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

  Mike Peyton's Bear Shaman-Mother of the Clan

In This Issue: Many of us have grown and crafted the snake gourd and speaking for myself, my limited imagination has, for the most part, only created countless numbers of rain sticks and rain stick kits.

This month's featured artist, Mike Peyton, has changed my idea on the limitations of the snake gourd. Mike has had a lifetime affinity with snakes and this gourd is only an extension of this passion. A master sculpture Mike creates animals, shamans and a large variety of other amazing creatures, all out of snake gourds! Each are very different and unique and we know that you will quickly be both amazed and inspired by Mike's art.
We, like many others who do the Christmas shows, worked hard over the season. Everyone was in high spirits and both vendors and customers had a good time at all the shows. One thrill for us was driving by this billboard for the Originals Christmas show every morning. That jolly Santa is one of Carolyn's gourd sculptures; we couldn't help but smile and think 'how cool is that!'
We have lots of mail to begin the year and trivia galore. But first please settle in and enjoy our January featured artist Mike Peyton.   

Mike Peyton: The Simplicity of Geometric Expressionism 

"In The Rut"
Art, in some way, shape or form, has always been a part of Mike's life. His mother was an extremely talented artist, his father an accomplished multi-instrument musician. His grandmother was a 2-D artist and his grandfather, a successful metal sculptor. When it comes to Mike, he has been an art collector (Southwest and modern primitive) for
the better part of 30 years. He didn't realize his own artistic capabilities until 8-9 years ago.
Mike is a single father of 2 teenage boys and like many artists has a regular day job. He describes his art as a "therapeutic hobby." It was just by chance that he discovered gourds while looking on E-Bay for supplies for his then artistic path, decorated wooden snakes and lizards. The gourd he bought, interestingly enough, was a snake gourd. Mike had no idea what he was going to do with it but since he had been doing work using Sharpies on his wood creations he thought he would start there.
With a vision of an Anasazi snake in mind he set out free-handing his first gourd. It took about a week to complete and when done was amazed that what he had envisioned in his mind's eye had been, almost perfectly, translated to his first gourd creation. From there it was game-on. Today Mike is still intrigued and inspired by the natural, one of a kind shapes of snake gourds. His art cannot help but be an original, never to be replicated creation.    
 Gathering of the Council of Elders
Mike has a long history with snakes and reptiles. As a kid he raised them and had quite an extensive collection. He always has some kind of reptile in the house and has tried to pass this on to his sons. Currently they have a corn snake (Buck) and a bearded dragon (Beaudreaux) residing with them. In light of this, the snake gourd fascinates and Mike has found that putting snake gourds together into a sculpture is like putting a puzzle together.
The main source of Mike's inspiration is his own personal art collection. He is surrounded by art on a daily basis and the impact on his work is readily obvious. The "geometric" influence definitely comes from several Anasazi pottery pieces that he owns and it has been indelible. 
When constructing sculpture Mike is inspired with the knowledge that anything is possible with gourds. Power tools, glue, a bagful of gourds and a vivid imagination are a powerful combination. Being a Texan boy he is definitely inspired by the mottos, "Bigger is better" and "Everything is bigger in Texas". Many of Mike's pieces are 3 feet or taller; his largest piece (to date) was 6 feet tall.
The most challenging aspect of Mike's work is getting his sculptures to stand on their own and to remain together without too much mechanical intervention. It entails a fair amount of "garage engineering" but as you can see, Mike has found  success with these challenges!


Oaxacan Lizard

When speaking about creativity Mike states that he is convinced that everyone has a creative talent within them and in many cases it just needs to be discovered. Creation, whether it be artistic or non-artistic, is very liberating and an important skill that everybody should be encouraged to practice and hone.
He believes that artists and their work plays an essential role in today's society, much as they always have. Art provides a window into the creativity, beauty and thought provocation that is in all of us. Mike is constantly amazed by the sheer volume of art that is available and is awed by the quantity of the people creating that art. 
On a personal note Mike has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy. He spent 10-plus years in the Navy as a Special Operations Officer (diving, bomb disposal and mine warfare) and while working for an aquarium, hosted (for two seasons) his own 2 minute segment, Creature Feature, an educational program. He is a sports fanatic; more watching than playing these days but he still plays softball once a week. Oh yeah, Mike also likes sunsets and walks on the beach...(oh, this isn't for Match is it?):) 
To view more of Mike's incredible art click here:

Gourd Sighting

 While travelling in Amsterdam Anna Shaftoe spotted these gourds used as display models for beautiful jewellery. Thank you Anna for sending this in. We love to see gourds in every shape and form and function from around the world, Carolyn 

Out Of the Mailbag
Hi Carolyn and Linda,
I am glad I made the drive; it was great meeting both of you. I spend Friday as a gourd cleaning day...the gourds you chose for me are perfect for what I want to try next.
I have sent three photos of some of the work I have done. I hope you like them. Thank you both for your time.
                                                 Bill Ransome 
Hi Bill,
It was great meeting you too and we are glad you are happy with the gourds. We are publishing your photos in the newsletter as it is very beautiful gourd art. Perhaps you would like to be our featured artist one month? See you again soon,
                                        Carolyn and Linda
Hello Northern Dipper,
This year I decided that I would stay away from the malls and instead take in all of the local craft shows. It was so much fun for a few reasons.
One was that most of what I saw was original and well crafted. I saw items ranging from low-priced stocking stuffers to art I could only afford to admire from a distance. Another reason is that it was very interesting meeting the people who actually created the art.
I just wanted you to know that I loved your booth. It was so festive and you are warm and charming women. I have attached a photo for your scrap-book. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.       Suzi Avery - Gray, Guelph, Ontario
Hi Suzi,
Thanks for the photo. We had a good time at the Christmas shows and in Ottawa a bonus was there were no ice storms! How lucky was that. Carolyn   

Looking Ahead: March 2015
Before we know it this wintery scene will be lost in our memories and we will be thinking about our gardens and warm weather activities.
Until that time the nights will seem long but our March featured artist will be here to help us light the way into spring. Tami Redding saw her first gourd light in Mexico and the image always remained with her. Years later she discovered
gourds and since that time has created many lovely designs of gourd lanterns. It will be an honour to feature Tami Redding and her art.
In March we will have the complete schedule of our upcoming workshops so remember to sign up and get on our "Priority List." Just send us your email and you will get a full listing of classes along with photos and details.
Until that time we wish you a happy and joyous New Year's. May it be a glorious one!
                         Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond 





Volume11, Number 112 


In this issue:

Mike Peyton: The Simplicity of Geometric Expressionism
The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper

Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia

      The Bulletin Board

 Happy New Year!

"Let our New Year's resolution be this: We will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word." Goran Persson
We at Northern Dipper wish you all the very best in 2015! 

 Workshop Extravaganza

Workshops will be starting up again at Northern Dipper in March. Last year we introduced many new classes and they all proved to be very popular. 
The one comment we consistently heard was how much people liked being on the "priority list." This is an email that goes out with our workshop schedules including pictures and descriptions.
Sign up today. Click here & send us your email address... it's fast, easy and will keep you in the know.

      Mike Peyton        "Creativity is nothing more than your willingness to set your mind free." 

"My designs are a reflection of my mathematical and analytical mind. My motivation is driven, in large part, by the therapeutic effect of the process of creation. I am lucky that the end of the process typically results in something that is pleasing to my eye."
 Prismatic Journeys-Transformations of the Rainbow Serpents
" My current design style is something that I like to call 'simple geometric expressionism'. I like the simplicity of positive and negative space and find the use of simple individual geometric designs grouped together allow the simple 'flowing geometry' to appear more complicated that it
really is. 
Words of Advice For New Artists
 "First and foremost, be true to yourself and your visions and be ORIGINAL. Art will not have the desired quality or impact if it is driven by price point economics or somebody else's vision."
"It is imperative that one embraces and enjoys the process without concern for the outcome."
I am lucky in the sense that I have a good day job (in the Oil & Gas industry) so I don't have to sell anything that I create. This can be quite liberating as I can create what I want, as big as I want and when I want without fear of what anybody else thinks about it or whether or not I can sell it."
"All of my "children" have a home already; I'm just hoping that others just find it within themselves to adopt so I don't have to consider moving to a larger house!"
 Ancient Sawback Sea Serpent
" It is important for an artist to understand the source of their talents and the motivation(s) for their creations. My design techniques have not really changed over time but have rather improved. The subject matter has expanded and the level of complexity has increased but the basic geometric design element remains."
"My long term plans for my art is to never stop. I have a secret fantasy to someday make a living from it or perhaps better put, spending all my time doing it. For now I am content in the thought that I always have a pile of gourds, numerous boxes of Sharpies and power tools available so that I can keep on creating." 

     It's A Dog's Life


The winter can make your pup especially frisky but there are certain factors that must be considered during the cold weather to keep your dog safe. Some are: 
1.) Regulate your dog's body temperature. Does your dog shiver when outside? Some dogs; small breeds and short haired dogs may need a coat to keep them warm during cold, windy days.
2.) Protect your dogs paws and belly. Wipe your dog down when coming in from a walk. The ice and snow may contain the chemicals and salt used for clearing and melting roads and sidewalks. Always check for sore patches, cracks or cuts on the paws.
3.) Arthritic dogs: Many older dogs have arthritis and the cold can be very hard on them. Keep them warm, pace your walks and if you need extra advice use Google or contact your vet.
4.) Antifreeze: This is deadly for all animals. If you are using it make sure you clean up any spills and store it in a secure pet-proof place.
5.) Rivers, Ponds and Lakes: Lastly beware when walking your dog around bodies of water. Iced over areas look like normal terrain to a dog and if not frozen deep can lead to a tragic situation.     

Music Pick of the Month
The Artists:
The Toure-Raichel Collective
The Songs:
To learn more about these artists click here: 

"Other Stuff"
In December 2014 a humanoid robot with a head, hands and feet wearing red sneakers flew, as a passenger, from Los Angeles International Airport to Frankfurt, Germany.
The robot, named Athena, was built in Salt Lake City by the engineering and robotics company Sarcos. Athena was travelling to Germany's Max Planck Society where they are going to develop her to the point where she will be able to perform tasks too dangerous for humans. One example of this would be events like the cleanup after the nuclear disaster in Japan.
Just think, it wasn't that long ago when Athena was just the far-fetched thought of a science fiction writer. Now, before we know it, these humanoid robots will be helping mankind in situations that are too dangerous for us. How science can change the world for the better!  

  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

Comments, photos or mail...send them along to:

  © Northern Dipper 2015. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be used in any form without prior written permission from the authors.








powered by  forward  forward      unsubscribe    
I did not give my permission to this sender, click here to report.

This email was sent to by | Print PDF | Privacy Policy.
Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada