Leaves by Cindy Kendall


In This Issue: Welcome to the December issue of Gourd Fever. In this issue we are thrilled to feature Cindy Kendall, an artist who hails from Missouri. Using natural materials and a variety of specialized techniques, her art is reflective of the deep love and respect of the natural flora and fauna around her. We love Cindy's art and know you will too.


In December there are many holidays celebrated around the world. Examples include Christmas (Dec 24 & 25), Hanukkah (Dec 2 - 10), Kwanzaa (Dec 26 - Jan 1), Winter Solstice (Dec 21) and in Scotland, Hogmanay (Dec 31). Many of these include gift gifting so we spent some time going through Pinterest looking for ideas of gourd art.


Most have a Christmas theme but there are some examples of some beautiful ornaments that would be suitable regardless of the cultural backgrounds. Gourd art has proven, time and time again, to be treasured by the receiver so don't be shy...get your supplies out and start creating!


Fish by Cindy Kendall


Our trivia sections are always a fun part of this newsletter and in this issue we do not disappoint. We have Colin James as our music guest, a hydrogen-powered train running in Germany, tips on dealing with a visually-impaired dog and a trip to Fez, Morocco to look at gourds. So take a break from your daily chores, pull up a chair with a cup of tea in hand and get hot with the fever... Gourd Fever  that is; 2018.


Christmas Bells by Lori


Winter Wonderland by Lori

Cindy Kendall: Deep Earthy Roots and Other Natural Forms 



Cindy Kendall's first exposure to anything gourd related was as a child at her paternal grand-parents in the hills of South Missouri. Her Grandma would put an enamel pail in the front yard filled with water with a dipper gourd hanging next to it. If you wanted a drink, that's where you got it from.


Cindy was fascinated with the fact that a weird looking plant could be used as a ladle. Her Grandma was Native American and used those roots in everyday life.


Cindy's next exposure was much later at a Native American art show. There was a lady there that emulated black on black pottery using gourds. She had manipulated the growth to achieve different shapes and Cindy thought they were unique and spectacular. 



Art has always been a part of Cindy's life. She use to draw all of the time as a kid and majored in art in College with an emphasis on graphics, drawing and pottery. All of these acquired skills are used to achieve her goals with her gourd art. It is she adds, always a process of experimentation.


Cindy's approach towards design is to encompass nature in some fashion. She is fascinated with fossils and enjoys combining them with other natural forms. As you can see in her art Cindy tries to use natural materials all of the time.


In addition to being inspired by nature, Native American art is a close second. Stitching on gourds sometimes emulates a basket split stitch, a stitch that required lots of practice on Cindy's part. The challenge is figuring out the math of a gourd for precise stitching, lids and specific cuts. Every gourd is different so the math is always changing.



Cindy Kendall's style has changed over time. In the beginning she tryed geometric designs but no matter what, they just didn't appeal to her. She changed her style using things that appealed to her heart.


One image that captivated her was a beautiful willow tree. The key was to achieve depth which is easier said than done. She decided to use a vinyl resist technique and after many sessions finally worked it out. It is empowering as an artist to achieve the goal you have in your mind's eye.


Cindy's hope is that once she retires from her day job she will be able to do more shows around the country and will continue to grow as a gourd artist. It is her dream to meet some of the artists she has admired and to keep pushing herself on that continuous path of learning.


In the meantime Cindy leads a rich life with her husband, adult daughter and her dog. She is one generation removed from being South Missouri hill folk and is proud of it. She loves nature and has the most utmost respect for it. One of her favorite things is to sit outside with her dog and listen to the birds while she works. In those special moments all the troubles of the world seem to disappear. 


Holiday Inspiration! 




The holidays are almost here and in order to get some ideas on gifts I can craft for my family and friends I often look at Pinterest. This site offers a wealth of images on every subject under the sun. There are lots of gourds featured. Check out the links included with these photos to see more.


This beautiful winter landscape was painted by Kim Gladfelter.



Gingerbread men from their special cookie jar...This is what Christmas memories are made from.



Ornaments are a lovely gift for everyone.



Cardinals In Holly by Barbara Krans Jenkins


Out Of The Mailbag

Dear Northern Dipper, I have been working with gourds for a couple of years now and am thinking about selling them at local craft fairs. My friends are encouraging me but I need more information. I know you have done years of shows; would you have any words of advice? Sammy Muncaster

Hi Sammy, Shows can be a lot of fun and profitable too but the key is to find the shows where you are a good fit. Walk the shows you are interested in doing, talk to the vendors (they are your best resource as many do "the circuit"). Take note of the traffic and the layout of the show as well as what sorts of things sell there.

Next contact the show organizers to get the details on booth fees and other expenses (ie tables, electrical, insurance). Do a budget. Don't forget hotels and meals if you have to travel out of town. When chosing a booth location be particular. Remember it is the job of a show organizer to sell space. Sometimes it is not in your best interest.

Figure out what inventory you will need. Do a checklist of everything you will need as this will save you a lot of stress later on. Then get busy building product to sell. Good luck, let me know what you decide. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to email. Lori

Hi Lori, Love your newsletter. Hope it will be around in 2019. Luke Kirkland PS Check out Linkin Park for your Music Pick.

Thanks Luke. Yes the newsletter will be published in 2019. We already have some incrediable artists lined up plus other ideas floating in the wings. Going into our 15th year; it is all still very exciting. Any ideas you may have, send them in. I will check out Linkin Park.  Lori 

"Other Stuff" - Hats Off To Germany: The World's First Hydrogen-Powered Train!

The Coradia iLint Passenger Train

The world's first hydrogen-powered train has just been launched for commercial use in Germany. They produce no greenhouse gas emissions and are cheaper to run than their fossil fuel counterparts.

On a single tank of hydrogen these trains can travel 600 miles (1,000 km) generating energy through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. There is even excess energy generated which is stored in lithium ion batteries.

Alstom, the rail transport company that designed this train states that there are low noise levels and the only exhaust is steam and condensed water. It is smart management of traction power and available energy.

Alstom expects to launch 14 more of the zero-emmision trains within the next few years. For more information click here: https://www.financialexpress.com/photos/business-gallery/1317523/this-is-the-worlds-first-hydrogen-powered-train-8-cool-facts-about-this-zero-emission-service/

Looking Ahead: March 2019



We have reached the end of another issue and another year of Gourd Fever. It has been an interesting year full of political discourse, world protests ranging from environmental issues to social reform and Women's Marches. Every day there is something new and it is at these times I like to take a step back to count my blessings.


One of these blessings is the wonderful artists I have met through this newsletter the past twelve months. Each one is inspirational not only through their art but through the essence of their being. They are creative and generous and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank them.


I would also like to thank our readership. This newsletter goes out to thousands of people around the globe and I can't help but smile to myself when I think about how a hard-shell gourd can bring so many like-minded people together. It really is amazing. As a matter of fact it is awesome.


2019 is right around the corner. We wish you all a peaceful holiday season and all the best in the upcoming year. See you in March!

                                        Lori Chalmers


Ideas, photos or stories? Send them our way at 



Volume 14, Number 132


Email: info@northerndipper.com

In this issue:

Cindy Kendall: Deep Earthy Roots and Other Natural Forms

The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper

Holiday Inspiration: Gift Ideas From Pinterest

Out of the Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia 

The Bulletin Board 



Happy Holidays Everyone!



Up here in Sault Ste. Marie the snow is flying. It is not quite December and we already have 1 foot or so. Good thing the gourd business is keeping us busy.


We have been receiving a large volume of orders which is very nice. With some orders however, once we inform the customer of the shipping charges, the order is cancelled. 


We use Canada Post and gourds are unfortunately shipped by volume, not weight. Depending on the size of the order it can be expensive.


But keep those orders coming. We will never ship without letting you know the total before hand and you of course always have the option of saying yah or nay! 



This year we thought it would be fun to do a real close to home show so on December 2 we are going to do the craft show at the local Holy Cross school.



There are some great vendors there and it is usually packed. It will give us the opportunity to meet some more of our neighbours too. Pictured above are a couple of the Christmas gourds I will be selling. Don't you just love the holidays!

Cindy Kendall

"Sometimes I have to wait for a gourd to 'tell' me what it wants to become. Let me assure you it is an exercise of patience waiting to work a gourd."



"I bought my first gourd at a local pumpkin patch and proceeded to stare at it for two years. I tryed to research gourds as much as I could but at that time there wasn't much on the Internet."


"I finally got up the nerve and created my first gourd piece. (Pictured above) I still have it to show how far I've come.

Eventually I learned there was a Missouri Gourd Show and it was there I bought a few more gourds. Many were Cannonballs as I just love their symmetry."



Words of Advice for New Artists

1.) Don't be afraid to fail - that is how you learn and grow. You will (most likely) make mistakes. Learn from them  and push on to the next one.


2.) Wear the filter face masks and stay safe working with supplies and the gourd itself.



"I mature with experience each time I do a gourd. I learn what to do and not do.No matter what technique I'm attempting, my attention to craftsmanship has always been important."



"I am not concerned with social issues when it comes to my art. In my mind gourds are meant to be pleasing to look at."


"I hope my gourds evoke a sense of nature. I don't think they will change the world, but maybe in the life of one person they will bring joy."



"I go to one show per year now; the Missouri Gourd Society Show. I am working towards having enough to take to a gallery. I do have a website, but mostly sell my vinyl patterns and gourd stands."


"Most of the gourds I do I save for the show but I am working hard and expect to have some for the website this winter.



Check out Cindy's website. There is art there that is not featured in this article. 


Holiday Inspiration!



This cool sleigh was created by Kim Gladfelter at her Poplar Hollow Studio.



This jolly fellow was painted by Cindy Johnson.



These sweet chickdees were posted by From Gram's House.



This adorable little mouse was created by Miriam Joy.



Now that you have lots of ideas get busy. Put your own slant on things and you will be creating one of a kind art for the ones you love.

Gourd Sighting 



Drums and other musical instruments were seen in a shop in Fez, Morocco in the series Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure. This excellent series was seen on the Knowledge TV station Sept 6, 2018.


To learn more:



In A Dog's Life



 Ozzie is rapidly going blind. He has corneal edema which causes the normally clear cornea to become water-logged and swollen.


His eyes now appear bluish-white and for him, it is like looking through a heavily steamed up window. We have had to take steps in order to make Ozzie feel safe and secure. They are:


1.) Don't move the furniture around unless it is absolutely necessary.


2.) Keep the water and food dishes in the same place.


3.) Put up safety gates where there are stairs. Ozzie took a couple of tumbles down our basement stairs. It's a good thing he is small and sturdy. 


4.) Check your yard and house for hazards. Anything sharp or dangerous that can be run into must be removed.


5.) Put black rubber mats on your outdoor steps. It will give extra grip when going down.


6.) Keep your dog on a long leash when out for walks. It gives the dog a sense of security and keeps them safe. Talk to them when coming to curbs, etc.


7.) Let people know that your dog is blind. That way they can give some warning before petting. Blind dogs get startled easily and do not need that additional stress.


8.) Take your dog to the vet. There are eye ointments and medications that will help. 


Dogs who are blind or who are losing their sight can still have rich, full lives. Following a few of these rules will allow your pup  a secure, safe and happy life.

Music Pick of the Month

The Artist: Colin James

The Songs:

40 Light Years 






To learn more about Colin James click here:


 Published by Pam Grossi Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7 bell.grossi@shaw.ca

Northern Dipper 
Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario, Canada
1 (705) 817-8000

Back issues of Gourd Fever are available on our website. Check it out!

© Northern Dipper 2018. 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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