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Young Tobacco Box Gourds
In This Issue: September is a grand month. Warm days and smoky nights, harvest moons in midnight skies, and familiar routines, which fall into place like comfortable old bedroom slippers.
At this time of year gourd artists find their thoughts moving towards upcoming gourd projects. Christmas and Halloween fun, birthdays - you name the event and a piece of gourd art make a wonderful gift.
This month we are pleased to feature Carla Leinweber, a fascinating woman who has spent her working career inspiring young artists within the Calgary school system. Now Carla is pursuing her art on a more personal level in the beautiful Okanagan
Falls landscape of British Columbia.
The entries for the "What To Do With The Lonely Wartie" Contest were both imaginative and impressive. It was difficult choosing a winner but we did, as you will presently see in this September fall issue of Gourd Fever.
A "Wartie" Blow Fish
Congratulations Sharon Donahue!
Sharon Donahue from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin is the winner of our "What To Do With The Lonely Wartie" Contest. Her stunning golden blow fish is absolutely charming. Sharon's prize is a $50.00 Northern Dipper gift certificate.
We had to include this entry as a bumpy frog really suits this type of gourd. Thank you Marlene Leeson! Marlene will be our featured artist in October.
Artist, Author and Entrepreneur
This very large gourd was embellished with hand-dyed reed and local grapevine.
Carla Leinweber has been involved in art as far back as she can remember. Professionally Carla was an Art Specialist with the Calgary Board of Education prior to moving to Okanagan Falls, B.C. During her career Carla co-authored a published curriculum unit for the Alberta Fine Arts Council and Global Education and held the position of Visual Arts Representative for the Province of Alberta for 2 years representing the Alberta Teacher’s Association. Carla also served as a museum docent for the Glenbow Museum in Calgary for two years.
Carla’s introduction to gourds began with ornamental gourds. She would buy them to use in her still life classes as they were so beautiful to draw. In 1997 Carla took a course under the instruction of artist Rhoda Forbes at the Grist Mill in Keremeos, BC and within hours, Carla was totally entranced with this new art form.
Gourd with hand-dyed reed and woven daylily, leather and antler.
Carla's ideas start with various images and then she proceeds to search out a gourd that will act as the foundation for this.
"I was very fortunate in my teaching career to have been exposed to the multitude of art materials and processes over the years. Thus, I can rely on the techniques of pyro-engraving, weaving, incising, painting, collage. This, combined with dyes, inks, pastels, wires, hand-made paper, found objects, fibres, etc allows me to push the visual artistic capabilities of a gourd to the limit of ones imagination."
Hand woven dyed reed "grapes" with copper, engraving
and relief design.
Carla exhibits her work in two local art galleries plus in the public gallery at the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan. She is also showing her work at a juried show in Port Coquitlam just outside of Vancouver in September.
In addition to this, Carla and her partner Roger have built a house and a small B & B business in the Okanagan. Bighorn Ridge is surrounded by vineyards and wineries and offers breath-taking views.
To complete the picture they live with a movie star! Their 12-year-old Golden Retriever was quite the hit a few years ago when he was featured in Airbud 2, a Hollywood kids movie that was very popular.
Thank you Carla! We love your work and the embellishments you draw from nature. You live in a
beautiful part of the world which is rich in both fauna
and flora. Merci once again.
Cooler nights is a sure sign that we are slowly moving away from summer. Out in the Canadian gourd field, there is still a multitude of flowers every night . Don't waste your time pollinating as there is not enough time for the gourds to mature.
The several hundred minis have vines that are beginning to dry and the cucumber beetle population has subsided. Powdery mildew can still be a problem.
Do not, under any circumstances, be tempted to harvest your gourds. The vines must die off completely, which in Canada, does not happen until late October. Do not bore holes in them to hasten drying as bacteria may get in and destroy the gourd.
At this time of year you can cut back on the watering. It is time to just enjoy your crop.
Get out your cameras and send us some pictures (JPEG's please) if you like. We are very interested in how others are doing around the world.
Next month we will discuss the whens and the whats of harvesting your gourd crop.
Kids and gourds go together like peanut butter and jam!
Here Carolyn's niece and nephew have some summer fun
at the Northern Dipper studio.
Hi there Northern Dipper,
I am ordering gourds for a class of 7 and 8 year olds. We have approximately ½ hour every day for 4 days. I have ordered the books on cleaning gourds and on making a rattle. Can this age make a rattle in this time frame? Should the gourds be cleaned and prepared before hand? What would be the cheapest and easiest way to paint, decorate or varnish this small number of gourds?
Jean Anne F.
Rattles from South Africa
Rattles are a fantastic project for kids. They are easy to make, fun to decorate and are functional for the young musician/ artist.
Handles: Rattles can be made using the natural handle of the gourd. Examples of these types of gourds would be Dippers, Marankas or Bottles.
If you are going to insert a handle you can use sticks that are at least ½” in diameter, thick dowel or you can buy handles from a craft shop such as Stockade Wood & Craft Supply in Guelph,Ont. For more info -https://stockade.ca/
A Suggested Schedule: It is a good idea to split this project up because you do have only 1/2 hour each day. Ideas are as follows:
Day 1 – Wash the gourds with the kids. At this time you can tell them a bit of history about the gourd and that gourds grow on a long vines, etc.You’ll need a few brushes – stiff nail brushes from the $ store would work well and would fit quite nicely into a young child's hand.
Day 2 – Drill the holes to remove the innards of the gourds and replace with noisemakers. (A bent coat-hanger is dynamite when cleaning gourds through a small hole.) Various materials for noisemakers can be used such as rice, small pebbles, beans, seeds and beads. Lay out an assortment and let the kids chose for themselves. Pour in the noisemakers and glue in the handles. Let dry overnight.
Day 3 – Decorate – the kids will love this! Supply Poster Paint, crayons, whatever else you can think of. Hang the rattles up and finish with a couple of thin coats of spray urethane. The spraying is something you should do, not the kids.
Day 4 – Add rawhide strips, feathers, beads – any type of embellishment will personalize and beautify their projects. Spend a few minutes playing the rattles as a group. Jean I just know you will be a hit!
Linda leads the way across this swaying bridge.
Here are a couple of photos of our latest adventure. We did a glorious treetop canopy walk. As you can see, we were pretty well geared up with safety harnesses to make sure we didn't hurt ourselves if we did fall. (I guess that would be classified as a type of Bungee Jump!) The highest point was 60 feet and it was a little nerve racking as the plank was just a little over the width of one foot. There was lots of swaying too! Linda did really well as she also had to conquer a bit of her fear of heights.
Sisters Are Special!
I am dropping you a line to say thanks for the supplies you sent to my sister Marcia in Calgary. My sisters Kim (from Oregon) and Marcia and I (from Ontario) had a fabulous weekend with my Mother and our gourding weekend. There was a small break for some time in the mountains and a pedicure, but this must be endured. Please see some pictures of a time well spent.
The Life of a Gourd!
Today our gourd field looks like this. There are lots of flowers, thousands of large and small gourds and thick greenery. As the nights grow cooler we are beginning to see a bit of fading in the leaves.
Now is the time to go through your gourd patch again to make sure that the gourds are sitting upright. You will have to really look as they just love to hide under the huge leaves.
Drying Bottle Gourds
Do not harvest your gourds until the vines look like this! People are tempted to harvest their gourds early because they are large and look ready. But they are not so be patient and wait it out. It will be worth it when you harvest a healthy crop of hard shell crafting gourds.
NEXT ISSUE: We are very happy to be featuring Marlene Leeson, a "Toronto refugee" who gave up a fast urban lifestyle for the sleepy rural setting of Plevna, Ont. Marlene has only been working with gourds for about 6 months but due to her previous experience, she is creating some amazing gourd art.
Spring and fall are big months for the craft shows and the big question for anyone contemplating the shows is how to find the venues that will be profitable and well-suited for your product line. Don’t miss “The Name of the Game is Profit – Finding Those Great Shows and Preparing For Them!” coming up in October's issue of Gourd Fever.
We will be announcing our own Northern Dipper show schedule as well. Show preparation keeps us busy for quite a few months out of the year but we love meeting with the public and introducing them to the wild and wonderful world of gourds. Until next time...
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
Volume 3, Number 32
In this Issue:
Sharon Donahue - A Golden Blow Fish Wins The " Wartie" Gourd Contest!
Carla Leinweber - Pushing the Possibilities of the Hard Shell Gourd
The September Gourd Growing Report
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia
on the following:
Gilders Paste - 15% off
A quality collection of highly concentrated pigments in both metalic and coloured shades.
Easy to apply, this paste can be used alone or
in combination with dyes.
Gourd Dyes - 15% off
Nine gorgeous colours available in 1 oz bottles.
Pine Needles - 15% off
Natural and hand-dyed pine needles. Beautiful in basketry and gourd rims.
For both Internet orders and farm visits for the month of September only.
To view the Giders Paste and gourd dyes click here.
To view natural and dyed pine needles click here.
For directions and hours of Northern Dipper
“ Personally I have never encountered a medium
that is so versatile and imparts itself to a multitude
of possible art processes."
This tiny gourd is embellished with coiled wire
and dyed porcupine quills.
Carla loves to push the possiblities of combinations of unlike materials togeather. Here is a large gourd with a thick copper neck ring
with wire and pyroengraved gourd beads.
Gourd with Lid
"The valley I live in is truly an enclave of botanical growth from vineyards to orchards to native grasses and sages. Environmentally it is a perfect locale for the growth and harvesting of gourds, the focus of my current work. Experts say that the gourd is the only plant to span the globe in pre-historic times."
Grouping of Carla's Works
"Rainsticks All Around"
Nadine Triemstra with Jade
Workshops are always informative, happy affairs at Northern Dipper. In addition to learning, many attendees spend time browsing through the many books and art supplies in our shop or sample the numerous tools we have displayed.
The highlight for many is going through the
many piles of gourds dotting the farm!
It will be like Christmas in September!
Sept 15th - Join us at Northern Dipper for a Beginners class on
"Sculpting Faces Using Apoxie Sculpt"
The techniques you will learn can be
applied to many applications.
For info on the upcoming workshops click here.
Tip of the Month
'African Bronze' Gilders Paste
Layering with a solid base colour and then stenciling, sponging or wiping the paste
over the base coat can produce unique effects
and blends. Gilders Paste also makes a fabulous base coat with other colours of paste put on top.
Some of these dyed pots will be finished off with Gilders Paste resulting in a beautiful finish.
If you leave the lid off your tin and find that
your Gilders Paste dries out, just add some
Mineral Spirits, put the lid on tight and leave overnight. The result will be a paste with the perfect consistancy.
Gilders Paste & Crackle Bowl created by Ontario artist Catherine Devine.
To view Gilders Paste click here.
These colourful gourd butterflies were
spotted in a market in Cuba by Carolyn's
For more info on Cuba click here.
City Squirrels Keep Dog Busy!
Royal has a dream and that is to catch a squirrel. She is persistant but is at a disadvantage
because she can't fly up telephone poles...or
jump through the air...or run as fast as the
fleet-footed rodent. Good luck Royal, I know
you have been trying for 11 years - maybe tomorrow will be your lucky day!
A Bird's Eye View
. This treetop walk can be found at the Scenic Caves at Collingwood in Ontario.
For more info click here.
Carol Mason's Weekend
Finished Gourd Art
Four Pairs of Pretty Feet
Dreams of a Young Boy
This is Denis Gadwa, the maker of this gourd banjo. The gourd body is a Guatemalan gourd and the handle is cherry and walnut. Denis made quite an impression on young Nick.
Nick is Carolyn’s nephew and he dreams of becoming a musician. He is currently studying guitar and was absolutely thrilled to bits when Denis let him play his banjo. Nick plans to either buy a banjo from Denis or he’ll get together with his Auntie Carolyn and make one. Keep up the good work Nick. We are proud of you!
To learn more about Denis Gadwa and his
gourdijo banjo click here.
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Northern Dipper Farm
5376 County Rd 56, RR # 2
Cookstown, Ont, L0L 1L0