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


In This Issue: It is with great pleasure to introduce Claudia Joseph, a multi-media artist who was born with a sense of adventure. Born and raised in Switzerland Claudia left in her twenties and has lived in Israel ever since. This part of the world inspired her with its colour and vibrancy and it is this inspiration that is apparent in her art.

"Colours are my life" is a statement that Claudia has said more than once. Whether it is her gourd or ceramic work, her paintings in thick oils or acrylics, or her beautiful stone and glass work, Claudia's art is distinctive and memorable. Please welcome Claudia Joseph, a woman that is as fascinating as her art.
(The playful sculpture (above photo) is named Fishing Stars and is created by Claudia. The photo below is silicone, a new medium for Claudia.)  
We also want to give you an update on our plans for our new workshops this year and it wouldn't be January without having a great sale. Also included is lots of mail and information plus a healthy amount of trivia to round things out. So put your feet up, take a break after the Christmas festivities and enjoy Gourd Fever's first issue of 2016.

Claudia Joseph's Holyland Art


Claudia was born in Switzerland in the beautiful town of Schaffhausen near the Rheinfall, the largest waterfall in Europe. In her twenties she packed her bags and moved to Israel where she met her husband and began to raise a family. Originally they lived in the town of Netanya at the Mediterranean coast and later moved to Hadera near the ancient Roman city of Caesarea. 

Art has always played a great role in her life. She grew up in a home where both her father and grandfather were painters, and although Claudia put her art into the "drawer" while her 3 girls were growing up, and while she worked for 22 years as a Marketing Coordinator for a large export company, she could not keep it hidden forever. Once that drawer was open everyone knew where they could find Claudia - in her garden doing art!
Claudia has worked with many mediums including painting in oils and acrylics. She has done many silk paintings as well. Claudia works with stones which she finds at the Mediterranean shore and with unique ancient glass pieces and ancient ceramics from the Roman period from the time of Jesus. With these she makes jewelry and mobiles.
Three years ago gourds entered Claudia Joseph's life. She, like many others, came across some gourd art on the Internet and it was a real "Love at first sight" issue. She instantly had the unique idea to connect gourds with her kabbalistic studies. She created gourds with small doors where very special blessings for good fortune were placed. The doors themselves were inscribed with ancient King Solomon's seals; seals that were not only beautiful but also hold powerful blessings.
As time passed Claudia began to make other types of gourd art including lamps which she likes as they are not only gorgeous but functional. Claudia states that she is one of the very few doing gourd art in Israel or at least to date she has not met any other gourd artists. She knows of 2 suppliers and cannot understand why gourd art is such a forgotten art in Israel.
It is only the gourd art that is forgotten however. Israel is packed with inventive and artistic people and Claudia states that in order to be successful one must really promote themselves. Claudia does not do this therefore does not sell much of her work. In Israel there is an expression "I am still in the cupboard as an artist." Claudia smiles broadly when she says this...her joy in art is in the creation, not in the selling.
Although Claudia doesn't refer to herself as a missionary of art she is in fact just that. She sees the artist as having a great role in today's society. Modern life is getting more shallow and faster every day which hardly leaves room for breathing. When those busy eyes catch a special piece of art, it has the power to trigger in their hearts and souls something latent, a feeling not influenced by the media or anything else. Claudia states that she just has to do what her gut tells is more powerful than anything else.
Claudia has been married for 37 years and has 3 daughters and 2 grand-children. She runs a house with lots of pets and a lovely garden. There is no time for boredom for Claudia Joseph; her life is full of love and joy and we cannot wait to see more of her wonderful gourd, stone, ceramic and glass art in the near future.  
To see more of Claudia's art click here:

Beat Those January Blues: It's Sale Time At Northern Dipper!

January and February can be a couple of long, cold months, particularly for those of us who do not enjoy winter sports. If you are one who suffers the winter blues we are here to help you think spring.
For a limited time only we are offering our "Beat the Winter Blues" bird house special.   
This is a pre-set variety pack of eight different shapes and sizes of gourds for birdhouses - all for forty dollars. Although they will not be pre-cleaned, they will have drainage holes, hanger holes and a  1 1/4" entrance hole drilled into the front.
Spend some time and get creative - paint some one of a kind birdhouses this winter. Do one a week and before you know it the two worse months will have passed plus you will have eight beautiful houses to hang for your feathered friends. 
As a note: I have started experimenting using Martha Stewart paints which I have been very impressed with. These are good quality interior/exterior paints and can be found at Michaels craft stores.
To order gourds click here:
Out Of The Mailbag

Hello Northern Dipper
This year I attended a few fall shows and low and behold who did I run into but Gord the Gourd Man, located at your booth at the Ball's Falls show.
I couldn't believe the number of people who stopped to get their picture taken with Gord. It all just added to the excitement of the show - I just wanted to thank you for bringing a smile to everyone's face.
        Jonathon and Linda Greyson - Ajax, Ontario 

Hi Carolyn and Linda,                                               I love your newsletter and never miss reading an issue. I'm trying to figure out what type of gourd carver to buy. I want something that I can use to remove some of the outer skin as well as the interior so it will be dimensional carving. There are some tools that are battery operated as well as electric. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance, Sandy
Hi Sandy, I am glad you enjoy the newsletter and hope you find a lot of the information useful. If you are looking to find a good carver at a reasonable price I would suggest you consider an electric dremel. Carvers that work on batteries are not strong enough for gourd carving. Before you go rushing out to buy a dremel with 100 different bits, Stop!
Take a good look at the bits that are offered with it. You will find the majority included won't be used with gourds. Realistically you will find that there are usually only about 10 or so bits that are used on gourds so it might be cheaper to buy only the bits that you need.
The other thing that is most important to me is that the dremel has or is compatible with a flex shaft. This will help prevent hand and wrist fatigue.
Hope this helps, Carolyn

Looking Ahead: March 2016

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Monkeys are smart, naughty, wily and vigilant animals and according to the Chinese Zodiac Forecast, it would be wise this year to think twice before making changes with your finances, career, business and people relationships. To see what 2016 will be like for you, depending on the year you were born, click the following. I am a dragon and it looks like it will be a good year coming up!

Here at Northern Dipper we are happy to be starting our 12th year of publishing this on-line newsletter. It has been fun and we have had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people whether it be through email, at shows or festivals or out at our farm. It is our intention to continue in the same vein bringing you outstanding artists from around the world, gourd trivia and anything else we think may interest you. Any suggestions we do you can see we value the opinions of the thousands of readers who receive Gourd Fever.

On that note we wish you all the very best in the upcoming year of 2016. May happiness and good health be a permanent visitor and may all your goals and dreams come to completion. Until next time, live life to its fullness!
                       Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond 





Volume 12, Number 118 


In this issue:

Claudia Joseph: Holyland Art Makes Its Mark In Israel

The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper

Out of the Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia

The Bulletin Board

 Getting Ready For Spring!
Gourd Seeds Will Soon Be Available
  I have to be honest and admit that I loved having a green Christmas here in Ontario. The warm temperatures revitalized me and actually got me excited to start my work with my spring planting plans.
In the next couple of weeks, Northern Dipper will begin doing the sequence of germination testing of our new gourd seeds. Once the seeds past their germination tests they will be packaged and ready for sale in February.
Gourd seed availability will be updated on the website once testing is done. If you want to get a jump on gourd growing information you will find lots of information in the previous issues of Gourd Fever found through our website.


(For tips on seed germination go into Back Issues and check out Issue 85)

        Claudia Joseph           (Owner of Holyland Art)

"Art takes me to another dimension. My work makes me feel fulfilled and genuinely happy. I wish everyone could experience that feeling."  


 "Gourds are not a known art form in Israel and it took me a long time to search out a gourd supplier. I finally found someone 30 km away and went and bought about 15 gourds of all shapes and sizes."
"The gourds that were twisted and "crazy-looking" were the ones I loved the best. I could not wait to return to my garden to begin to play."
"During my working career I worked closely with renown designers and have multitudes of Art and Design journals. I spend time on the Internet looking for new trends. Through this I learn new directions and get lots of inspiration."  
"I walk through the streets and take photographs. My camera is my constant companion. I look at the displays in shop windows and analyze good commercials."
"I hike and am inspired by Nature. I think about and develop my ideas and even though a piece of art may begin one way, it does not mean that it will look that way once it's done."   
 Words of Advice for New Artists
"Just start creating something you think of because in the process of work, you connect to a heavenly energy that helps with the flow of creation. Connect with other artists. Today it is much more easy due to the Internet."
"I love to travel, many times on my own. I have been to India, and frequently travel  throughout Europe. Last year I went to Andalusia and Morocco which greatly influenced my art. It is my dream to go to a gourd festival in the US and meet the women doing their work on them."
"I also like to ride my bike down hidden paths ending up in an unknown and sometimes dangerous situations. It is a good way to get the adrenaline going." 
"I have taken a great fondness of working with clay and creating ceramic ware on a wheel. I also create home printed textiles. My husband laughs and says I buy new clothes just to alter them."
"There is almost nothing that comes into my hands that is not transformed into something special. Life can be so much fun. It is all what you make it." 

 2016 Workshops

January and February are a couple of my favorite months to work on gourds. This is the time I get to be creative and start planning what my spring, summer and fall workshops are going to be.
There will be some fun and new workshops this year and of course some of the more popular classes will be returning. If you have something you would like to learn or suggest please let me know and I will see what we can come up with.
This year we will be offering something new. It is "Book Your Own Workshop!" If you see a workshop you and your friends are interested in taking, you can book your choice of date and time. A minimum of 3 students are required for this booking.
So keep this in mind...we will have our workshop schedules firmed up and up on our website within the next couple of months. We are looking forward to another successful year of Northern Dipper workshops....we'll see you there!

Gourd Sightings

The other night we watched an old 1991 movie called At Play In The Fields Of The Lord.
It is about these two small-town missionaries sent to the jungles of South America. Their job was to convert the Indigenous people.
Throughout the movie there were many gourd sightings.


 It's A Dog's Life

My friend bought me the Special Collector's Edition of Scientific American magazine for my birthday. The content was all about The Science of Dogs & Cats. As I have a houseful of both it was interesting.  Did you know...
If you have a dog, you're more likely to:
- Live with family members (compared to the general population)
- Not have a college degree (compared with people who don't have dogs.)
- Be extroverted, agreeable and conscientious (compared to cat owners.)
- Have gotten the dog from a shelter or rescue group (compared with any other source.)
- Lastly the researchers found that people who frequently kissed their dogs had higher levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin. My levels must be going through the roof!
For more information click here: http://www.

Music Pick of the Month

The Artists: The Lumineers
The Songs:
Ho Hey
Stubborn Love 
For more information click here:

 Published by: Pam Grossi Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7 

Northern Dipper
 PO Box 1145
5376 County Road 56
Cookstown, Ontario
L0L 1L0 Canada
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Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada