron Sheaths
We have too many in stock and want to clear them out.
 Regular price: .75 each
Sale Price: .25 each
To learn more click here:

Kristen Treuting 
 Within One Drop
"I try to use the gourds I grow as much as possible in my work. I find the entire process, from planting to harvesting,  from cleaning to creating into a new art form so amazing and gratifying."
"My mother taught me a sense of seeing things in creative ways. She provided me with a love of art and history knowledge."
"I took art classes throughout high school. In college I majored in art education but ended up as a special education teacher."
"Over the years I've dabbled with photography, sewing, book arts and box making,
but found my artistic niche
with gourds."
"My greatest challenge is my obsession with working on
my gourds and needing to
see them finished. I can get lost for hours, forgetting to
tend to daily chores or getting enough sleep." 
Advice For New Artists
"Never be afraid to try new things. Mistakes often can lead to new discoveries or at least become avenues for creative problem solving."
"I have often changed a design in the middle of a project because of a mistake and preferred the new, unexpected result. A dropped or cracked gourd can become a mask or a totally different design."
"Also remember that there is no such thing as perfection - any gourd will tell you that!"
"The role of the artist and art in society to engage and expand the visual experience of the audience. Challenging viewers to look, think, feel and respond in new ways is also important and powerful."
"I am retiring from teaching in early 2014. I am hoping to have much more time to work on my gourd art and explore
more opportunities to exhibit my work in galleries and shops. I also hope to attend more gourd festivals. Taking classes is something I look forward to as well."

It's Showtime -
Booth Essentials!
Booth Design
When you are starting out the chances are great that your booth will be small. Booth fees are expensive and the amount of inventory needed to fill a large booth can be daunting.  With the right moves, no matter what the size of booth, it can be visually-appealing and attract lots of traffic.
The purpose of a well-designed booth is to:
- Attract customers.
- Show your work at its best.
- It must fit your budget.
There are 4 basic booth designs that people use.
1.) U-shaped booth - This is very common. The product is displayed along the back and side walls and the front are open for the customers. 
 2.) L-shaped booth - The back wall and one side wall is for product - the opposite side wall and front are open. Usually vendors use a table as well in this type of booth. A corner booth is a good example of a L-shaped design.
3.) The front-counter booth - The table is in front and you sell from behind the table.  Maximize the table surface by using risers. 
4.) The Island booth - Tables are set up in the middle of  what is usually a large booth. All four sides are open in an island booth. This type of booth is not conducive for displaying product but it is perfect for food vendors who have samples they want the public to try.
Whatever style of booth you choose make sure that it has a good traffic flow to it. 
Booth Set-Up
- When preparing for a show (no matter the type or big or small) make sure you have a checklist you follow. There is nothing worse than getting to a show and forgetting something. It just costs you time, money and aggravation. 
- Take all the show paperwork with you including the information of your booth and electrical forms that show proof of payment. Keep them close at hand as you may need them.
- At some shows you will be given an allotted time to unload your vehicles. Do not be late otherwise you will lose your spot and may have to wait hours for another time. Be quick and efficient when
you unload. Take a dolly just in case none are available.
  - Once in, take a few minutes to organize yourself. It will make set-up a lot smoother.
Finally, make sure to take water, food and coffee or tea with you. Take breaks to recharge (it will calm frayed nerves) and pace yourself. You will have a long road ahead of you (some shows run 7 - 10 days) and apart from the daily tweaking that occurs, it is during set-up that you want to get your booth just right.  

Out Of The Mailbag
Hi Carolyn,
How are you doing? I just wanted to show you the first gourd art I created. I hope you like it. Shaun Wallington
Hi Shaun,
This clock is really lovely with the two koi swimming through the passage of time. Thanks for sending this in. Carolyn  
 Hi Carolyn and Linda,
My newest endeavor is the Orca whale. The gourd came from your farm in the box I received for my birthday.
The base is called monkey wood from the Philippines. It was given to me as a piece of junk - "One man's junk is another man's treasure!"
I hope you like the Orca.
Dave Bradshaw, Timberlea, NS
Well Dave I can see that you've been busy. Love the Orca - you've captured the markings exactly. No one would believe that this is actually a gourd. Very nice work Dave.

It's A Dog's Life
Rat Terrier
 The Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show has opened its door to mixed breed competitors. Until now, no mixed breeds have been allowed in the 138 year history of this elite event.
Three new breeds have been added as well. They are: the Rat Terrier, the Chinook and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno.
To learn more about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show click here: 

Music Pick of the Month
The Artist: Rokia Traore
The Songs:
To learn more about Rokia Traore click here:

            Published by                            Pam Grossi                     Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7        

Northern Dipper 
PO Box 1145
5376 County Road 56
Cookstown, Ontario
L0L 1L0, Canada
(705) 435-3307
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