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


In This Issue:  "Light - illumination, radiance, a glowing agent that makes things visible." Light comes in many forms and this month our featured artist Tami Redding will be lighting the way with a series of unique hand-crafted gourd lanterns. Inspired by those found throughout Mexico and Central America Tami takes them a step further with one of a kind designs that are suitable for every setting throughout the home.

To further celebrate the gourd luminaire we have a short tutorial on how to create a gourd light for yourself. Easy to do you will be able to put your own spin on things once you have the basics down.
Due to popular demand we are expanding our workshop schedules this year. An extensive selection has been planned for March and we are thrilled at the prospect of seeing old friends and meeting new ones at this venue. Expect a good time with an educational twist because that is the mandate of a Northern Dipper workshop.
We also have an article on germinating gourd seeds as well as our usual trivia section just for good measure. But first pull up a comfy chair while we dive into the world of light with Tami Redding.

The Illuminating Life of Tami Redding


Tami Redding is from Stockton CA and she first became interested in gourds after a trip to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Gourd lights are a distinctive product of Playa del Carmen and at night are so pretty swinging in the tropical breeze in all the storefronts. Tami just had to buy one and once back home began to research how to make one herself. One led to two and now her main business is selling her magical lights on the Internet and at shows and festivals.

Art has been a lifetime love and Tami has spent many years dabbling. For many years canvas painting was her creative outlet until she discovered gourd lanterns. It quickly became a passion and Tami states that it is the lively shadows these lamps cast that capture her imagination. At this point in time there is nothing else that can keep her attention like the gourd lantern.  
When looking at her art it is obvious that it is animals and silhouette designs that she excels at rather than the abstract designs some artists prefer. She states that she gets many ideas from people who see her lamps and who make special requests. Consignment work is a good part of Tami's business; these are real "one of a kind" art.

Tami attends approximately 10 art festivals a year where she sells her lamps and as previously stated does many custom orders. In addition she sells off of Etsy and has a Facebook page. At the shows she is constantly inspired by the responses she gets from people who see her finished work.

Tami is also inspired by the sheer joy in creating unique lamps. There are challenges in creating the more abstract pieces but it is the challenges which help with her art progression.
Over time Tami has found that she has been able to create more detailed lamps with a greater variety of styles and technique. The method is primarily the same; she has just incorporated a greater depth in each lamp. 

Travel and experiencing nature are two of Tami's interests outside of gourds. To date her favorite destination has been Tahiti where she spent most of her time snorkeling and playing on the beach. She also enjoys photography and as you can well imagine some of her nature photographs end up as designs on her gourd art. Meanwhile Tami is busy building her inventory for the spring and summer shows. Always busy Tami lives a rich life - illuminating you may say - partly due to her wonderful gourd lights.

To learn more about Tami Redding click here:

Create Your Own Gourd Luminaire!


1.) Clean the gourd with a scrub brush and air dry. Make sure to wear a mask when cleaning and cutting a gourd. 

2.) At the bottom of the gourd draw a circle into which your light fixture and/or base will fit. Using a Dremel cut a nice clean hole. If you do not have a Dremel a sharp knife will do but it will take much longer and the hole will not be as clean.
3.) Clean out the seeds and pulp from the inside. A spoon will work well as a tool for this step.
4.) Decide on the pattern you want for the outside of your light. Using a pencil you can either draw this freehand on the gourd or use transfer paper.
5.) Using a drill insert holes along your lines. Each hole should be at least 1/4" apart. To make your design more interesting use different size drill bits. During the drilling process hold the gourd firmly as the drill can slip on the slippery smooth surface.
6.) Erase your lines.
7.) At this point you can colour your gourd using leather dyes, acrylic paint,,,whatever you fancy. Some people just like to leave their gourd plain or they just give their work a light spray of varnish to add a bit of shine.
8.) And now the light. At any lighting shop or hardware store you will be able to pick up a small candelabra light fixture and a LED light. LED lights do not burn hot; essential when lighting a dried gourd. DO NOT, under any circumstance, use candles or regular light bulbs. Insert the light fixture and LED light into the bottom of the gourd.
9.) The base:  Wood is a popular material for gourd lamps. If you are going to fashion a wood base you will have to make a hole into which your light fixture will snugly fit. There is information on the Internet about making gourd lights so do some additional research to get some ideas and technical advice. Once done send in a photo. We would love to see your creations.

The Gourd Gardener: Starting Up Those Seeds!

Gourds are fun to grow. Along a fence or up a trellis is impressive; spread out throughout a garden presents a sea of green. The vigorous vines can grow over fifty feet long (you will be pruning later on) and they need lots of sun and heat and approximately 120 days to mature. Gourds dry over the winter.
Once the seed has germinated and begins its journey of growth, you can breathe easily. The truth is that some people have problems getting these girls to germinate so here are a few tips.
- Soak your seeds for 24 hours before you plant them. 
- Use a good quality potting medium. As commercial growers we used Pro-Mix as it was soft and allowed good root development. Do not use soil from your garden as it can contain spores, weeds or bugs. It may be too acidic as well.
- Fill peat pots with the Pro-Mix and pat down. (Pro-Mix tends to be fluffy.) Water. Insert the gourd seeds 1/2 inch deep. Top up the peat pots with Pro-Mix, water lightly and place in a heated greenhouse, a sunny window or under indoor grow lights.
- Keep your seeds watered (not soaked), warm and be patient. Some seed varieties take longer than others so do not be alarmed if they do not come up within a couple of days. 
- For the children get some ornamental gourd seeds for them to plant and grow, The flowers are big, beautiful and day blooming and there will be a bumper crop of small egg-shaped and round gourds...very nice for Halloween and Christmas projects.   

"Other Stuff" - The Importance of Hand Washing!

Did you know:
- Up to half of all men and a quarter of women fail to wash their hands after they have been to the washroom.
- According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of all infections are transmitted by the hands.
- At least 25% of food-borne illnesses are due to improper hand washing.
- Proper hand washing can reduce respiratory infections by 16%.
-More than 50% of healthy persons have Staphylococcus aureus living on or in their nasal passages, throats, hair or skin.
- Germs have the capacity to stay alive on your hands for about three hours.
- Millions of germs accumulate under the bracelets, watches and rings that a person might be wearing.
- Right handed people tend to wash their left hand more thoroughly that their right hand and visa versa.
- Our skin cells are constantly being shed. As they leave our body, each cell carry anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 viable bacteria.
- Damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands.
- The number of germs on your fingertips doubles after you use the bathroom. 
The lesson here: WASH YOUR HANDS! For tips on proper hand washing click here....


Looking Ahead: May 2015

Renowned gourd artist Nancy Miller creates works of art that is a fusion of cultures from around the world. Using a wide array of embellishments ranging from glass to fabric and bone, Nancy's art has been shown at high-end galleries and art shows as well as being published in many books. An artist in every sense of the word Nancy will inspire you with her words, stories and gourd art. We warmly welcome Nancy Miller in the upcoming May issue of Gourd Fever.  
By now your gourd seeds will be planted and thriving in their little peat pots. The end of May (in Canada) will be the time you will be transferring them outside but before this happens the garden spot will have to be prepped and readied for their new residents. In the article "The Gourd Gardener" we will be heading out and talking about soil, plastic bags and fertilizer. Sounds like fun? It is!
Also included will be May's workshop schedule, trivia, and a great music pick. Our mail bag is bursting so let's get your thoughts out there too!  Until next time, stay well and remember, spring is right around the corner!
                       Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond 









Volume 11, Number 113 


In this issue

The Illuminating Life of Tami Redding
The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper 

Create Your Own Gourd Luminaire! 
The Gourd Gardener: Starting Up Those Seeds!

Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia

   The Bulletin Board

March Workshops

Get ready because the spring workshop season is about to begin!
Our March workshop schedule is up and it is new, fresh and exciting. Sign up soon as these workshops fill up quickly.
March 7 - Ringed Dream Catcher
March 8 - Sculpture
March 14 - Mexican Braid
March 15 - Lacing
March 21 - Fall Beauty
March 22 - Celtic Knots
March 28 - Cottage Luminaire
March 29 - Butterfly Vase 
For more information click here:
Gourd Seeds
Growing Your Own Art Supplies Is A Blast!
Add some zip to your garden and grow some gourds. Along a fence, up a trellis or spread along the ground, the reward is a unique plant to add to your garden repertoire. To view our large selection of seeds click here: 

Tami Redding

Gourd lights must look good when not lit up. Here are a few of Tami's lanterns both lit and unlit.
Day and night.... 

Words Of Advice For New Artists 
"When you come across a challenge, just keep playing with it. Don't get frustrated if it doesn't turn out exactly how you envision it; gourds are always a work in progress."
"Each piece is different, it has its own quirks. When working with gourds you are working with imperfect objects, that's part of the art experience."  
"My plans are to continue creating gourd lights. I don't plan on attempting other variations of gourd art. With that being said, I plan on improving my technical skills and progressing in my chosen art. In short, I love getting lost in the designing of my next gourd luminaire." 

 Gourd Lanterns From  Around The World

One of the most well-known artists in the world of gourd illumination is Polish artist Premek Krawczynski, also known as Calabarte. We featured Calabarte in Volume 86 and were, and still are, fascinated by both the artist and his art.    

 To learn more  about Calabarte click here:
 Turkish artist Nurettin Taskaya has exhibited his gourd lanterns around the world. In addition to creating wonderful lamps he also grows his own gourds shaping them during growing into the shapes he wants for his lamp art. Nurettin was featured in Gourd Fever's Issue 34.
Nurettin uses glass beads in his designs. 
 For a YouTube video on gourd lanterns using LED Christmas lights click here:

It's A Dog's Life

Co-Existence Between Animals Can Work! 
 I met a friend the other day who has the fortune (or in some people's opinion misfortune) of "collecting" animals. Presently Erin has 4 dogs and 6 cats. Two of the dogs are strays and four of the cats just showed up at her door. There is also Bruno, the cat from the corner, who would rather live at her house than his own and visits
every day.
Interestingly enough all co-exist beautifully to the point where at various times of the day you can see the dogs and 2 of the cats walking and exploring the fields together. It is a very cool scene.
When bringing a new animal into the house there are a couple of things that should be considered. They are -
Dogs: Some breeds of dogs have a very high prey instinct. Terriers are notorious for this but even these little dogs can be taught to live with cats.
When introducing a dog to cats keep the dog on a leash. Every time he makes a move towards the cat give his leash a jerk to the side and say 'Leave it." Give him a special treat when he responds appropriately. Be patient and consistent during this training. 
Once he masters this let him go leaving his leash on. If he goes after the cat correct him. Make sure to watch him as that prey instinct does not disappear over night.
Use a baby gate to keep the dogs and cats separated if there is a single doubt on the interaction when you go out. Some people use a baby gate to introduce animals as well. They can see and smell each other but the gates guarantee that both will be safe.
Cats: Lock up the dog and let the cat wander the house. This will allow the scent of the cat to scatter which will be the first step in letting the dog know and accept another animal into his space. 
Next lock up the cat and let the dog wander. He will pick up on the scent which will help him realize that the cat is part of the household. 
 Getting back to my friend for a moment, it should be noted that she is not an animal hoarder. Any more cats or dogs that find her will be found good homes she promises!

Music Pick Of The Month

The Artist: Acker Bilk
The Songs: 
 La Paloma
 Stranger On The Shore

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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Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada