Note: If using Outlook click the above bar where it says “Click to download photos”  This Issue has many photos so it may take a couple of extra minutes to download. 

"The dragon's strength lies not in its teeth
but its tail…”


“Wilamena” by Lois Dean
Winner of the President's Choice Award at the CGS Gourd Fest.
Lois used 5 different types of gourds for her dragon. Can you
guess what they are? Details: The skin and belly were free-
handed power carved. The eyes are glass 22 Diamondback Rattler. The tongue was sculpted and the mouth and teeth were sawed out. Lois attached the body, tail and head using Apoxie Sculpt. The arms, hands and  feet are wired and Apoxie Sculpted and then painted.   (Photo by Lea Galsco for the CGS)
 Side view of Wilamena with left wing removed.
To learn more about medieval dragons click here.

In This Issue:  As promised, there are more photos of the 2006 CGS Gourd Fest, which took place on July 22 & 23. This month we would like to introduce you to Oregon artist June Snook. June’s art is very classical and we are certain it will inspire you. On the practical side there is an informative tutorial on How To Make A Gourd Rattle by Carolyn Cooper. Plus we have received a few gourding questions for our gal Dear Carolyn (sorry we will only be able to answer one per month) as well as trivia and entertainment. Keep that mail coming! We thoroughly enjoy it and you will too. 

 Grand Opening
at Northern Dipper (Cookstown) 
Sales, draws, demos and more!
Come on out and have some fun at Northern Dipper's (Cookstown) Grand Opening. The sales are going to be fantastic and there are 2 draws, each worth $50.00, in quality preselected gourds. There will be demos on Gilder's Paste (11 AM and 2 PM daily) and Proxxon tools (11:45 AM and 2: 45 PM daily) and as you relax with some delicious refreshments, you can learn all about the workshops being offered this Fall.
 DATES - 9 days in total!  
Saturday, Sept. 9 thru to Sunday Sep 17.
 Great Sales
 Time to stock up for Halloween and Christmas decorations with Mini Egg, Mini Bottle and Mini Ball gourds!

Minis - .75 each

Minis – 50 / $35.00   

Minis – 100 / $65.00
25% off on farm gourds over 9"
20% off on Apples and Warties - A perfect choice for birdhouses and feeders.
20% off on Dippers
 10% off on Guatemalan gourds
 Are you sensitive to moldy gourds?
   These pre-cleaned Guatemalan gourds will allow you to pursue your love of gourds without the health worries while cleaning.
 To view dried gourds click here.
15% off on dyes
To view the dye selection click here.
10% off on books
To view books click here.
(Sales are applicable for farm visits only.)
    Fall Workshops  
Painted Tree Ornaments 
 Sign up sheets will be available at our Grand Opening for  upcoming classes in the Basics and painting. You will also be able to sign up on line. 
Learn the Basics
 Everything from cleaning to applying different finishes to creating a pine needle rim.
(We are in the process of getting this up on our Website. Please check back if it is not up yet.) 

     DIRECTIONS To Northern Dipper
 5376 County Rd 56, RR # 2
Cookstown, Ont, L0L 1L0
Directions From Cookstown To Northern Dipper:
 Go west on Hwy 89 for 6km. Go north on County Rd 56 for 1.5 km.  Our house is on the west side just after "Eileen's Flowers Galore Greenhouse".
To view a map of the location of Northern Dipper 
The little dot in the blue bandana on the right hand side is
Jade waiting to greet you!
Saturday Sept 9 - Sunday Sept 17
10 AM - 5 PM
Friday Hours - 10 AM - 7 PM
To print out our map click here. 
(Sorry no public washrooms will be
available at this time.)

June Snook 
Botanical Illustrator, Gourd Artist
A Study of Pine Cones
The rim on this gourd is intricately cut. Much of June's art is reflective of the nature which surrounds her on her farm in Oregan.

About four years ago my husband got interested in the wood carving of decoys and animals.  He started wood burning techniques for detail on his "creations". After helping him find information on techniques of wood carving and pyrography, I found the great book by Widess and Summit: "The Complete Book of Gourd Pyrography" was VERY inspiring.


We have a local farmer's market that offered fresh gourds for sale and I bought a couple and learned how to cure them and prepare them. As soon as I started my burning trials I realized just how fun gourd art actually is!  It's like cutting butter, and the possibilities for creativity are endless. 


Then I started searching the Internet for all the information I could find on gourd art. This is when I found the Northern Dipper website. I have used ALL of its resources. I even ordered seed and grew a large area of gourds that first year. Here in the Portland area of Oregon our growing season isn't as long and hot as Ontario, CA, but I did successfully raise about 6 large sacks of medium to small useable gourds. I learned and practiced pollination, which also allowed me to use some of my "botany-past"!
 June, on left, judging a field trial on Echo
In addition to gourds I have other creative pursuits. After college I worked in research and as a medical illustrator for a medical college before becoming a Medical Technologist and X-Ray Tech. I had limited chances to pursue my arts and crafts need, until I retired from work. I love needlepoint and quilting. I have tried just about every type of craft imaginable! I am an avid gardener and have loads of yard work to keep me busy! On our farm I have been able to create an extensive array of heirloom roses. This hobby keeps me too busy in the spring and summer to work on gourds. My husband and I also enjoy catch and release fishing and duck and goose hunting!
My husband and I have field trialed upland game bird dogs for many years. This requires dogs and comfortable horses to compete. Recently, we have become breeders of a special gaited horse called: "McCurdy Plantation Horses"........which originated in Central Alabama from the early Tennessee Walking Horses. These horses do not trot and have an easy ambling gait and athleticism required to compete in field trials. They are also terrific pleasure horses. We raise 4 foals a year from our foundation mares and train the young horses to offer for sale for trail riders and field trialers. This business keeps us very busy as you can imagine. We never get too bored around here!
To learn more about McCurdy Plantation Horses click here
Thank you for this wonderful article June. We love your work
and look forward to seeing another entry at next years
CGS Gourd Festival.  All the best to you. PG
 (All photos for this article were provided by June Snook)

      Tutorial: How To Make A Gourd Rattle
 by Carolyn Cooper   
These gourd rattles are easy to make and are suitable for both adults and children. Northern Dipper have sold many dipper gourds to schools for music and art projects and a finished gourd rattle is a perfect gift for anyone who is musical or likes the unusual.
1.) Choose a dipper gourd that you like. It can either be straight handled or curly handled. As you can see Northern Dipper has bins of dippers in all different sizes and descriptions. 
2.) Soak your gourds in warm soapy water. Some people add a bit of bleach. No matter what you use in the water,  you will have to put something heavy on them as gourds float. (In some parts of Europe they still use gourds as floatation devices when teaching kids to learn how to swim.)
3.) Rough clean the gourds using a Silver Scrubbie.  Let the water do a lot of the work for you. You don't need to totally scrub them at this point. When they are boiled, yes boiled, a lot of the outer stuff is easier to remove.
4.) Using a Proxxon jigsaw and footswitch Carolyn cuts the end off the gourds. Save the pieces you cut off as they will be used for the handle. The Proxxon jigsaws are great for gourds as they are light and make any cutting effortless. The footswitch makes it extremely safe.  (Don't forget to wear a mask when cutting and sanding gourds.)
#5 - Boiling the gourds will harden the shells to produce
a nice crisp sound.
5.) All the pieces go into a large pot to be boiled. Boil for 20 - 30 minutes. Boiling helps loosen the inside pulp of the gourd as well as creating a very hard shell which results in the sound being very crisp. Be careful when removing them from the pot as the pulp inside will be very hot.
6.) Clean the inside of the gourd (after cooling) using a Northern Dipper long handled tool.
7.) Let the gourds dry for a day or two. Make certain they are completely dry.
# 8 - Gourd has 3 sections. Note: there is an extra piece in this photo (D). This is a leftover from another project that will be incorporated into one of the rattles.
8.) Make another cut close to the bulb of the gourd. Each gourd will have 3 sections as you can see in the # 8 photo. Number or letter the pieces. 
9.) Lightly sand the ends of each piece. This is just to clean them up and lower the grain a bit. Glue togeather the sections of the handle. NOTE: When you are gluing the handle pieces togeather you are going to reverse them. What I mean is by reversing one or more of the middle pieces (depends if you have cut the handle into more than three pieces) they should now slide  into each other. The reason for this is that you can use different pieces to create a brand new handle. ie In the above picture that piece labelled with a D does not belong. But by reversing piece C you can use this curly D piece with any of the bulbs or small pieces.
10.) Apply glue to the inside lip of the handle. Take a small wad of Kleenex and put it in the hole. This Kleenex will stop your noise-makers from leaving the bulb and travelling to the handle.
11.) Add your noise-makers to the bulb. Noise-makers can be dried beans or barley seeds, small pebbles or rice and a combination of other materials. Glue the handle to the bulb and let dry. Decorate as you wish.
12.) The handle of the gourd in the above picture was painted with black acrylic paint. Once dried I applied a coat of Sandalwood Gilders Paste. This produced a very rich brown. I then added light rubbings of Pinotage and African Bronze over the Sandalwood in different spots. It gave the handle a beautiful huey glow.
13.) Using the Proxxon power engraver I engraved a picture of Kokopelli and painted it black. I highlighted parts of his robe with African Bronze Gilders Paste. After it dried I quickly went over the outline with the engraver. It cleaned up any spots that may have leaked out of the line when I was painting. Seal with a coat of your favorite sealer. And please remember, always wear a mask when cutting, sanding or engraving.
Send in pictures of your gourd rattles and we will publish them. Have fun...Carolyn
To learn more about Proxxon tools click here.
To learn more about the long and short handled cleaning tools and Silver Scrubbies click here.
To learn about Gilders Paste click here.
To learn more about Raymond Powers ceremonial rattles abd how to carve them click here.

 Gourd Growing In Sept
Some vines may be looking a little dry and ragged. It doesn't matter - don't harvest yet under any circumstances.
September means some time off for the gourd grower. The gourds are in their last 2 months of maturing and they can be left to Mother Nature to do just that. Stop pollinating (if you still are) – there is not enough time left for the babies to reach maturity so in a nutshell, you will be wasting your time. There is no need to water either.


Your gourds are large and most likely look mature. Do not be tempted, under any circumstance, to cut the gourd from the vine. The only thing you may want to do is check to make sure they are all sitting upright. Some may be looking a bit dryed but once again, they are not ready to harvest. A rule of thumb in a cold climate is to not harvest until the vines have been hit with a killing frost. This normally happens in October.


    If a gourd is looking a little brown and soft around the top get rid of it. It cannot be saved - it is rotten and will continue to do so.
Powdery Mildew can still be a problem at this time of year. Powdery Mildew is a fungus caused by a spore, which is carried by the wind. It starts with small yellow spots on the leaves and once established will appear as small grayish white spots. Once it gets hold it will cover the plant and eventually kill it.  
For more information on Powdery Mildew click here.


Cucumber Beetles: Watch your population and do not let it get too high. They will start eating into your fruit and will badly scar the shell. At this time of year however you will find that the cucumber beetle population has decreased somewhat.
For more information click here.

 Dear Carolyn!

Hi there: 

I really enjoy staining my gourd projects with leather stain and varnishing them when complete. Had a bit of a shock though when doing an outside show with some gourds exposed to the sun - how quickly the colours fade.  Any suggestions as to how to prevent the fading?  I have done bird feeders and don't always want to use acrylic paints, but it takes very little time for the leather dye to completely bleach out. Thanks for any ideas.
Mavis Wade

Dear Mavis,

Artists have found that most colorants are not totally colourfast, whether you use wood stains, watercolour paints, water-soluble felt pens or dyes. Leather dyes are a popular alternative to paint. They are easy to apply using a dauber, foam brush or piece of sheepskin and they dry uniformly. It is true however, that leather dyes on gourds can and will fade.


Dyes have an incredible range of colours that can be used separately or as a layering effect. The rich leather-like appearance that results with dyes is hard to beat. Dyan Mai Peterson, internationally known gourd artist, teacher and the author of the “The Decorated Gourd”  uses leather dyes on her unique art. She will use 3 coats of dye and then spray with a couple of coats of a good UV sealer. This method will help alleviate fading. Some artists, when selling their work, will state on their tags “May fade when placed in extreme sunlight.” 


You may want to use a combination of dyes and paint for your outside feeders. For your inside vases and containers you can feel confident that the dyes will hold their colour unless placed in a sunny window. The bottom line is, whether it’s gourd art or your favourite picture, its best to be protected from direct sunlight.

Many regards, 



To send in questions to Dear Carolyn! click here.

To see Dyan Mai Peterson's book "The Decorated Gourd" click here.


Tobacco Plants
It is hard to believe that such a beautiful plant can cause so much destruction to the human body.
Next month we are going to travel to Brazil to meet artist and businesswoman Ana Luiza Lima Sousa. Ana, along with her 65-year-old mother and a friend, create some dynamite gourd art – quite different from what is done in North America. We will also publish a letter and pictures of a school project from Prospect Road Elementary School in Nova Scotia, Canada. The theme was “Create” and these young gourd artists did just that! We will have a Tutorial celebrating that all time favourite day “Halloween” plus trivia and more. In the meantime, see you at Northern Dipper’s Grand Opening. Please make sure to come up and introduce yourself - we are looking forward to meeting each and every one of you. Until then...
                                       Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond

PS The five gourds used in Lois Dean's dragon, pictured at the beginning of this newsletter are:
The head – a large bottle gourd,
the body – a swan,
the tail - a curly dipper, and
 the wings - Marankas.
The egg in Wilamena’s hand is just that -
a large mini egg gourd.  

Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are on our Website. If you have missed any issues there are some interesting tutorials and grow information you may want to check out.


PS If you have any stories or ideas that you would like to contribute to this newsletter please send to


Volume 2, Number 20 


In this Issue:
Grand Opening at Northern Dipper (Cookstown) 
Featured Artist: June Snook -Botanical Illustrator and Gourd Artist
September Gourd Growing Report  
Dear Carolyn!
Gourd Sightings & Trivia

 Gourd Fest 2006 
Birdhouse by Annie Boquist 
Annie likes to incorporate items from nature into her art. The moss and twigs compliment the natural markings of the gourd.
  This is another piece by Annie Boquist. The top is woven sea bull kelp. Note the opening in the top. I believe this may  be a container for a captured fish. 
 The simplicity of Bonnie MacLeod's Hummingbird was truly lovely.
This birdhouse by Melanie Daniels
didn't win any ribbons because there wasn't enough gourd showing. It did however bring
a smile to everyones lips which is all part
of the fun at Gourd Fest.   
  Brigette Thompson's Tree Frog. 
Lois Dean carved the CGS Logo in a demo at Gourd Fest. This is a Guatemalan gourd and as you can see from the depth of the carving, it
is nice and thick. When you order, make sure to fill in the Comment section. Let us know what you plan to do i.e. carve, paint, wood burn. It will help us fill your order and will guarantee that you will be another satisfied shopper at Northern Dipper!


Steve Genereaux of Unconventional Art created this elegant vase.
Steve also makes a line of food safe bowls that can be used from everything from 
soup to summer salads. 
Steve Genereaux posing with his Award Winning Chalice. This is made with 5 different gourds and is embellished with hemp string.
Jeri Toth woodburned this little barn owl.
The gold rim was very original and set
off the gourd quite nicely.
OOPS...We made a mistake... 
This charming green gourd was created by Louise Warner-MacDougall, not by Barbara Bellchambers as stated in last
months newsletter. Sorry Louise...
Sign up for a membership with the Canadian Gourd Society.
To view the CGS Website click here.

June Snook
 "In the meantime, I got to dreaming about all the possibilities for designing on gourds.  I's a chance and a medium to use my botanical illustration techniques."
June with her stallion Tradition.
 June and her husband  breed "McCurdy Plantation" horses. They ship semen to mares across the nation.
June's "Primrose" won a 1st Place ribbon at last years CGS Gourd Fest.
  "I have recently become interested in the Maori designs from New Zealand and their earthy colours that have symbolic significance to them."
"Each gourd is my inspiration.
Each gourd tells me what to put on it. 
I feel the need to put everything "natural" on a gourd. I am not into telling a human story on a gourd. I am into augmenting the gourd's own story with whatever natural design I can come up with to fit each individual piece. Botanical designs have seemed to be what makes me the happiest."
"I also love the flower and leaf design techniques of Art Nouveau.  I just feel for me to use the natural colours of the gourd alone and with burning bring the best of my designs." 
June's Upland Game Bird Dogs

Gourd Rattle Pics
# 2 - Soak your gourds in a large tub or garbage can. Here Jade is patiently waiting. She just loves making gourd rattles!
You may have to weigh the gourds down with blocks as gourds just love to float!
#3 - Rough clean them using a silver scrubbie.
#4 - Cutting the end of the gourd off.
Close-up of cut top of gourd.
#6 - Cleaning the inside of the gourd using a Northern Dipper long handled scraper. It makes the job fast and easy and can be used with all types of gourds.
#7 - Gourds drying outside in the sun for a day or two.
#8 - Line up sections to make sure
they belong to the right bulb. Notice
that the B section in the middle gourd had to be turned around in order to line up with the bulb.
#9 - Lightly sand the ends of the
gourd pieces.
#9 - White glue has amazing contact abilities with wood and gourds.
#10 - Place a small wad of Kleenex inside the end of the handle. You want your noise-makers to stay in the bulb of the gourd.
Gourds can be decorated using a large variety of techniques. This dipper gourd is a Shekere with the net and beads around the bulb end. To see more click here
Different gourds can be used to make different styles of rattles. These gourds are calabash which Northern Dipper sells. To view more rattles click here.
It was the desire of artist Raymond Powers to create works that others
could use to express their own "inner music" that led him to his trademark creations: ceremonial gourd rattles.
To learn more about how to carve this design click on the link listed on the left under the Raymond Powers link.

Gourd Growing In September
It will take 2 to lift this beauty.
Look under the leaves to find the gourds.
The Minis will dry quite quickly compared to the hard-shell gourds. You can harvest the Minis once the vines are dead. 
Marankas are a magnet for attention
 when on the vine.

Gourd Sightings -
at Kempenfest Arts & Craft Festival
  I spotted this gourd while attending Kempenfest, a famous arts and crafts festival in Barrie, Ontario. The artist, Madeline MacLean, was a Vendor. Madeline and her husband Glen are these incredible broom makers. They use exotic woods for the handles and throughout the day, as I walked around the festival, I could see Madeline & Glen's unusual brooms tucked under peoples' arms.  

This is impressive...

Heather Jansch - UK Artist -

Bronze and Driftwood Sculpture

 An artist's treasure - Driftwood and
 tree roots - What a find!
A work in progress.
 Driftwood pony at the beach

To see more of Heather Jansch's Bronze and Driftwood Sculpture click here. 
Thank you Willo Treschow for
sending this in!

Designed & Published by
Pam Grossi
1666 Villa Nova Rd, RR # 2
Wilsonville, Ont., N0E 1Z0
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