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. 


    Painted Vase Necklace by Featured Artist Darlene Propp

In This Issue: 
Happy Valentines Day
This month we are delighted to introduce Toronto  musician Jennifer Gillmor. During a trip to Africa in 2002, Jennifer made it a point to track down the n’goni, a gourd instrument very similar to the western bass. As a special treat we will be linking into some really fine musical tracks performed by Jennifer and her friends in their band YALA.
We are very pleased to present, as our featured gourd artist, Darlene Propp. Darlene hails from California and is an extremely busy woman who, despite her schedule, manages to fit in one of her many loves – gourd art.  
There will be a short tutorial, Reader's Corner, gourd sightings and trivia. There is lots to cover this month so get cozy, retreat from the wintry winds outside your window and enjoy this February issue of Gourd Fever

Canada Blooms 2007
Northern Dipper will be exhibiting at Canada Blooms, Toronto's largest and most spectacular garden show. Mark March 7 - 11 on your calendar and stop by to see Carolyn and Linda at Booth 17 & 18. This show is very good with lots of unique garden designs, speakers and best of all vendors! To learn more about Canada Blooms click here.
February Specials
  Gilders Paste
$8.00 per tin
A little Gilders Paste goes a long way:
a 27 ml container covers over 30 square feet...
that is a lot of gourd surface!
 Gourd Dye 
15% off
 Permanent dyes that absorb easily, providing a beautiful, translucent finish. Available in 9 different colours.
Gourd Hand Scrapers
15% off-Available in 3 styles 
Cleaned Guatemalan Gourds
No Cleaning Charge -This is a savings of $1.50 per gourd  
  Sales are applicable for both Internet orders
and farm visits.
Must be shipped in the month of February.
March 4th to April 13th we will be closed
to all farm visits.
We will ship Internet orders until March 23.
Seed orders will be shipped between March 23 - 
April 13th. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. See you again April 14!
To view Gilder's Paste and gourd dye click here.
To view gourd scrapers click here.
To view dried gourds click here.

Gourd  Seed Update 
  NEW this spring are the Guatemalan
Croy -Yo-Yo gourd seeds. Once mature these 13" high gourds make fabulous instruments and as you can see are perfect for tole painting too.
Guatemalan Croy-Yo-Yo Gourd
Loofah is a gourd, not a sea sponge!
Also NEW are Loofah seeds. Loofah have day blooming flowers and are easy to grow. Once dried the coarse texture of the Loofah is invigorating for the skin. Loofah are an excellent gourd for bath gift baskets.
We love our seed customers and would like
 to offer the following Special:
Buy 6 packs of seeds and receive a free
Northern Dipper Grow Guide
 This is a handy little grow guide developed to assist the northern gardener in growing hard shelled gourds. It's full of helpful tips & advice on planting, fertilizing, watering, pruning, pollinating & drying.
Northern Dipper seeds have an excellent germination rate.
To view gourd seeds click here.
To view the Northern Dipper grow guide click here.

Featured Musical Artist
Jennifer  Gillmor -
Music is a universal language... 
YALA is a brand new musical project that grew out of a few friends’ mutual love of African music.
Pictured from left - right is Morgan Doctor (tables & percussion)Jennifer Gillmor (kamala n’goni and bass guitar)
and Jayme Stone (banjo and loops)


I play a series of instruments. As a child I studied classical flute and since that time my interests have expanded to include bass, cello and the n'goni. In some ways one would be hard-pressed to find two instruments more dissimilar than the flute and the bass guitar. But I was brought up in a musical family with a musicologist father and he really instilled in me a passion for many types of music. I think this made me quite adaptable in terms of applying myself to expression through a variety of instruments.
Jennifer Playing The N'goni
I traveled to West Africa in the summer of 2002. My Lonely Planet travel guide had a whole section dedicated to music and there I read about this instrument that supposedly held a similar role in African music to that of the bass guitar in western music. So naturally, I made it a point to hunt the instrument down. I expressed this interest to a musician I met in Bobo Dioulaso in Burkina Faso and as it turned out, he had an n'goni and invited me to try it out. I ended up staying several days with him and jamming with he and his pals who were all incredible musicians. It was a real honour for me to play with them and, no doubt, a novelty for them to meet a woman musician. Unfortunately, in their culture, women don't play instruments but are strictly dancers.
I have never made an n'goni, but the gourd on mine broke which is how I ended up at Northern Dipper in search of a replacement. I plan to prep the gourd by cutting the necessary hole, cleaning it and sealing the inside to allow the resulting harder finish to amplify the sound better. But then I plan to bring it, along with the rest of my broken instrument to an instrument maker I know by the name of Nuno Cristo.  I will ask him to reskin it and reassemble it with the rest of its parts. Nuno makes all kinds of interesting instruments -- many using gourds. The main gourd instrument he makes is the mbira -- an African thumb piano set in a gourd resinator.
Being a musician is a hard road financially and so for many years I've been supplementing my income through graphic and web design, various types of audio work, music and sound design for film and dance as well as some photography. I set up a freelance company that encompasses all of this, hence the name Sound & Vision Design. More of my design work of late has been for the web, but I generally prefer designing for print. 
To listen to some incredible YALA tracks featuring Jen playing the n'goni click here.
To learn more about Jennifer Gillmor and her music with other bands click here.
To check out Sound & Vision Design click here.
Thank you Jen - this was fun. Thank you for sharing your music with us. Let us know when YALA cuts that CD so we can all add some great "gourd" music to our collections.
(Most photos for this article were provided by Jen Gillmore)

Featured Gourd Artist
Darlene Propp
"Gourds are God's gift to artists"


 My piece for the Iron Gourd Competition. In this competition, artists have one day, 6 hours, to complete their entry.  And the pressure is on….
I discovered gourds in 1998 when I went to a friend's church for a craft day. Ghosts were the subject and  gourds were the canvas. I tryed it and discovered I enjoyed it, so I decided to give gourds further investigation. I went to a nearby Christmas tree farm, which happened to also carry gourds, and my fate was sealed. It turned out that the San Bernardino Patch of the California Gourd Society  had a booth there. Once learning about the many different styles of gourds and watching the demos, I knew I was getting hooked. I joined the California Gourd Society that day and haven't looked back since. 
 This is a piece I did for the friendship gourd at the Fallbrook patch retreat. It is done on a gourd shard.
As you can see from my art I love to try many different techniques. I would have to say that the technique/medium I'm working with, at any one point in time, is my favourite!  I probably do more wood burning, painting and carving than anything else though. I love doing different things such as wax resists. I have done chip carving with gouges and carving with my Dremel. I also have a Power Crafter, but haven't hooked it up to my compressor yet. I'm really looking forward to getting that tool going and trying it out!

  This is a tiny lidded container. You can see how small it 
 is by comparing it to the penny at the side.
I attend many gourd events and would love to teach sometime in the future. I do take classes at every event I attend. It's interesting because even if I already know how to do the technique, I always learn something new. It's wonderful to spend hours with good gourd friends and come home with a new piece and new ideas.
 An ornament for Gary Ford - I loved doing this one.
It is wax resist, wood burning and paint.


I do compete at gourd festivals and have won many ribbons. I love spreading that gourd glow by demonstating at the local county fairs. And I really liked taking part in the Iron Gourd competition at Welburn's last fall. I've also done a library display and filled the entire display with my own collection! Plus I was asked by the local Master Gardeners group to give a talk on gourds. That was quite an honour and I enthusiastically shared my knowledge with the members.

 Apple Gourd Blackboard - I made this for a Canadian Gourd Society contest and won 1st place!

I've had my ups and downs with growing gourds. Some years I have a great crop and others are disasters but I keep on trying. My backyard is certified as a National Backyard Wildlife Habitat, so it's full of all kinds of plants and fruit trees. Hummingbirds have nested in my yard for several years now and it's always fun to see the babies fledge and make their first flights.

  Gourdoozie (right in the front of course!) went to the Fallbrook Retreat and managed to sneak in with all the little Asian ladies that were made that day. That is the Friendship Gourd to the left.
I'm interested in EVERYTHING.  I base my life on God and family, and enjoy singing in the choir, reading, making jewellery, clay art, photography,
painting and poetry.  When I was younger I was a dancer - Hawaiian and Tahitian mostly, and I played the piano.  I lived in Saudi Arabia as a youngster and have traveled extensively in Europe. I've tried my hand at flint knapping, needlework, making Temari balls, vermicomposting, soft sculpting dolls, and many other crafts.  I would love to learn hip-hop dancing,
sculpting, to play the hammered dulcimer, and to spend a week with an Amish family.
   The Hammered Dulcimer, which I hope to learn to play one    day. To learn more about this instrument  click here.

I have 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. One grandson, one granddaughter and a great-granddaughter live with me along with 2 dogs, 1 cat and a rather large assortment of birds including Ryka, a Miligold Macaw, Scooby, a Blue Front Mealy Amazon and Spunky and Pickle, our peach-faced Lovebirds. And yes, we also have a snake in the house that belongs to my grandson. One thing is for sure – life never gets boring around here!
To learn more about Darlene and her involvement in both creating and collecting gourd art, click on the following websites.They are full of pictures, info and fun.
To learn more about Gourd College Online click here. 
Thank you very much Darlene. You are a fascinating woman with so much energy - truly an inspiration to us all!
 (All photos for this article were provided by Darlene Propp)

Tutorial: Dye & Alcohol - An Easy and Pleasing Technique By Carolyn Cooper
The handles on this gourd were shaped using Apoxie Sculpt. 

 1. Cut an opening in the top of a cleaned gourd. The cut can be straight or wavy, whatever you prefer.  
2.  Scrape the interior of the gourd clean removing any pulp or flesh. Now is the time to finish the interior of the gourd if you choose to. (See Dear Carolyn for tips.) 
3.  Pour some rubbing alcohol into the spray bottle, put your gloves on, uncap those dye bottles and you are now ready for the fun part!  
1. I like to start off by spraying the side that I'm immediately going to work on with a slight spray of alcohol. Randomly dab different coloured blobs of dyes on to the gourd. Immediately follow up with a spray of alcohol. 
 2. Keep adding colours of your choice alternating with sprays of alcohol.  Keep going until your gourd is totally covered and you are happy with the rainbow effects.
3. After the dyes have dried, (you can speed up this procedure by using a hair dryer) spray with a matt or gloss varnish.
4. Finish up by adding any embellishments you desire.  I rimmed the lid and made handles using  Apoxie Sculpt.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial in creating your own "one of a kind gourd".

To view Apoxie Sculpt click here.

Dear Carolyn!

Dear Carolyn,

What is the best finish to use on gourds?

Susan - White Plains, NY
Dear Susan,
The best finish really depends on personal preference and what the project is being used for. Each individual artist, over the years, will find what works for them. Following are some guidelines that you can follow. 
For interior work I lean to the water based finishes as they dry quickly, are easily brushed on and have little odour. Water based finishes will seal the inside of a gourd but do not use it for food bowls as it is not food safe.
If I use Gilders Paste on the exterior of a gourd, I first seal the whole gourd with a coat of hard paste wax. The Gilders Paste can then easily be applied to the gourd. Gilder's Paste is its own finish. 
When I use dyes, I find that a good quality clear craft spray over top is best. These products come in a variety of finishes and many offer a UV protection. When applying it is best to use 2-3 thin coats rather than 1 thick coat. This will avoid dripping.
 For outdoor projects a solvent-based finish such as Spar varnish and polyurethane are more durable than water based finishes. The one drawback with these is they have a longer drying time and may yellow  after being exposed to sunlight.
Hope this takes a bit of the mystery out of things,
To send in questions to Dear Carolyn! click here.

Reader's Corner  
 Funny Little Snowmen - Thanks kids!!!
Hi Carolyn and Linda

I've attached a picture of the snowmen gourd ornaments that I made with my Grade 1 and 2 students.  I've only included some in the picture - we made 25 altogether - but they all looked the same!!! The children loved making them for their parents' Christmas gift. They looked great, even if I do say so myself!


Wishing you both a healthy and happy 2007.

Darlyne Pennycook


PS These are the gourds I won in your Open House Draw  ...and I thank you once again. 

Hello Northern Dipper, 
I was checking out your website and am interested in growing gourds. I looked at your seed section but didn't see any photos so I don't know what the gourd seeds will produce. Do you have photos available so that I would be able to figure out what I can order?  Also can I order through the mail? I'm not excited about credit cards on the Internet.
Hi Debbie,
Thank you for your email. Re: Seeds and types: Go into our website and under Supplies for Gourd Artists you will find the Dried Gourds section. Take a look at  the types of gourds we carry and through this you will be able to determine what shapes / types of gourds 
you want to end up with. Go back to the main menu, click into Gourd Seeds and match the shapes / types to the seed varieties.
Re: Credit cards and the Internet. Yes you can order through the mail. Our website is secure but we do like to give our customers options. You can also phone in your seed orders with a credit card number. Just leave a message and we will get back to you.
Many regards,
If you did not happen to see the article "Let the Gourd Times Roll!"  by Mag Ruffman click here.
Please send in pictures or comments to Reader's Corner. Click here to

 Patti Palmer Survived!
Southern Ontario finally received its first blast of winter. Our friend Patti got up at 3:00 AM to branches lying on her hydro lines and in her yard, glare ice everywhere...a very treacherous morning. Patti could not resist grabbing her camera to take advantage of Nature's deadly beauty that was surrounding her.
Thanks Patti for the pics.

NEXT ISSUE:   We are very excited to present Dan Ladd, an artist who, for the past 25 years, has been creating living sculpture with trees, and more recently, with moulded gourds. Dan's work is truly impressive -this is something you will not want to miss! 
We will also be featuring Sheila Jacobs, author, gourd artist and instructor. The "Fairy Gourdmother" is well known in Victoria, BC and her work can be found in many galleries around town. Sheila's dream is to have a 'Gourdfest West' - join us next month to meet this amazing woman. 
There will be a March tutorial plus trivia, gourd sightings and information. Keep those letters coming in. We enjoy them so much and they do keep us on our toes!
This stray, starving, injured pup was picked out of a ditch by
a good Samaritan. Ella, as she was promptly named, had been
hit by a car.  She had absolutely no manners or training whatsoever but she had personality plus. Now two years later she is a charming pup, loyal and a constant companion to her young charges. Amazing how a little love can turn a life around.

Happy Valentine’s everyone. To quote Lord Byron “There is no instinct like that of the heart.” This is very true but don't forget, sometimes it is wise to use your head too!  On that closing note, we'll see you again next month.

                               Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond

Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are on our Website. There are 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


Volume 3, Number 25 


In this Issue: 
Update: New Seed Varieties at N.D.
Featured Musical Artist: Jennifer Gillmor- Bringing The African N'goni Home! 
Featured Gourd Artist: Darlene Propp- Gourds and Art, Ribbons and Friends
Tutorial: Dye and Alcohol Technique
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia

             Annie Boquist 
has a website & we're celebrating...
 Annie Boquist is a Vancouver Island artist
who can often be found on the beach
looking for treasures to incorporate into
her art. Annie's natural sense of design
is really beautiful. 

All Washed Up

Bottle Gourd, Seaplam, Copper,
Wire and Stamps
Annie's Hanging Bull Kelp basket with
sea palm. This is a lovely piece. 
  One-of-a-kind pins.
Annie's gourd fishing basket is very cool.


Bushel Basket Gourd,
Bull Kelp and Leather
 To view more of Annie Boquist's splendid
 art click here. 

Young Loofah Vine
Winter Drying Cannonball
at Northern Dipper 
 Monday – Friday
  Call ahead at 705-435-3307 to set up an appointment.
  Sat and Sun - Drop-In Days
10 AM – 5 PM

To view a map of the location of Northern Dipper
 To print out our map click here. 

Jennifer Gillmor
 "The n'goni is really quite a primitive instrument and thus not that difficult to
learn.  The African pros can
really funk out on it in a way I have
yet to accomplish!"
Musician playing the n'goni 
 There are many versions of n'goni.
They basically come in small, medium
and large, with the largest one having
the lowest pitch. Mine is the middle size.
 All three usually have six strings but sometimes eight. They are the bass
version of the kora, which is a much more complex harp-type instrument in that it
has a minimum of 21 strings. This is the main instrument of the griots of West
Africa who are akin to the harp-playing
bards of ancient Ireland, telling historical stories of their community through song.
Good friends 
 Jen playing with Brazen Crush
Brazen Crush
Audiences are captivated by the top-notch musicianship, wide-ranging styles and engaging performance.
Jen has been with Kelly and The Kellygirls since 2003. This is a pop/rock band with very
high energy. The Kellygirls just completed a
cross-country Canadian tour in November.
 I keep myself very busy playing bass guitar and cello in a variety of other projects. One is a funky, jazzy, groove outfit called Brazen Crush.
Our next gig
 is Friday, February 23rd at Mitzi's Sister at 1554 Queen St W, Toronto
Mitzi's Sister has great food and music
and is open 7 days a week.
To view Mitzi's Sister website click here. 

  Darlene Propp 
 "Every gourd shape, each technique, all types
of embellishments inspire me to new artistic endeavours. While I am still in the process of finding my own distinctive style of gourd art, I
am having a great time learning from other
artists and trying new ideas." 
Darlene Propp
I made this ornament for my grandson, Dustin. Orange is his favourite colour.
Gourdessa Pin
This cute pin was made at a Gourd College
Online class with Catherine Devine. Catherine
 is such a great teacher and this was so much
fun I had to make more!
Tribute to Van Gogh
This is the night side of my 'Inspired by the
Masters' piece.
This is the dayside.
Gourdoozie at the office. She likes to keep
 in tune with everything that is happening.
 Gourd and Fused Glass Necklace
Darlene has been involved in many gourd exchanges. Here are some pieces that she
has both given and received .
This beautiful little pot was from Joy Jackson
 in the Gourdpatch March Madness Exchange.  
Babur is holding the gourd he received from
Darlene. Samples of Babur's extraordinary gourd art can be seen in his display case.
 To learn more about Babur and his colourful
 gourd art click here. Once in click on Issue 14

Tutorial -
Dye & Alcohol Technique
Some of the easiest techniques can
result in amazing "one of a kind gourds".  I would like to share with you a simple
but impressive technique I was shown
  by gourd artist Sioux George. 
What You Need:
- Cleaned Gourd
- Gourd Cleaning Scraper
- Gourd Cutter (I use the Proxxon saw)
- Spray Bottle
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Dyes
-Q-Tips (For dabbing on dyes)
- Rubber Gloves
Remember to always wear a mask
when cutting and cleaning gourds!!!!

Cover your work area with a plastic cloth.

Preparation - Cut an opening in a cleaned gourd. 
Step 1 - Randomly add dabs of dye to the gourd.

Step 2 - Alternate dye and sprits of alcohol.
Keep adding dyes and alcohol - soon it will look like a rainbow! 

  Gourd Sightings
Law & Order CI
We love Law & Order CI. That modern day Sherlock Holmes NY Detective Robert Goren is brilliant. Two green gourds were sighted in one episode sitting on a shelf in someone's office.
 To learn more about Law & Order CI click here.

Readers Corner
Dear Northern Dipper,

Here are a few photos of gourds I have done in the past, most over ten years ago.

Now I am getting back into gourds and would like to order some gourds and some seeds....Thank you, Bobbie Scarfe

 Bobbie Scarfe's Winter Scene
South-western scene 
 Back of above gourd
 Thank you Bobbie for sending these photos in. Your work is very original...we like it alot!

It's all in the angle... 
Thanks D-Man - keep those lines open.
(These pics are circulating the Internet I
believe. If anyone knows where they began
 let me know and I will give credit.)

Designed & Published by
Pam Grossi
1535 Myrtle Ave
Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7

 Northern Dipper Farm
5376 County Rd 56, RR # 2
Cookstown, Ont, L0L 1L0
705/435-3307 Forward this newsletter to a friend Unsubscribe from this newsletter
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