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Lutins or Elves by Quebec Artist Andrée Piche
One morning I woke up and was aware that I didn’t know the elf of my house. So I met him in a shamanic journey. It is a very amazing elf with little bright eyes, a very small nose, a round hat and he is very dirty, living in the fire place: a very busy little guy. That afternoon, in my studio looking at the small gourds, I saw small elves. So I painted them.
In This Issue: We are very pleased to present Quebec artist Andrée Piché. Andrée is a fascinating woman who has had an exciting career as a teacher and researcher, and who, in addition to this, is an accomplished painter and gourd artist!
This past year we have featured many fabulous artists and have published many excellent tutorials. This month we are going to repeat one of our favourites, Catherine Devine’s “Faux Raku Using Gilders Paste & Crackle” It is easy to follow and the completed effect is of museum quality.
There will also be Reader's Corner. This is really your corner; feel free to send pictures and stories in - we would love to hear from you. There are gourd sightings and trivia and just think, the days are now getting longer. We are that much closer to spring, let's include an article on gourd seed and genetics!
Linda and Carolyn will be returning to Guatemala in
the spring to load up another container of gourds for
the North American market.
Need a break after the holidays?
10% off all Guatemalan gourds
with no cleaning charges
(That alone is a $1.50 savings per gourd.)
On sale, cleaned Guatemalan gourds,
thick walled, beautiful tan colour, this sale will
not happen again in the near future!
Take advantage this month and stock up.
2006 Apples and Warties must go.
30% off all Apples and Warties
Warties are very cool gourds, particularly as birdhouses
or containers. At trade shows they are always the first to sell out.
To view Lonnie and Twyla Money's art click here.
Sales are applicable for both Internet orders
and farm visits.
Must be shipped in the month of January.
To view dried gourds click here.
For DIRECTIONS To Northern Dipper
To view a map of the location of Northern Dipper
Featured: Quebec Artist
In my workshops, I use different techniques to
show people that they don't have to be artists
to do beautiful creations...
I use rattles for shamanic work. I had tried for many years to do my own rattles with garden gourds. Each time they rotted. I tried to dry them in many ways with the same result until I read some information about hard shell gourds. After that it was easy.
I have University degrees in teaching, psychology, counselling and Fine Arts. I have worked in the field of education (teacher, counsellor, psychologist, and researcher) for thirty-five years. I have now been retired for 1 1/2 years. Youppi !!! I always had artistic activity (drawing, painting, watercolour, soft pastel, acrylic) and craft leisure like clay, beading, quilting, weaving, and tapestry.
I live in a very, very small village, located on a mountain and in the forest. I have no children, just a very big red cat: Bréone. Bréone means “red cat” in old celtic language.
In 1999, I was very tired of my job and took a 6 month break. I met a wonderful woman who initiated me through a week-end workshop to shamanic work. I have continued to take workshops with different shamans and have learned most of all from the spirits. I live the shamanic way: to be aware and in touch with the spirits of nature that surround me: trees, land, elements, birds, animals and so on. I honour them each day. I teach people, through workshops, how to find their power animal, to honour him/her and to do shamanic journey. I teach them how to meet their healing ancestors and to heal their spirit themselves.
I used tint with collage for the one rattle at left and acrylic for the middle. The third rattle is pyrography.
I searched for information on gourds on the web and found the Northern Dipper site. I was so happy, ordered some gourds at the end of 2005 but I didn’t know about the sizes and the forms. I received very big ones – too large for rattles. I ordered a second time: too small. The third time it was the right size and form. But, what to do with the first ones??? Last spring I tried to do a bowl. I liked the result and much more important I had a lot of fun doing it. That was the beginning for the bowls.
I used coloured pencils for this mandella rattle.
During that break of 6 months, being a painter, I decided to paint only animals with soft pastel. I try to express through my painting the spirit, the life of the animals. I use my own photos and in the summer I go into the forest or the Wild Park to meet them. I like very much to do that. I became a professional artist; a link to my paintings is at the end of this article.
This container is an Apple gourd. The handles are cut gourd
and a small piece of wood which I collected from the forest.
I use different mediums and like all of them. I choose the medium the most appropriate to the subject and the result I want. I like very much the Gilders Paste. In each rattle I put a small crystal that is the soul of the rattle. When someone wants a rattle with his/her animal power and doesn’t know who he/she is, I first do a shamanic journey to meet his/her animal. After that I blow the spirit of the animal in the rattle and put in the crystal and other seeds or small stones. I close it with the handle and finish the painting. That is the way I work when someone doesn’t know his/her power animal. These are commissions. I don’t have to be at the side of the person.
Tortue Terre / Tortoise Rattle
The rattles that I do freely (without commission) are sold in a boutique “La maison de la courge” in Quebec. It was France Benoit (Many of you know her. She is a great artist.) that spoke to me of that place. There is also here in my village the “dépanneur” Maple Grove who sell my work.
Happy gourders showing of their rattles made in
I have also taught tai ji chuan and qi gong since 1999 and have practiced martial arts for 15 years.
If someone is interested in having a rattle with her/his own power animal, write to me at email@example.com
Andrée does not have a Website but you can see her paintings at:
To learn more about France Benoit, another Quebec painter and gourd artist mentioned by Andrée, click here. Once in, click on Issue 10.
Quebec is a beautiful province in Canada and is both French and English speaking. Very unique and distinct, Quebec has a strong art culture.
To learn more about Quebec click here.
Merci Andrée. We too love the forest - it is a peaceful retreat away from city and village noises. Keep spreading that "gourd glow" and good luck with your workshops.
(All photos for this article were provided by Andrée Piché)
Tutorial: Faux Raku Using Gilders Paste & Crackle By Catherine Devine
This gourd has been painted, crackled and colored using Gilders Paste. The gold decoration running around the middle is stenciled Gilders Paste.
Clean and sand the gourd inside and out. Basecoat the exterior with a wash of copper or gold, and add a coat of black, blue or burgundy acrylic to any area you want to color with Gilders Paste. Once the paint has dried well (either overnight, or using a hair dryer) apply a coat of Crackle Medium. (I used Jo Sonja). If you use a thin coat, you will get fine crackle. If you use a thicker application you will get larger cracks. When the medium has dried, apply a thick coat of Briwax or paste wax to the outside. This will allow you to remove the Gilders Paste from areas you don’t want colored, and protect the sealed coating from the mineral spirits.
Select your colors. Raku colors are black, gold, copper, and iridescent blues, greens, and purples. Using a soft cloth dampened in mineral spirits, pick up a color of paste. Starting with a darker Gilders Paste (black or dark blue), cover all the painted area by smoothing on the paste in a circular motion, making sure to cover the crackle area well. Overlap the edges of the painted area slightly. You are eventually going to cover this up entirely.
Choose another darker color (plum or dark green) and begin dabbing color on, heavily near the edge of the paint, fainter farther down. Your cloth will need to be dampened in mineral spirits to get a wetter application. Continue to add lighter colors (slate, African Bronze) until you achieve the raku effect you want. The last coat will be a bronze or gold, concentrated on the crackled area.
You can add color using a paint brush dipped in mineral spirits. Allow the paste to dry and then buff. The whitish residue left from the mineral spirits will be removed, along with a bit of the metallic colors. Add more gold and copper as required and buff again. Use the copper paste to soften any areas that have gotten too dark.You can also use diluted gold or copper paint to drip along the edge and allow it to run over the colours, or sponge it on for highlights.
Using a simple stencil cut from paper, add a design over the finished gourd to your liking using either the Gilders Paste or the gold or copper paint. Let dry and buff gently. The Gilders Paste is a finish so nothing extra is required, but if you like you can spray it with a light coat of Varathane. However, you do need to seal the inside. You can use the Briwax (floor paste wax) or Varathane. This will help to keep the gourd from absorbing moisture and lifting the finish. Be sure to seal the cut edge of the rim as well.
To learn more about Gilders Paste click here.
Catherine Devine teaches gourd art throughout the US & Canada at various gourd events. She has also won many ribbons and awards for her superb art. .(See right hand column) To view more of Catherine’s work click here.
Gourd Seed and Genetics
Once your seeds germinate and become seedlings you will not be able to tell what is a Dipper or what is a Birdhouse gourd.
Once January arrives, people start thinking about spring and the planning of their gourd garden begins. One of the most important decisions is the choice of seed variety. One question is will it be the shape that you had in mind for your gourd crafting projects?
Choosing the right variety, for your particular climate and conditions, can and will quite often make the difference between success and failure.
The genetic characteristics from the gourd seed are carried throughout the life cycle. They will show up in the size and shape of the fruit, the thickness of the shell and the disease resistance to name just a few.
Sometimes Nature needs a hand.
Julie, Peter and Pam, former owners of Northern Dipper, have pollinated millions of gourd flowers on their farm.
Cross-pollination: Insects and wind are nature's pollinators. A cucumber beetle, for example, will stop at the male flower of the snake gourd and then move onto the female flower of a kettle gourd. Pollination has occurred.
Before we know it we will be out in our gardens looking for pepos or baby gourds
The original kettle seed and snake seed has been genetically imprinted and maintains the characteristics of its parents. The seed that is developing inside the pollinated kettle has the father’s “snake” genes and the mother’s "kettle" genes. The $64.00 question is, with the cross pollinated seeds, what shape will the offspring be and will they be the shape you had hoped for?
This brings in the importance of acquiring true seed, meaning both the mother and father sharing the same characteristics. Northern Dipper purchases seeds from reputable seed suppliers. Also available is a booklet full of tips on gourd growing.
To view click here.
First I want to tell you how much I love the newsletter!! As being quite new to gourding, I find it very informative and helpful. I do have a question I hope you can answer. I've received some mixed
advice about sanding gourds. One person told me I could while another told me I couldn't. Whose advice do I follow?
The inside of this gourd was sanded to bring down the grain.
Thank you for the nice words about the newsletter. You didn't clarify if you were talking about sanding the inside of a gourd or the outside so I will address both issues. First the inside: You can sand the inside of a gourd to give it a nice smooth finish by using sandpaper. After using the gourd scraper to remove the bulk of the flesh, I use coarse sandpaper I found at a woodturning shop. I then switch to a finer grade to do the final finish inside. Make sure you are wearing a dust mask for this procedure.
Do not sand the outside of a gourd to clean it. Coarse sandpaper will scratch the surface of the gourd. To clean the outside of a gourd, soak the gourd in warm water and use a metal scrubbie to remove the mould and waxy skin which covers the outside of the gourd shell. For the final cleaning I use extra, extra, fine wet/dry sandpaper. Wet the sandpaper and gently sand the outside -you will be simply amazed at how smooth and silky this will make the gourd!! Just make sure it is extremely fine sandpaper!
To send in questions to Dear Carolyn! click here.
Red Hat Lady
This was sent in by Linda Witherspoon. Linda has been painting since she was able to hold a paint brush and has enjoyed teaching painting for the past 25 years. We love her “Red Hat” lady painted on a Guatemalan gourd.
I think we have seen this look before...
Hi Carolyn and Linda,
Hi, thank you for the wonderful newsletter. Also, thank you both dear women for my certificate of graduation from the gourd class. I so enjoyed being there. My son said I looked stoned when I got home - Stoned on gourds! Now tell me; what's wrong with that!
Looking forward to connecting again.
Marilyn - Ontario
Thank you Linda and Marilyn for these. Please send in pictures or comments to Reader's Corner. Click here to firstname.lastname@example.org
Calgary, Alberta, Canada is known for the Calgary Stampede, the Calgary Flames (a hockey team) and the delicious Alberta beef. Its economy is booming with Help Wanted signs everywhere - even on the back of buses. There are many changes since I lived there a couple of decades ago! To learn more about Calgary and their week long Stampede party click here.
Royal at the Beach
NEXT ISSUE: Next month we are very pleased to have, as our featured artist, California gourd artist Darlene Propp. Darlene is well known in the gourd community and is seen frequently travelling with 'Gourdoozie' to various gourd events.
We are also thrilled to introduce Jennifer Gillmor, kamala n’goni and bass player. The kamel n'goni is a West African gourd instrument and in addition to a provocative interview, we will link you into Jennifer’s music. It is hypnotic.
We will have a Tutorial to begin the new year and also trivia, gourd sightings and other sometimes obscure tidbits of information.
To finish off 2006 remember what Oprah Winfrey once said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Mmmm, she must have been looking over my shoulder watching that one technique that gave me such difficulty!
On this first day of 2007 we wish you health, happiness and prosperity. Until next month all the best...
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are on our Website. If you have missed any issues there are some fasinating featured artists, 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 email@example.com
Volume 3, Number 24
In this Issue:
Featured Artist : Andrée Piché-
Teacher, Painter, Gourd Artist
Tutorial: “Faux Raku Using Gilders Paste & Crackle" by Catherine Devine
Just How Important Is Gourd Seed Genetics?
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Our Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia
Paintings by Hellen
Beautiful Fine Art on Gourds
To view more of Hellen's work
What To Do With
Those Wartie Gourds?
Wartie Roosters by Artists Lonnie and
Twyla Money. There is a link to their art
at the Ann Tower Gallery to the right.
Wartie in its natural splendor
The texture of Warties make interesting containers and plant pots.
Monday – Friday
Call ahead at 705-435-3307 to set up an appointment.
Sat and Sun - Drop-In Days
10 AM – 5 PM
The Magic Egg
"As everyone knows, dreams are a gift
from the stars. This is a magic egg. It is filled with stardust, which is what our dreams are made of.
Choose one of your dreams: the most beautiful, the most intense and the most accurate. Write it on a piece of paper on which you have drawn stars. Put it in the egg. Lightly shake it every day to coat it with star dust. Your dream will soon come true. All you need to do is dream another dream.
And yes, before I forget: when you go outside at night, look at the stars and wink at them to thank them for having part of your dream."
The egg is painted inside with white acrylic and sprinkled with gold dust. The outside is covered with “Gilder Paste”; a white and gold ribbon is the hinge. A star of clay (and painted) on the top is holding the ribbon. In front, another ribbon is holding the tie. When everything is assembled, blow the spirit of magic inside the egg.
Papillon / Butterfly - A Close-up
For this gourd, Libellule (dragonfly), I
used Gilder's Paste. The dragonfly is
I painted the power animal of a friend
This is my first creation. The gourd was too big for a rattle. I didn't have a choice to do something else!
Workshop participant Nadia
concentrating on her project
Claudine working hard and fast
Gourd vase done with Gilders
Paste but with no crackle
Tips on Applying Gilders Paste
- With finger, sponge, toothbrush, paintbrush or cloth in a rubbing motion or use other creative mediums to produce a unique finish.
- Layered on top of one another or mixed to create different finishes or an endless color palette.
- Thin out with paint thinner to transform the highly concentrated Gilders Paste for brushing, sponging, staining, washing or spray painting.
- Drying time varies depending on substrate and surface preparation, approximately 60 minutes to the touch on dry debris free surfaces and 12 hours for complete cure time. If polishing or burnishing is required allow 12 hours drying time.
Polishing the metallic Gilders Pastes with a soft cloth will produce a gilded finish substituting gold, silver, bronze leaf; nonmetallic pastes will be shiny. If left unpolished the finish will be semi gloss or mat depending on the color.
A little Gilders Paste goes a long way: a 27 ml container covers over 30 square feet
This gourd is coiled with wax linen thread. The pattern is repeated on the other side
This is exquisite. Notice how the pattern on the gourd is continued in the coiled top.
Catherine gets stopped all the time when carrying this lovely gourd purse.
Things To Consider
When Planning A Gourd Garden
Good seeds are the basis of success.
If you have lots of room your vines
will be able to spread out.
In Canada start gourd seeds early
in peat pots.
New seedlings planted under plastic to
keep in the heat and the moisture. It will
also control weed growth.
This is a dye and alcohol technique which
is very easy to do. Learn how to do this in next months Issue of Gourd Fever.
Red Gourd with Pine Needles
This is a Hunters Harp from West Africa. It was spotted in Ed and Darienne's McAuley's extensive gourd collection which contains gourd objects from around the world. To learn more about Hunters Harps click here.
To view Ed & Darienne's beautiful gourd art at their Singing Dog Studio picture trail click here.
Necessity is the mother
You just need to know how
to pack stuff.........
Bags of plastic bottles
Chickens off to market
A rather large fish
Thank you Lois Dean for sending this in.
It is amazing what people can carry, and
on what, when they need to.
More Paintings by Hellen
If you missed Hellen's link to her art
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1535 Myrtle Ave
Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7
Northern Dipper Farm
5376 County Rd 56, RR # 2
Cookstown, Ont, L0L 1L0