Maxene & Geoff: The Artists Behind Australia's Mothar Mountain Gourds
The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper
The Gourd Gardener: The Harvest
Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia
The Bulletin Board
September, October and November workshops are up on the Northern Dipper website and there are far too many to list here.
Here is a small sampling...check out our website for a full listing.
Sat & Sun, Sept 19 & 20
Learn the Leslie Baily technique to sculpting and build a woodland elf. This workshop is suitable for all skill levels.
Sunday, September 27
Come on out, kick back, relax and enjoy the country air while designing your own charming country hen. Every home need one!
"Power Carving Turtle with Dimensional Ripples"
Saturday, October 17
For more details click here and then go into WORKSHOPS listed on the left hand side
October 23 - 24 - 25
Radisson Hotel and Conference Center
For details click here:
Maxene & Geoff - Mothar Mountain Gourds
"Last year was our first year of commercially growing gourds. We both gave up our jobs and said lets give it a go. There aren't many people growing gourds in Australia so it's a niche market but we are gradually finding more people using them for art and instruments. In addition to being commercial growers we are also professional artists."
"Gourds grow well in the warm Australian climate but irrigation is necessary because it can be very dry. We are also in a flood area - this year the water came up to 3 metres below our gourd patch. To give you an image of what it was like; Geoff was collecting gourds in his canoe!"
(Pictured below: Maxene's Chickens)
"The first bird I (Maxene) painted was Pete the pigeon. I took him to the local market with a large basket of raw gourds and everyone wanted to buy Pete. I simply just took it from there."
("Pictured below - Geoff's carvings)
Advice For New Artists
"What intrigues us the most about gourds is coming up with new ideas and what we will think of next. Our advice for new artists is that if you haven't tried gourd art before be prepared to become addicted. If you have done it ENJOY! It just gets better."
(Below: Geoff's gourd-o-phone. The mini model is a work in progress.)
"We are both inspired by nature and by the gourd itself with its organic shape and markings. Geoff likes the gourd to remain true to itself; he always leaves a part of the gourd in its natural state. Much of Geoff's art includes owls, animals. trees and leaves."
"My chickens are really natural but my art birds are just an accentuation of what amazing colours nature already provides."
"There are so many ideas and images floating around the world these days that you can just grab little pieces in your mind, add your own experiences and turn it into your own unique style."
(Pictured below: Geoff's Lamp)
"We would really love to travel overseas and go to some festivals. We would also love to have a place on a tourist route one day so we can set up a shop and hold classes. Next year we plan on having a combined exhibit. Now that will be exciting."
"Ain't nobody here but us chickens."
Song lyrics, Louis Jorden
The Gourd Gardener
Exciting times lay ahead with the harvest. The number one fact to remember is when to harvest...do not cut any gourds from the vine until after the first hard frost.
Harvested gourds require good air circulation to dry properly. If you have trellised gourds they can be left hanging over the winter.
For ground grown gourds they should be cut from the dead vines leaving a couple of inches of stem. Store them on palettes with space between each gourd if possible. Place them on their bottoms as you do not want flat sides. They can be stored outside or in a cold shed.
Gourds will take the winter to dry. You can go out and turn the large ones during this time if you like but it is not absolutely necessary.
During drying the gourds will turn very moldy. Depending on the variety they may also develop a thick white waxy skin.
Lastly clean up your gourd garden in the fall getting rid of all the dead vines. This will rid the garden from over-wintering insects and disease. Good luck everyone! It's been a fun growing season.