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.
Gourd Mask by U.S. Artist Hal Sager
"A big part of my mask making are the materials that are collected, purchased or found. I am always on the lookout for a unique feather or bead, horsehair, bone or antler."
In This Issue:
We are pleased to feature gourd mask maker Hal Sager. Hal’s masks are impressive with an amazing array of embellishments and have won awards, been sold at auctions to raise money for important causes and are found in private collections and in prestigious museum exhibits. Please welcome Hal and his wonderful art.
Gary Devine and Carolyn have a little chin-wag while
chip-carving at Gourd Fest. Gary is an award winning artist plus a very knowledgable teacher. If he is ever teaching in your area be sure to sign up.
In addition we will have a few photos of the Canadian Gourd Society Gourd Festival. Gourd Fest was held at the Hobby Show this year and everyone had a fine time. There were many interesting entries in the Competition section and the public took advantage of the weekend long Make and Take.
Display of gourds at CGS Gourd Fest
Your letters, trivia and a listing of our exciting new products will complete this Christmas issue of Gourd Fever. We will have have some Christmas gift ideas
such as the Northern Dipper Gift Certificates which are perfect as a gift for a friend or as a stocking stuffer.
Lets carry on now; first things first ....OK Hal you're up!
Masks: Portraying the Face of Culture
Hal Sager posing with the mask which won First Place at
the Arizona Gourd Society 2007 Juried Show. Held at Casa Grande Arizona, this mask was also awarded Judges’ Choice, the top prize for the show.
Masks have always fascinated mankind. Historically they have been used in many cultures for both ceremonial and practical purposes. Masks offer protection and concealment, and are used in theatrical performances and for party celebrations. They can be made from various materials such as wood or paper mache, but in the case of Hal Sager, gourds are the medium he prefers.
Hal’s art is impressive. It begins with research which is collected during the extensive travels that Hal and his wife Jane enjoy. They have visited many museums worldwide including the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver B.C. where there are many masks of the north-west. During trips to Mexico, Peru and Ecuador they saw many different types of masks. Hal states it all helps in creating one’s own art.
This spring (2007) Hal and Jane completed a 35-day trip to South Africa, Zulu Land, Zimbabwe and Botswana where they purchased a pair of carved wooden masks, which now hang on their wall in Arizona. They did not have the pleasure of meeting the artist, but did visit several villages where they make, use and display a large variety of masks. Their next trip, planned in the spring of 2008, will be to Australia and New Zealand where they will find masks made from wood, bark and palm leaves.
Surprisingly Hal does not have a background in art other than the normal smattering found in grade school. Self employed at an early age, he had always been creative and mechanical, but didn’t have the time to dabble while making a living.
Now in retirement, Hal has a lifestyle that most of us can only dream about. He spends the summer months in McCall, Idaho where he has many interests. In the winter he is back home in Tucson, Arizona where he spends his time making his wonderful gourd masks. He works primarily by commission or referral. As Hal says "I am not a big production artist so each mask is created with attention to quality and detail." As we can see from the photographs, no statement could be truer.
Thank you very much Hal. It was an honour to feature you and your art. I am certain that many of our readers will be inspired by the originality and craftsmanship that goes into each and every one of your masks. Merci.
Christmas Gift Ideas
These cute little snowmen, made from mini bottle gourds, were created by artist Bob Pennycook.
1.) A Northern Dipper Gift Certificate.
2.) Create a lovely gift for the coiler on your list. Include a gourd, Gilders Paste and some paper rush and waxed linen thread.
3.) For the wood burner a book on pyrography designs and some new wood burning tips would be a welcome gift. Northern Dipper carries an excellent selection of Razortip wood burning and carving tools. To learn more click here.
4.) We carry design books, instructional books, books that are so nice they could be coffee-table books - we all love giving and receiving books!
5.) Water drums will be appreciated by both
the music lover and by the child who
loves to make music in the bath! For
To see Northern Dipper's main menu click here.
This happy workshop group displaying their completed Gilder's Paste and goldleaf bowls.
Northern Dipper offers a good selection of workshops - there is usually something for everyone.
Good morning Carolyn and Linda.
I just wanted to send a small hello from a person whom you might not remember attending your booth at the Hobby Show. I am from Midland, and quite frankly, thought that gourds were something you eat. I am happy that I did decide to wander over to see what you were doing.
I don’t know much, am not sure of my talents here, but glad to see you so close by. I will be able to drop down and visit your shop/gardens and whatever else you have. I have signed up for your newsletter, and would like to sign up for some classes but am unsure what would be the best to get started in.
This might just be a frequent flyer destination for me in the very near future, so if you could give me a little guidance here it would be helpful.
Coiling Worshop at Northern Dipper
Nice to hear from you! Your letter is interesting as it brings to mind our featured artist Hal Sager, who had no prior experience with gourds or art, but now, creates world class gourd masks.
If you check out our workshop webpage you will see that each workshop states whether it is for beginners or advanced. In the beginners we always cover the basics such as cleaning and cutting and in addition we teach other techniques that you can apply to various projects.
The link for the workshops is:
Re: Eating gourds - yes you can eat them when they are young and green. In many cultures gourds are used in stir frys (I've had them - they remind me of zucchini) and are also used as food for cattle.
See you soon Dwight,
Carolyn and Linda
Here is Linda (in the yellow shirt) at the drum-making workshop at the Ohio Gourd Fest. At the time Linda did not realize that her drum would win a ribbon in the Canadian Gourd Festival competition.
We love your newsletter and look for it at the beginning of every month! The featured artists are awesome and the articles are timely. We love Dear Carolyn and your Reader’s Corner…the letters are fun and I learn from them.
Now to my question…I have been doing gourd art for a couple of years now and my friends have been telling me I should start doing some craft shows. Can you explain what you mean by Juried Shows?
Margaret Frieson – New Brunswick
Juried shows are normally high-end craft or art shows. To apply you will be asked to submit quality slides or photographs, which are reviewed by a committee.Your work is accepted based on creativity, technical skill, the medium used, and/or other requirements depending on the individual show.
The purpose of a juried show is to keep out mass-produced imports or manufactured work. Juried shows are normally looking for handcrafted items. Some juried shows prefer to present local artists.
Juried shows can be intimidating for new artists but keep in mind these shows normally have a terrific turn-out with the buyers having a true appreciation of art. These buyers usually have disposable income as well.
Good luck to you Margaret! Let us know how you do.
PS Juried show booth fees are usually more expensive per square foot but at the same time the vendors usually walk away making more money.
The following is a letter that we received from Charla in Texas. Charla and her friends, who are members of the West Texas Gourd Patch, love to have "gourd retreats" where they meet and get quickly get immersed in the art of gourds.
A hand-written letter! In the world of cyberspace,
hand-delivered mail is quite a treat.
Hi Carolyn and Linda
Here is a gourd pictures from our shop. I love working with gourds. Enjoy the season and hopefully we can get together some time soon.
David - Stellmar Farm
(During pumpkin and squash season David's farm is the place to be. Carolyn)
Carolyn was over the moon when her Santa won a ribbon
at the CGS Gourd Fest
The winner of the CGS fund raiser is...
Lucky Barbara Bellchambers! Barbara's name was drawn from the hat and her prize was the vase full of flowers done by artists from both Canada and the U.S.
This project was a combined effort of many people.
Gaston from Quebec grew and green-peeled the gourd,
France Benoit did a beautiful job of decorating the vase and then the CGS members filled it with a bouquet of unique flowers. Absolutely lovely - next year I am going to have to buy more tickets!
Happy Holidays Everyone and a Happy New Year!
Royal gets very excited about Christmas and New Years, especially when she knows her best friends Hobo and Lukia are coming for dinner. Royal grew up with these two pups, and even if they don't see each other for a long time, they always remember each other and have quite the reunion.
NEXT ISSUE: The New Year welcomes Sam White aka Sam X the Gourd Master. Sam is very involved in the art community and his work has influenced contempory art in the U.S. Reflective of his African ancestry, both he and his art can often be found at art shows, galleries, museums and special events around the world. (Sam’s work is on the cover of Ginger Summit’s and Jim Widess’es new book “Making Gourd Dolls and Spirit Figures”) We were thrilled when introduced to this talented artist; we are certain you will be too.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the artists that we have featured during the past year. Each person was such a pleasure to work with, and all were so generous with the sharing of their art and personal lives.
We would also like to thank all of you who have written in with your comments, questions and photographs. We have a lot of fun here at Northern Dipper, and we do enjoy publishing our monthly newsletter! The reality is that it is you that help make it the great success it is.
Have a peaceful Christmas and to all of you, a safe and prosperous New Year. See you in 2008!
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
© Northern Dipper 2007
Volume 3, Number 35
In this Issue:
Hal Sager- The Man Behind The Mask!
The Canadian Gourd Society Gourd Festival
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia
The CGS Gourd Festival
This festival was held on Nov 2 - 4 at the Hobby Show at the International Center in Toronto.
Carolyn and Linda at the CGS Festival which was held at the Hobby Show, Toronto.
Martha Boer's won the President's Choice at the Canadian Gourd Society Festival with her stunning south-western look.
Rick Longhurst won the People's Choice Award
with this snake slowly slithering from his prison.
He is a happy snake - look at the smile on his face.
The iredescent feathers on this bird are lovely.
“I am always looking for things that I can use that are not the normal. I feel the more you can branch out using materials that are unique is where the artistic creativity comes in."
Hal captures the originality, beauty, and
mystery that we all associate with masks.
"I love making a piece of art someone would
like to display - now that makes me feel
good as an artist.”
Nine years ago Hal and his wife Jane retired
and bought a second home in a community that offered classes of all kinds. Jane took a gourd
class and started burning and painting. It was
this involvement which piqued Hal’s interest
in gourd art.
Once in a while Hal would see gourd masks at galleries or craft shows and was instantly drawn to them. Jane encouraged Hal to try to
make one, and now, 7 years later, his
work has evolved into what he creates today.
Hal's masks are found in private collections and
museums around the world. In 2005, one of
Hal's gourd masks brought top dollar at a
benefit auction for the University of Arizona Museum of Art which gave him some early exposure. Hal also does commission work which keeps him busy.
(All photos were provided by Hal Sager)
'Making Gourd Dolls
and Spirit Figures'
by Ginger Summit and Jim Widess
This duo has written another winner!
“Making Gourd Dolls and Spirit Figures”
is fantastic whether you are a gourd artist, doll-maker or simply someone who enjoys great books.
Filled with beautiful images of gourd dolls, and their history, this book also offers many project for you to try out. If that is not enough you will meet
many artists, some who have art in this book!
This is the perfect gift for someone
on your Christmas list. For details click here.
'sold by the foot!'
Seagrass is a natural greenish-tan grass that is hand twisted into a strong durable
cord. It is used in rims for gourds,
basketry and to make seats for chairs.
'sold by the foot'
This is the Danish Coil. It is a man-made
fibre aprroximately 1/8 " in diameter. It can
be used in its natural color or can be wrapped
with a variety of different materials. It can
also be spray painted with different colors... beautiful when used for the coiling of gourd rims.
Two different sizes...
'also sold by the foot!'
Smooth textured paper rush has flexibility -
perfect for creating coiling gourd rims.
Samples of coiled rims using rush
and waxed linen.
For details on the seagrass & paper rush click here.
The Canadian Gourd Society
There was lots to see and do.
Martha Boer's beautiful Native gourd doll.
Linda's Award Winning Drum
(She is so proud!!!)
To view the CGS Website for details click here.
January Workshops at Northern Dipper
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Twining is a type of a basketry technique using the process of twisting two or more weavers. You will be using waxed linen and beads for this effect shown on this gourd.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
In this class you will learn techniques using
paint and dyes to create some unusual and
stunning colour interactions. The finishing
touch will be a single band of pine needle
rimming. No two bowls will be the same.
For info on the upcoming workshops click here.
The West Texas
Gourd Patch Retreat
The West Texas Gourd Patch is very diverse.
Not only do they get together to play with gourds, they also work with the South Plains Food Bank
Kids Garden educating them on growing gourds.
To further the plan this gourd patch helps the
kids come up with some decorating plans in
order for them to sell their gourds as a money making project. This is only one of the things
they do within the community.
Charla (sitting) and friend Bess (standing)
Peggy and Karen at Gourd Retreat
Mesa Verde Indian Ruins in Colorado
Thank you Charla for your letter and the photos.
For more info on the Texas Gourd Patches
(and there are a few!) click here.
Tip of the Month
In December go through your drying gourds
and pull any that appear to be rotting. They
cannot be saved and will just turn to mush.
Designed & Published by
1535 Myrtle Ave
Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7
Northern Dipper Farm
5376 County Rd 56, RR # 2
Cookstown, Ont, L0L 1L0