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. 


  Dominican Republic artist Juan Antonio shows Carolyn some of his beautifully detailed gourd art. Juan has been working with calabash (gourds) for only 3 years.   

In This Issue: This month we have had a change in plans. Due to other commitments our scheduled featured artist Joy Jackson could not be here. Joy will be here next month instead. 
In light of this we are going to take this opportunity to join Carolyn and Linda, along with friends Glen and Madeleine, on a gourd buying trip that turned out to be like a vacation. It began in Florida and all the way back to Canada, they stopped at gourd farms, gourd events and anywhere else there might be a gourd or gourd related product! They brought home new gourd varieties and lots of new supplies.We will give you just a little taste in this issue. It is all very exciting. 

Glen is teaching Linda a new technique. The Greyhound bus belongs to friends Glen & Madeleine. It was put to good use carrying home thousands of gourds and supplies. 
 Linda Bond's Gourd Art
     Between Northern Dipper & a full time job as a paramedic, Linda does not have much time to dabble. These are lovely Linda.  I really like the pink and violet gourd.

There is also an article on the importance of signing your artwork - the pros - well that is all there is  - pros. Add in the monthly grow report, gourd trivia and your letters; it is almost a guarantee that there will be something for everyone in this May issue of Gourd Fever 

On The Road Again...Seeking Out The Best Gourds & Product For You 
Our mission is simple: To bring to Canadian artists, crafters, musicians and retailers; gourds, seeds, supplies and inspiration. In our search to provide you with the high quality gourds that Northern Dipper has become so popular for, we traveled from one end of the States to the other. On our journey we were warmly welcomed by some amazing growers and we joined in some fun and educational gourd classes where we learned new techniques while discovering new products. We are excited to be able to share these new products with you and will be making them available to you over the next few weeks. 
 PyroPaper is a dream come true for those who woodburn;
PyroPaper Designs make it even easier. 

PyroPaper Designs are original artwork printed on translucent PyroPaper. It's ready for you to cut out and woodburn directly onto your gourds. Each set has 12 pages of printed PyroPaper, plus the basic instructions on using PyroPaper on gourds.
  PyroPaper Designs are available in 4 different sets.
- Butterflies & Flowers   - Animals, Arrowheads & Moths
- Seashells, Feathers & Plants   - Southwestern Borders & Faces 
    This cool looking tool is the 'EasyClean' gourd cleaner that works like a miracle. It is incredibly durable and will last you a lifetime. Easy to use, it attaches to a drill and at a slow speed it cleans a gourd lickety-split...even those dreaded ones with the white foam inside!  

Tackee Wax is a special mixture that includes beeswax and pine pitch. It is used to bead gourds, pottery and bowls.
Huichol Indian Beaded Gourds - From the Collection of Darienne and Ed McAuley of Singing Dog Studios, Ont. 
We hope you have enjoyed our new products. It may take a couple of weeks to get them up on our website. If they are not up yet please check back. Here are some links to make it easier for you.
To view the new varieties of gourds click here.
To view PyroPaper, PyroPaper Designs click  here. 
To view the 'EasyClean' gourd cleaner click here.

 The Final Step -
Signing Your Artwork
by Pamela Grossi
 "Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This wonderful wood burned mask was created by Ontario artist Lea Galcso. Notice that Lea burned in her signature at the bottom of the mask directly underneath the mouth.
The final step in the completion of a work of art is the creator’s signature or mark. Many gourd artists are shy about this important step. In this article I am going to present a few points which will highlight the reasons why you should be signing and a few tips on designing a signature that will be effective and recognized.
 I bought this lovely gourd to add to my Jennifer Henry Collection. In the following photo are Jennifer's initials burned into the bottom of the gourd.



1.)     Your signature connects you, the artist, to your work. Even if your style is very distinctive, without a signature, there will be no real proof that it is  yours.


2.)     A Collector purchases your work for their personal collection. Your signature is very important to them as it identifies you as the artist. 


3.)     A signature or mark increases the perceived value of the object. In the marketplace this can result in quite a bit of money. Would Monet’s paintings be worth as much if no one knew it was Monet that painted them? The same holds true for beautiful gourd art.


4.)    It gives your work long term recognition and ownership meaning that if your art outlives you, it is essential that people know who the artist was. Without a signature no one would have a clue. To a collector or museum or even to your family, a signature is essential.


5.)    Intellectual Property – There is always a nagging concern with copying and art & design. If you were ever in a position where you were entering litigation, without a signature you would be presenting a weak argument right from the start. Protect yourself with this final step of signing.

     Please note there have been changes in the copyright laws and now notification is not required. However it is still a good practice for protecting your work from infringement or copiers. If you decide to use a copyright symbol include the year. ie © 2007 


To do the copyright symbol on a PC keyboard press Ctrl and Alt at the same time and then press C. On a Mac hold down Option at the same time and press ”g”.

         Burning in your signature is the best technique to use.

1.)     It is important that your signature be clear and concise. Be consistent with a legible signature. Messy writing is too hard to read. Don’t use a different style of writing on every gourd. Choose your style and stick with it.


2.)     The signature or mark can be initials or a full name. Some people add a date the work was completed (10/05/07) while others use this opportunity to use a catalogue number. i.e.  946-07 which is the 946th gourd they have completed and the year is 2007. This number could correspond with sales paperwork, which makes it  a nice tidy package.


3.)     The signature should not be too large as you do not want it to be a main feature. Most people sign the bottom of their work but I have seen it in the face of the gourd, particularly with detailed wood burned pieces. The name could be burned in along an edge and in a case like this can add to the beauty of the work.


4.)     Instead of a name the logo of your studio could be used, anything really, as long as it is used consistantly.


5.)    Most people burn their mark into the gourd. Do not use permanent markers or a pen as these fade over time.

Lastly make sure you take photos. If you are selling into galleries devise a cataloguing system for yourself. I know that this is the last thing in the world that artists want to think about but it is very important. Not all galleries are very together when it comes to paperwork and it may be that it will come back to haunt you when no one has a record of what has transpired. 
In conclusion don't be shy about signing your artwork. Practice on a piece of paper and use transfer paper to practice on a scrap gourd. (PyroPaper would make it really easy.) Burn away baby, burn away, you will soon be in business!

 This is a sugar cane worker in the Dominican Republic. A skilled harvester can cut 500 kg of sugar cane in an hour.

Dear Carolyn!

Northern Dipper,

I ordered some things from you and was very satisfied with my order. I was not very impressed with the fact that I had to wait 3 weeks to get it. What was the problem? Is this a normal shipping time?

Rachael Williams – Texas


Hi Rachael,

I am glad you were happy with your order. I do  understand your frustration at the time it took for your order to arrive at your door. I, as the seller, get frustrated as well as we ship on a regular basis and do not let orders sit around.
Since 9/11 shipping to the US from Canada has slowed down. Some orders arrive at record speed; others can take up to 3 – 31/2 weeks to get to their destination. It has to do with the amount of mail that is crossing the border at any given time & the security procedures 
which are deemed necessary by our governments.
If you are ordering from the US please allow a bit of extra lead time. For example if you need something by June 1, put your order in on May 1 to avoid  disappointment. 
Dear Carolyn,

Do you have information on sealing and/or finishing gourd interiors? I grew gourds last year and now that they have dried I am finding that some have very thin shells. I don’t want to throw these gourds away if I can help it. Can they be saved? 

Thank you,
Joseph Beale - Regina, Sask.

The inside of this gourd has been coated with Apoxie Paste which thickened up the walls, added weight and waterproofed the gourd.
Hi Joseph,

There are a few things that can be used to seal and add weight to gourds. A friend of ours uses fibreglass. It is smelly and safety equipment is necessary during the application but it leaves a beautiful heavy inside coating which would be suitable for thickening up thin-walled gourds.


Other people use Plaster of Paris. This is usually used when extra weight is required in the bottom of the gourd. For example if you have a wobbly gourd that just won’t sit, Plaster of Paris is fantastic. It is easy to use; just follow the directions on the box.


The easiest and most effective product we know of is the Apoxie Paste, which we carry. It permanently fills, bonds, seals and repairs most materials. It is a 2-part medium that must be mixed thoroughly in equal parts. It is safe to use and is waterproof with 0% shrinkage or cracking. It is perfect for thickening up thin-walled gourds. 
Here is a link to an article we wrote about Apoxie Paste in Issue 23. The article is about waterproofing & adding weight to gourd flowerpots. Once in click on Issue 23.
Dear Carolyn,

I started my gourd seeds a little early and now they're up, but so LEGGY - about 4 inches before the first set of leaves. Is that ok? Should I submerge the stems when I plant them like I do with my tomatoes? They are going into my greenhouse so I can plant them out fairly early, so do I wait until they've got their first set of real leaves? HELP

Annie Boquist - Sooke, BC

Cotyledons - First leaves but not true gourd leaves
Hi Annie,
Leggy is normal with gourd seedlings - they are like a 2-year old in a growth spurt with the stems going on forever before the ‘first’ leaves appear. One reason that gourd plants do get leggy is that they are striving for the light.

You are correct to submerge the stems back into the soil just like with tomatoes. You can do this even when they are in their pots - be gentle and they will root up quite nicely. Due to watering, the soil levels in your pots will go down so just keep topping them up with fresh soil as needed. 


Be patient and wait until your seedlings are well established with lots of leaves and a good root ball if you are planting outdoors. In BC plant on high ground or in hills because of the potential rainfall. Gourds do not like to sit with wet feet. If you are growing in your greenhouse you are well on your way. Let us know how your crop does Annie.
**Annie Boquist is a well-known BC artist and currently some of her work can be seen at the Sooke Region Museum which is presenting 'Fine Arts Unlimited'. For more details click here.

To send in questions to Dear Carolyn! click here.

Reader's Corner  
     Luckie's Snowmen - They are so happy just like Luckie!
Dear Northern Dipper,
I just wanted to share my first painting experience with the gourds. I think I will soon fall in love.


Hi Carolyn,
I had a wonderful time at Canada Blooms. This was my first year in attendance and I will say that coming to see the Northern Dipper booth was a highlight. There is something so wonderful about talking to someone who is as passionate about something as you are. Well it is just plain old good for the soul.


The Magical Tortoise by Carol Mason
  The rim of the turtle shell had to be built up and then painted.


I am sending along some pics of my gourds. The tortoise is my rendition of the Lo Shu. According to legend, the Chinese emperor Fu Hsi was first shown the Eight Tangrams of the I Ching  on the back of a Magical Tortoise. Anyway here he is.
Carol Mason

Please send pictures or comments to Reader's Corner. Click here to

The sweet spring grass makes Royal a frisky girl! 


Once again we can say that we are tickled pink to have Joy Jackson as our featured artist next month.


For our tutorial we will be featuring Scott Knickelbine, a native Wisconsinite and musician, who not only plays the banjo but makes them too. Scott will be showing us how to make an akonting banjo along with a discussion on what makes the akonting different from other banjos.
Good luck in getting your seedlings in the ground. Next month we'll discuss the bane of every gourd grower - the small but mighty cucumber beetle. Now you really have something to look forward to! Until then happy trails... 
                                Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond

 Carolyn loves trying out new products and she knows you
do too. On farm visits you will have the opportunity to dig
through thousands of gourds.  In our shop you will be
encouraged to try out the tools, PyroPaper and sculpting clay.
Now isn't that great customer service!
PS This clip from YouTube is of The Zimmers with "My Generation". It  is for all the boomers in the audience.
Click here only if you have high speed. Thanks Willo!

Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are available at
If you have any stories, ideas or comments that you would like to contribute to this newsletter please send to


Volume 3, Number 28 


In this Issue: 
Join Us On A Gourd Quest For New Products and Varieties of Gourds
Signing Your Art - Why is it Important?  
The May Grow Report: Garden Prep & Planting Out
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia

15% off all books
(Book Sale does not include the new
"Workshop Series" booklets)
15% off all Razertip Tips
Applicable May 1 - 31, 2007 for both Internet orders and farm visits.
For directions and hours click here.
To view the book selection click here.
To view Razertip tips click here.

Feng Shui Workshop
Saturday, June 2 from 1pm - 4pm
Join us for a Feng Shui workshop and learn some key principles of this ancient art. Instructor Katie Lewis will be discussing how the use of gourds is an important part of her Feng Shui practice. 
Katie Lewis is a certified Xuan Kong Feng Shui practitioner. She received her training from Master Joseph Yu of the Feng Shui Research Centre in Toronto.
This class will fill up quickly so sign up now. For details click here.

 What A Trip It Was! 
 Freshly planted gourd fields have a beauty that is hard to describe. 
  Many purple martin colonies were spotted while travelling in the U.S.  
 Martin gourds are now available at Northern Dipper in 7", 8" and 9" diameters. Sorry, you'll have to drill your own holes!  
 This translucent PyroPaper is plain with no printed design. It allows you to draw your own designs or trace directly onto the paper. Instructions are included.
 Banana Gourds
 Available in 6", 7" and 8" lengths with a 1" - 2" diameter. Sizes are shipped randomly just like the other mini gourds. Cost: $1.50 each.
The following "Workshop Series" booklets give step by step instruction on preparing, dyeing and decorating gourds. Designed for all levels of abilities, the beginner will find easy to understand instructions and ideas. The advanced gourd artist will find detailed pyrography & decorative techniques.
 Each booklet contains 9 - 14 fact filled pages. Each page is printed on one side only on 5 1/2" by 8 1/2" heavy card stock.
They can be used as teaching worksheets or can be hole punched for storage in a standard 5 1/2" ring binder.
Filled with colour photographs & drawings, the author takes you through every detail of the individual topics. 
To view booklets click here.

Carolyn and Linda took a well-deserved week off to attend a wedding in Punta Cana which is in the Dominican Republic.

 Three important factors to gourd growing are
  1.) Plant in full sun 
2.) Plant in compost rich soil 
3.) Provide plenty of water
It is May & your seedlings should
be coming up quite nicely now. Once seeds germinate the growth is rapid. Keep giving them a mild mixture of fertilizer & water every 2nd time you water.
  NOTE: Gourd seeds can take up to 3 weeks to germinate. Don't overwater the seeds and remember a soil temperature of 70 F /21 C is necessary for proper germination.
May 15 - If the weather is warm start setting out your seedlings a few hours a day in a sunny sheltered spot. This is called hardening is preparing your plants for the end of the month when you plant the seedlings in your garden spot.  
Laying plastic on a commercial gourd field.
May 15 - Soil Prep: To prep the soil, turn over and add compost and/or wood ash, dig in well. Cut the black garbage bags open and spread over your plot.Plastic will warm the soil,  keep the weeds down and will retain moisture.Use soil or rocks to keep the edges of the plastic from flapping. 
In 2002 we used biodegradable plastic. It was a disaster when it broke down in mid-June. It took the  weeds a very short time to reclaim the field. 
May 24 - If there is a threat of frost in your area do not risk planting out. The seedlings are very valuable as now there is not time  to start new seeds.
 To plant simply rip a small hole in the plastic. Dig a small hole & pop in your seedlings. If you have planted 2 seeds per pot, gently rip the 2 seedlings apart & plant 1 seedling per hole.
To view gourd seeds click here.
To view the Northern Dipper Grow Guide 

 Tip of the Month

Cutworms are the larvae of various moth species. Eggs are laid in the soil and hatch. The larvae will cut the plants stems at soil level or just below the soil surface.
You can prevent cutworm damage to seedlings by placing a stiff 3 inch cardboard or metal collar around the stems. Allow it to extend about 1 inch into the soil and stick up 2 inches above the soil. It should be 1/2 inch away from the stem of the plant. This collar will protect your seedlings from other "earthly chewers" too.

 Here are a few of the workshops we will be having in the upcoming weeks. 
Dream Catcher & Sculpted Rim
Saturday, June 9
This is a great class for both beginners & experienced gourders! You will learn how to create a dream catcher & will be using sculpting clay to form a unique rim. Some basics will be covered such as cleaning, cutting, drilling and dying gourds.
Check our website for details.

These classes are for those interested in learning how to use the sculpting clay. Suitable for everyone. Dates and details will be posted at a later time on our website.

Gourding with Sioux George 
Our most recent workshop on resist techniques with California Artist Sioux George was a huge success. Here are some photos of some of the participants. Look..everyone is smiling!
 Margo Allen
Penny Wearne
Julie Stevenson
 This is Madeleine, the navigator of the Greyhound bus. Madeleine operates the Walkie Talkie and gives Glen the directions he needs when in tight spots. Madeleine, I love your colourful array of gourds!

  Gourd Sightings
Directed by Ron Howard, The Missing 
features Cate Blanchett and Samuel Jones. It is a story set in 19th century New Mexico and gourds were being used to carry  both
mescal and water.

To learn more about The Missing click here. 

Reader's Corner

Sue Bonifacio created these 'bird' gourds. I would love to add these to my collection of gourd art as I get such joy  watching the geese and blue herons fly above me.
 This very unique gourd potpourri holder was designed by artist Diane Kempster. Diane's imagination is fun to watch at work. We will be featuring Diane as our featured artist in a future newsletter. 

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
This network may only be used for sending permission based email.
If you did not request to receive this message, please notify us.

This email was sent to by | Read our Privacy Policy.
Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada