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Gourd Elephant by Cara Bevan

In This Issue: Cara Bevan is an artist who paints and sculpts using various mediums including gourds. Cara is an artist who excels in her art. As a young child she interpreted her world through drawings and sketches and now, as an adult, is quickly becoming known as an up and coming wildlife artist. A fascinating personality, please welcome Cara Bevan to this spring-time issue of Gourd Fever

     Cara Bevan's Devil Claw Sculptures
The series "It's Showtime" closes with a look at the details. It is the day before the show opens and your booth is set up and looking good. How is your signage? Are the staff keyed up and ready to sell? These are things that will be looked at today along with other valuable points.
     First Spring - A Painting by Cara Bevan
It is May and by month's end all the gourd seedlings you have started will be planted outside. It is such a pretty sight to see them all in the ground and to know that all your weeks of babying have paid off. Now to get them established and thriving in the garden. With a hot summer and a few tips it will ensure a good crop of gourds next fall.
The trivia is good and the music pick is too so pull up a chair, book off some time and enjoy.  

Cara Bevan: The Beauty of Realism

Cara Bevan has lived in the small city of Trinity, NC on a 128 acre property which has literally been untouched by civilization. A fraction of it is being used as a hobby farm for a large variety of domesticated animals. Part of it is a refuge for rescued wild animals. With this in mind it was inevitable that Cara was drawn to wildlife art.

Cara's introduction to gourds began early as her grandmother has been growing and using gourds for more than 20 years. It was not until Cara graduated from high school that she thought of using gourds for sculpture.
By that time Cara was already an artist in 2-D mediums. Her style was set in realism, which suited her perfectionist nature and fine eye for detail. A proficient drawer Cara initially preferred working with colored pencils but now prefers working with acrylic paints. Stating that she often considers gourd sculpting as a hobby, it's slowly becoming just as important to her as painting. 
Cara is like a kid in a candy store when hiking through the woods. As a nature lover she looks for all of those things that make life special. From the strange shape of a towering cedar tree to a funny little bug crawling over bright green moss, Cara enjoys and values it all.
When sculpting Cara submerges herself in her subject's shape. She tries to understand and appreciate the textures and individual patterns and when painting animals, she connects with them and delves into all the little details that make them real in spirit and in life. The challenge of realism drives her in every scale, feather, hair or wart painted or sculpted.
Cara states that over the years her style hasn't changed much but her perception of things has. For example sculpting began in 2007 and she believed that her turtles were good. Now looking back she realizes that she didn't have the capacity to make them as real as she does now. Better materials and tips and tricks have helped too... "My aim has always been the same, now I just know how to do it better."
      Gourd Stag Beetle
In a discussion with Cara about art in general, her opinion is that in this digital age traditional art is becoming more scarce but also more important. She sees art as an expression of life, feelings, ideas and passion. With a sculpture, it can have a thousand interpretations and mean whatever the viewer needs it to be. It serves to slow down the digitally-hyped brains and make us think. It can bring back a little curiosity and wonder and quiet all those thoughts of the day.
In the future Cara plans to do what she has always done. Teaching is not in the cards right now but Cara does do classroom presentations and demonstrations. She would love to exhibit through more galleries and shows and if any gallery or show is looking for a new artist, they are welcome to contact Cara. 
Currently Cara lives with her parents on a 128 acre property with 17 tamed and fixed cats (they adopted Cara's family - they are the family's fur babies), 3 goats, 3 llamas, a horse, 2 emus, chickens, peacocks, ducks, turkeys and many wild animals that have been rescued. Cara's mother, Kay Bevan, is a potter with the small business Four Paw Pottery; her father Ricky Bevan is the carpenter and owner of Ricky L. Bevan Construction. Her sister Amber Bevan is an aspiring author of young adult fantasy.
Cara still works in various art mediums including devil claw sculpture, drawing, pen & ink, colored pencil, unique/recycled sculpture and designing. She has had a book of her painted work published which can be seen on her website. Her latest project is a children's book which is currently being published and will be available sometime in 2014.  

It's Showtime: The Details 

In the first two installments of "It's Showtime" we talked about how to find a show, booth location, design and set-up. Now we are going to delve into the details. 
Lighting: We cannot stress the importance of
good lighting at a show. It creates focus and elevates the overall appearance of your booth. It projects an inviting atmosphere which will result in sales.
Lighting does not need to be expensive although it does have to be approved at most shows. For example clamp-on goose neck lamps work well in many situations and you can pick these up in places like Home Depot. Make sure you have good extension cords and lastly, read the electrical forms from the show organizers well as some shows have restrictions. 
Table-Coverings: Invest in some nice fabric or table cloths that don't clash with your products. Nothing is worse than a booth that looks cluttered and a busy cloth, combined with product, can do that. Check to see if it needs to be fire-proofed.  
Price Points: Try to have a range of pricing. Always include some lower priced impulse items at your table as these are items that everyone will want to buy. 
Signage: Do not ever under-estimate the importance of good signage in a booth. It should be simple, easy to read and should always have a price on it. Keep it short and to the point and make it attractive and fun. For example at a spring gardening show your signs could be shaped like flowers. Price your individual products as well as people like to pick up an item and see a price. (It will save you telling them the price all day long!)  
The Float: Prepare to accept credit cards and debit cash transactions. Most people at a trade/craft show pay with Visa or debit. For cash transactions make sure you have enough change and dollar bills. Cheques - good luck tracking down the owners after the show if their cheques bounce!
Staff: This aspect of a show is very important. Staff should be knowledgable about the products that you are selling and more importantly they should be friendly and energetic. Make eye-contact and have a few opening lines "How are you today? Are you familiar with gourds?" It opens up the road for dialogue.
If you are going to have a chair in your booth make it a high stool. It will bring you up to eye-contact level. 
Lastly, if the show has been slow don't let it affect your customer service. All of us show folks have been in that position and a slow show produces low energy and sometimes low moral! Be friendly and professional at all times as it is your reputation at stake.
Now you have the basic tools for trade shows. As one who has exhibited at shows in Canada, the US, Europe and Asia I can honestly say that the lifestyle was exciting. So take the plunge, build your inventory and go out and introduce yourself and your art to the world. Good luck and have fun! 

The Gourd Gardener: Getting Ready To Plant Out
These seedlings are ready for the ground.
The weather is getting warmer and your seedlings should be getting large and strong. Planting out will happen at the end of the month and there are a few things you may want to consider. They are:
1.) Location: Gourds love heat and rich soil which will influence where you plant. The vines are strong and long so plant where you have lots of room or grow up on a trellis or fence. If you use a trellis make sure it is strong. (If you are growing large heavy gourds plant on the ground.)
2.) Soil Preparation: This is very important. Gourds love a rich soil so enrich it with lots of dug-in compost. Warm the soil a couple of weeks before planting by cutting open large black garbage bags and spreading over your planting site. Hold the corners down with rocks, soil or wood. When planting tear a hole in the bag, dig a hole and pop your seedling in. (During the growing season the bags will also keep down weeds and hold in moisture.)
3.) Hardening Off: Once the temperatures starts warming up place your seedlings outside in a sunny sheltered spot. Take them in at night when the temperatures drop. This will prepare them for the outdoors.  

 Looking Ahead: July 2014 

            For you my dear... 

NEXT ISSUE:  We are honored to have with us Phyllis Sickles, a woman whose life has been all about art. Working as an art teacher for 32 years she is now bringing together that wealth of experience and creativity with her carved and sculpted gourds. Phyllis's work is amazing and we look forward to sharing it with you in July.

We will be checking in with our gourd gardeners to see how everything is progressing. At this time of year insect pests can be just that - pesty - and mildews can be a problem as well. These and other growing topics will be something that will interest you out in the gourd garden. 
Lots of mail is sitting here ready to make an appearance. Unfortunately we ran out of room in this issue so we'll get caught up in July. Until then relish the lovely days of spring. Maybe we will see some of you at Art In The Park in Windsor in June.                            All the best,
                         Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond 
PS If you have any stories, comments or photos that you would like to share in this newsletter please send to


Volume 10, Number 108 


In this issue:

Cara Bevan: The Beauty Of Realism 
The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper

It's Showtime: Looking At The Details
The Gourd Gardener: Getting Ready To Plant Out

Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia

   The Bulletin Board


Attention Decorative Painters 
We have a spring sale for you!
 If you use gourds as your canvas you will want to stock
up while you can at this incredible price.
$3.00 each! 
We have lots of pretty gourds in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are not thick enough for carving but are perfect for painting.
$3.00 each! 
You tell us how many and we will pick a variety of sizes of 5 inch in diameter and larger. At this special price, custom requests of size and shape cannot be filled. To place an order click here: 
The schedule is up and Carolyn is introducing some new classes including "Rimming With Suede" and "Iridescent Textured Vase"  Check it out at:
"Art in the Park"
Dates: June 6-8, 2014 
Where: Windsor, Ont 
"Art in the Park" features
275 artists and artisans from Ontario, Quebec and Michigan. Held in the historical gardens and grounds of Willistead Manor, this is one summer show that should not be missed. For more click here:

Cara Bevan
"I don't know where the creations will take me, but I am an artist, and I live to create and share my passions."  

"My very first experience with gourds was in 2007 when my grandmother brought me a maranka and said, 'I don't know what to do with this. You're creative, try and make something.' The first thing I saw was a turtle, and once I made that things just took off."
Gourd Frog
"Leaning towards animal realism is getting as close to real as possible. When working, I try to enhance the gourds into their animal forms, which isn't hard when Mother Nature has done half the work."
 Gourd Cat
Advice For New Artists
"Aim high and have confidence in yourself and what you can do. Realize that art is one big adventure with many twists and turns...aim to please yourself above any other."
"Don't worry about failures - I've had many and I am sure there are more to come. Love what you do, and be kind to other's ideas and perspectives as well."
"If you put your heart and soul into everything you do, people will notice. You will grow as an artist and will be successful." 
A Band of Colorful Budgies 
 To learn more about Cara's art                     click here:
To join in her blogs click here:

Gourd Sighting
The other day while sitting in
the dentist's waiting room I spotted a gourd sighting on the front cover of Better Homes and Gardens. Love this magazine - even the old issues!
Sylvia Doyle 

     It's A Dog's Life      

Mickey and Ozzie 
 Ozzie, the small white curly-haired dog pictured above, came to visit Mickey for 3 months this winter. Ozzie is a rural Ontario dog who lives in a one-pet household.  Consequently there was an adjustment period where he had to learn to live in a pack with 1-2 other dogs, 3 cats and chickens. 
Ozzie travels back and forth by plane in a crate which he hates. He made it out here with few problems but on the return it took 4 tries at the airport, a new crate (this 25 lb. pup is a whirlwind when it comes to a crate) and 2 different sedatives until we found one that worked with a double dose.
We had to get his nails trimmed as he gashed the sides of his old crate and destroyed the door. One thing about Ozzie, once he gets something in his head, he is determined.
Our advice to those who are getting a young pup and who intend to travel, crate-train them at an early age. There is a lot of information on the Internet and it will save a lot of stress later on.
In the meantime Ozzie finally made it back home safe and reasonably sound and next year, when it comes to travelling, we are ready for him!  

Music Pick Of The Month
The Artist: Sophie Hunger
The Songs:
Le Vent nous portera
Leaving The Moon
To learn more about Sophie Hunger click here:

"Other Stuff"
The Banana: A Perfect Food Even In 1926
- Over 100 billion bananas are consumed annually in the world, making bananas the 4th largest agricultural product in the world, following only wheat, rice and corn.
- Eating a banana can cheer you up. They are the only fruit to contain amino acid tryptothan and Vitamin B6 which together helps the body produce serotonin - the natural chemical which alleviates depression. (It's also found in Prozac.)
- Way back in 1926 a cookbook was written about bananas "Yes, 100 Ways To Enjoy Bananas." It was published by Bauerlain in New Orleans, LA.

            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
© Northern Dipper 2014. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be used in any form without prior written permission from the authors. 
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