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.
This working clock was created by our feature artist Debby Russell and has a gourd body, plastic fly numbers, wire and fabric wings. From wing tip to wing tip it is 29 inches and fits perfectly into the 'water closet' alcove in Debby's new bathroom.
In This Issue: Alas The Gourd Master - Sam X could not make it this month due to his extremely busy schedule. Sam will be featured in next months newsletter, and we are very happy, as Sam is an extraordinary man and artist.
With a little juggling we are thrilled to present Simcoe Ontario artist, Debby Russell. Debby is a very energetic woman with a mind that is going a million miles an hour. Her award winning gourd art is reflective of this cranial activity. It is unique, and at times, quite witty. Debby is a well-known gourd "ambassador", attending events in order to educate and introduce the wonderful world of gourd art to the public.
Gourding with Adirondack Inks tutorial in this issue!
We have received a lot of mail about the new Adirondack Inks and quite agree with our readers that they are fabulous to work with. In this month’s issue we are including a tutorial on how to use these versatile and easy inks to achieve the pleasing look of the gourds shown in the above photograph.
Also Reader's Corner, Dear Carolyn, and as it is almost spring, a link into the twenty-three varieties of gourd seeds offered at Northern Dipper. Gourd growing is an amazing hobby, so spend some time going through the website. February is the perfect time to dream about the bumper crop you will be harvesting in just a few months.
Northern Dipper will be closed from Feb 19 - 29th
We apologize for any inconvenience.
10th Annual Florida Gourd Show
February 22, 23, and 24, 2008
The Florida Gourd Show is inspirational for all those that attend. There are parades, an Iron Gourd Competition, workshops and more. Every year more and more Canadians head down to have some fun and to get away from the northern winters. For details about the show click here. http://flgourdsoc.org/
Canada Blooms Spring Garden Show
March 12 - 16th, 2008.
One of Canada's best garden shows held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) on March
12 - 16th. Drop in to meet Carolyn and Linda at Booth # 500.
For details about the show click here.
Whipping Up a Gourd Storm in
Debby has cultivated gourds for two years now. The first year was a complete disaster due to a late frost which
killed her seedlings. Here is Debby proudly showing off
her 2007 crop. DH ( Dear Husband ) built the drying
racks for her.
Debby Russell saw her first gourd at a wood show in the fall of 2006. Lois Dean (a regular contributor to Gourd Fever) was promoting the art of the gourd and Debby was bowled over by the things that Lois had made. She just had to try it. She bought an apple gourd from Lois, and along with a leaflet with cleaning instructions, away she went. Little did she realize that these gourds would soon become a bit of an obsession. To urge her along that first apple gourd won 1st place at the CGS Gourd Festival and also a ribbon in Indiana. Needless to say Debby was thrilled and she soon set down that path of no return.
Feng Shui Bottles
Debby loves everything about gourds!!! Cutting, scraping, creating, even cleaning. Hands moving, she states, ”I haven't made paper from the guts yet but that is something that I definitely plan on trying in the future." She is a dedicated member of the Hogs (Happy Ontario Gourders) and loves the tips and techniques that she learns at the monthly Sty Gatherings. "It is great to share ideas and to laugh! I think laughing is the most important part of our meetings! We do have a gourdly good time."
Debby also likes to sew, finding it very relaxing. "I just made a cuddly couch quilt to sit under while watching TV or reading. I sewed gourd shapes onto it. I seem to be obsessed by gourds wouldn't you say!"
These cute kitties are made from paper mache. Debby has always, for as far back as she can remember, been involved in art and crafts.
When asked where she learned her techniques Debby replied, “My background in the arts is mainly self-taught. I've always loved creating and especially re-using and recycling. I did that long before it was fashionable. I love to look at things and see something in it that someone else wouldn't think of. When my kids were young and needed an imitation drum set for a school play, I created one out of old large lampshades and pizza pans. I have that pack rat disease so I always have supplies on hand!"
Debby whipped up this name tag to wear at the monthly Sty Gatherings of the Hogs. (Happy Ontario Gourders) The Hogs is a gourd patch of the Canadian Gourd Society.
“I have sold quite a few pieces - some at the CGS Gourd Fest and some at a Christmas craft sale. I've been asked to do 2 commissions but am not comfortable enough to do art to order. What is in my head may not be what is in the customers, if you know what I mean. I actually prefer to make for family and friends, however it does feel good to have someone like your art enough to pay hard earned money for it.”
Debby did well selling at the Christmas craft shows.
To conclude Debby says, “Meeting so many gourders has been a wonderful experience. They are such friendly, sharing people and through this new hobby I've met people from far and wide, as far as Hawaii, Turkey and New Zealand!!! I just love everything, and I do mean everything, about gourds.”
Thank you Debby. You are just as much fun in print as you are in person. Cross your fingers for a warm spring and hot summer and you will have another great crop, especially now that you have a year of growing under your belt. PG
Gourding With Adirondack Inks
(Note: Read the side bar on the right first and
then Steps 1 - 3 below)
Step 1. I like to start off with a darker colour such as Espresso. Add a few drops of your choice of colour to the felt on your applicator. Now add a few drops of the blending solution. Dab this combination to your gourd randomly leaving small spots untouched. Your gourd will look ugly at this point.
Step 2. Change the felt on your applicator and choose your next colour. I used Pesto next. Apply this to your felt along with a few more drops of the blending solution. Dab this combination randomly, even touching spots of the first colour. It isn't necessary to let the previous colour dry.
Step 3. Once again change your felt and move on to your next colour of choice. Continue alternating colours until you are happy with your results.
Once you have achieved the results you are happy with seal your gourd. I like the spray varnish from Krylon for a quick and easy application. Another excellent one is Defthane Polyurethane Marine varnish from Lee Valley.
For info about the Adirondack Inks click here.
For information about Lee Valley click here.
Northern Dipper will be shipping 23 types of gourd seed soon. Starting them early inside or in a greenhouse will ensure that the gourds will have a long enough growing season to reach maturity.
I'm from Nova Scotia and have become very interested in gourd art. I've made some lanterns among other projects and would like to grow some.
I've been advised by Farmer Clems here in Nova Scotia that we don't grow our gourds too big here, that only the small decorative ones do well. I've purchased dried gourds from Michael's, but find it very expensive, so I'm trying to find a place here in Canada where I can order some gourds from. I also need some seeds but find it confusing because I know the shapes I like but don't know the names.
I appreciate your assistance.
Thanks, Cindy Robertson
You have come to the right place for both gourds and seeds and lots of other art supplies to choose from. This year we have done an improvement to our website on the seed page because you were not the only one confused as to what gourd belongs to what seed! To alleviate this confusion we have dropped in a picture of the gourd beside the seed name. Now you can see what the end result should be after planting. To view the seed varieties click here. http://www.northerndipper.com/seeds.php
Nova Scotia - What a beautiful part of the world you live in. Growing gourds can be touch and go depending on where you live in Nova Scotia. Gourds require a lot of heat and a long growing season. We recommend that you stay away from the large Bushels when ordering seeds and stick with the smaller gourds such as Dippers, Kettles, Tobacco Box and the minis. Get your seeds started early and plant in a southern exposure or better yet grow in a greenhouse. Don't hesitate to write with any questions you may have during the growing season. Carolyn
Scenic beauty, a rich heritage and a vibrant culture best describes Nova Scotia. For a safe, relaxing vacation you may want to consider this beautiful Canadian province.
Photo by Jason Roberts - More photos can be found at
I just bought the Razortip burner and am wondering if there are any safely tips you could give me besides ‘don’t burn yourself.” Can’t wait to get started, this will be a new experience for me.
Louis DeWalt – New Mexico
There are a few tips regarding safety that you should know about beginning with:
1.) Hold the burner in the same way you would hold a pencil and move at about half the speed you would use while writing. This will allow you to be in charge of the burner at all times thus eliminating blurred lines and accidents.
2.) Turn the gourd as you work, not your hand .Let the heat of the pen do the work. In other words do not use force to burn your lines. This could cause errors in your work or the pen could slip and you could burn yourself.
3.) Use a small fan to clear the air of smoke. Inhaling gourd smoke is as bad as inhaling mouldy gourds. It is smart to wear a respirator mask as an extra precaution.
4.) Keep your tips clean as carbon builds up very quickly. Stainless-steel scouring pads work well to clean off the tips or you could invest in a Tip Cleaner tool specifically designed to clean Razortip tips.
5.) Always turn off your burner when you are taking a break and please, unplug the system when you are finished working. If you are using an extension cord make sure it is a heavy duty one.
6.) Do not work near anything flammable such as paints or curtains. Some people keep a pail of water in their work area just in case.
7.) If you have a gourd with blemishes or cracks make them part of your pyroengraving design. It will add to the uniqueness of your art.
I hope this is helpful Louis. Practice on some scraps before you get started and before you know it you will be wood burning like a pro.
PS For booklets on woodburning click here.
For pyro paper and pyro designs click here.
NEXT ISSUE: The Gourd Master - Sam X will be our guest next month. We can guarantee that the wait for Sam has be well worth it. Sam’s art is spiritual and emotional and we are certain that all of our readers will be entranced by his work and his words.
We will also have a report on the Florida Gourd Show and through our photographs, for those of you that couldn't attend; it will be the next best thing to being there.
Happy Valentines Day. Sean Connery once said,
“Love may not make the world go round, but I must admit that it makes the ride worthwhile.” Now doesn’t that have a ring of truth in it! Until next time... Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
© Northern Dipper 2008
Volume 4, Number 37
In this Issue:
Debby Russell: One In A Million!
Tutorial: Gourding With Adirondack Inks
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia
Woodburned Calabash Ornaments
50 cent sale!!!
* Mini egg & mini bottle
All 3" and 4" sizes
(These will be picked randomly)
15% off -
All Gourd Dyes
25% off -
Natural Pine Needles
(Sold by the bunch)
(Sale does not apply to dyed pine needles)
(6”, 7” and 8” only)
Kettles are one of the most versatile shapes
in gourds. They are ideal for birdhouses,
bowls, containers and masks.
50% off -
Sharon Donahue from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin was the winner of our 2007
"What To Do With The Lonely Wartie" Contest. Her golden blow fish
wartie gourd was stunning.
To view the dried gourds click here -
To view the pine needles click here -
To view the gourd dyes click here -
Meretricous Warrior with Rainsticks
(Debby made the rainsticks a few years ago
out of paper mache.)
This helmet caused quite the stir at the 2006 Canadian Gourd Society Festival.
This was Debby's first gourd project.
The simplicity of this design is very pretty
and as you can see in the following photo,
it has a beautifully cut lid.
See the gourds sewn into this quilt!
Advice To New Gourders
"Let your imagination go where ever it wants.
If you're lying in the tub, watching a fly
on the wall, and time flies pops into your mind, go with it! If you see a picture of a Polynesian warrior and it speaks to you, well, what can I say...go with it!"
Mistakes...We All Make Them
"Sometimes when you’re working and you do what you think is a mistake, work it into your design or modify your original idea. It is
quite often just the creative gods working their magic. The outcome is usually wonderful."
This is a zany lamp that looks
gorgeous at night.
A more functional lamp.
Debby's Gourd Purse
These mini gourds are transformed with a little paint and lacquer.
(All photos were supplied by Debby Russell.)
Gourding With Adirondack Inks
Colours can be used individually or intermixed with each other and the Adirondack Blending solution for an unlimited palette. Add just a few drops of the metallic mixative and see the luminous results.
Clean, dry gourd
Adirondack Blending solution
Choice of colours (4 were used in this project)
Varnish or sealer
The purpose of the blending solution is to
blend the colours. You will quickly learn and understand how much you need.
The following three egg gourds will help give you an idea of what you are looking for.
First egg has very little blending solution. The result is just a square of solid colour. This is undesirable.
Second egg. has too much ink which has caused it to run all over. Once again undesirable.
Third egg is what you are looking for. A type of puddling effect where the blending solution has pushed out the colour.
The movie Gandhi is the biography of
Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was a peaceful revolutionary who led India to independence from Britain. The gourd sighting was in one
scene which featured a sitar.
To learn more about the movie click here.
To learn more about Gandhi click here.
Tip of the Month
Deborah Moskowitz used dried seaweed to balance the bottom of her gourd.
Sometimes a gourd will not have a flat bottom; therefore it will not sit properly. To stabilize, use your imagination. Depending on the project
a piece of gourd can be used or perhaps a flat rock or interesting piece of wood. Stands
made from metal or copper can be found at your local Dollar store or you can mould a stand from Apoxie Paste or other sculpting clays or wood putty.
(Photo taken from The Complete Book of
Gourd Craft by Ginger Summit and Jim Widess.)
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