artists, growtips, info & more

(This issue contains lots of photos so be patient. Give it a minute to download.)

Workshops, workshops and more workshops so many to choose from at Gourd Fest – July 23 & 24th, 2005    

Ed McAuley's Laced Rims


At this years Gourd Festival, the Canadian Gourd Society (CGS) is offering 10 workshops and there is certain to be one or two that may interest you. 

Participate in a drum making session and take home a completed playable drum. Pyrography on Gourds or an intriguing little workshop called Gourd “N” Crazy may be for you! Darienne McAuley, known for her exquisite coiled rims, will be teaching classes while Ed McAuley - his popular Lace Rimmed gourds as picture above. This is only a sampling of what is offered, the costs are very reasonable & the instructors are the best. For details click here.


 The CGS design competition

Northern Dipper is accepting entries  for the CGS Design Competition. For details on the competition click here. To make it easy to enter we will:

- Accept your shipments, unpack them and give your registration entry form to the set up people. 

- We will pack up your entries in the same box it was sent in and send it back to you by Canada Post.  Make certain you include:

1.) Filled out entry form filled out with categories from the CGS website listed above.

2.) A return address label with a phone number as well as a Visa, Mastercard or American Express number on which return shipping will be charged There will be no charge for this service other than the postage. 

3.) If you want to insure your pieces we need a value for insurance. We will purchase the insurance through Canada Post & charge it to your card.

Important - Please note: Entry forms must be postmarked July 11.

Northern Dipper & the Canadian Gourd Society will not be held responsible for any losses or damage.

A festival just isn’t a festival without some good entertainment!


Sat afternoon July 23 - "The Spirit of Aloh"

Times: 2:00 & 4:00


Sat Evening - Som do Coracao Time: 6:00-7:30


Also Jack Barnes "The Big Boom" Drumming Circle Time: 7:30 - 9:00


"The spirit of aloh"

A'ohe hana nui ka alu'ia.         

No task is too big when done together.

                                     hawaiian proverb

For 19 years the Spirit of Aloha ‘Ohana Hula School has been sharing the Hawaiian culture through its major art form - the Hula. The school exists to spread aloha, and share the love and respect its teachers and students hold for this wonderfully expressive culture. 


The school has competed over the years in many local competitions, taking first and second place in the Dancers in Motion competition in Windsor, Ontario; and two first place awards, senior and junior divisions, in the Kiwanis Music Festival-folkloric competition.  The students also join in the Oe E Ka La Hula Festival and Competition in Pleasanton, California.


The Spirit of Aloha ‘Ohana Hula travels around the province performing for many community functions, seniors homes and hospitals, as well as political rallies, charitable organizations, fundraising events, company banquets and social dinners.  For over fifteen years, the troupe performed annually at the

Toronto Island Dragon Boat Races!  For more information click here.


 Any opportunity to spread a little Aloha is a welcome venue!  

Som do coracao (songs of the heart) 

- brazil comes to gourd fest!


           Som do Coracao - Songs of the Heart

From left to right: Alex, Kristen, Daubian, Yanni


Som do Coracao is the true representation of live latin fusion music. It is a mix of jazz, bossa, samba and central american rythms and beats.

Alex, who plays congas, is from Colombia; Kristen, from Canada, has a great voice and plays a little percussion; Daubian is the lead singer from

Brazil. He plays guitar and brazilian percussion; Yanni, from Cuba, plays amazing saxophone and percussion (sometimes, both instruments at

the same time!) Some songs are solely performed with voices and percussion. In London, Som do Coracao plays every Thursday at the Tantra Club, from 10PM to 2AM, the club is located at 611 Richmond St, London ON.


Jack Barnes “Rhythmic Jam!” Sat Nite Drumming Circle


"I believe in the magic of music and the power

of the drum to energize, empower, connect, heal, unite and transform people."    

At Gourd Fest "Rhythmic Jam" might best describe what will happen. Experience a trip around the globe and an exploration of everyone's individual sense of rhythm. Stops along the way will include African, Latin America, Middle East and our own rich Native Culture. Whether you know how to play or not doesn’t matter. Jack will be bringing a large variety of shakers, cowbells, and other handheld percussion instruments. We anticipate drum enthusiasts will bring their own. Jack Barnes is well known to many London residents for his innovative percussion work & Boombah Tunedays. For details on Boombah Tuneday click here.



This year there will be 10 very unique Vendors represented at Gourd Fest. We have banjo makers, seagrass baskets, rubber stamps & cards, an "unconventional" artist from Brantford & more. .Featured here are -


Jeff Menzies – banjo maker

Jeffrey Menzies is a young and prolific gourd banjo maker in Toronto. Jeff is also a sculptor, working in the mediums of welded and stainless steel, cast bronze, iron, aluminum, concrete, and wood.

"Each individual banjo is unique. The banjos are constantly evolving. I view the banjos I make as functional art objects.”


Jeff is quick to note that playability is a major design element and that his banjos are made to be played. Jeff looks forward to a lifetime of musical exploration and a constantly evolving work in making and playing the gourd banjo. For more information about Jeff Menzies and his banjos click here.


Paul Ross – wood turner

Grouping of Vessels

Paul began woodturning in 1980. In 1981 Paul had the privilege of meeting a master wood turner and this lit the fire. Now, seventeen years later, Paul teaches and sells his pieces all over North America.


Paul’s main interest is the hollow form, more specifically ‘nestled hollow forms’. He enjoys turning decorative open bowls, usually small natural-edged burls. Both the hollow and decorative bowls are purely visual pieces.


Paul discovered gourds about a year ago and incorporates fine woods into his gourd pieces. He also experiments with various rim treatments such as coiling. To learn more about Paul Ross & Chalet Wood Crafts click here.


 A beautiful work of art

Gourd growing - the vines are taking off!

Tonight I pollinated the first female flower of the season. Male to female, male to female… Underneath the female flower there is a small pepo (gourd) & if it is not pollinated that tiny gourd will just turn brown and fall off.


For those growing on trellissing go out and start tying them up. Twist ties work well. Tie them loose-you do not want to damage the vines. Don't stretch the vine too much as you don’t want to damage that growing tip.


Pests - Squash bugs, also known as Stink bugs, are gray/brown, flattish & sort of almond shaped.

They are about 1/2" long and can blend in under the leaves and on the earth. They mate and lay their eggs on the underside of leaves or on the stems of the gourd plant. The eggs are small, round & bronze in color and are always laid in clusters. Check your leaves and if you do find these eggs destroy them.  The eggs detach quite easily so just scoop them onto the tip of a utility knife and squash! Once these eggs hatch the nymphs will suck the juice from the leaves and then move to take over the entire plant. For more info on cucumber beetles click here. For squash bugs click here.

At Northern Dipper…

This year has been ideal gourd weather with lots of heat, a bit of rain, not too many cucumber beetles and vines that are healthy and growing.  We are also busy planning the Gourd Festival July 23 & 24. Lots of details to attend to!


 Left - male flower  Right - female flower

To see photos of growing gourds click here.

TOOL INFO - Health and Safety for Gourd Crafting

I have been working with various crafting materials for over twenty years. When I was younger, I paid little or no attention to safety information. The individual crafter often pays little attention to safety equipment. If gourds were crafted in factories adequate respirators would be mandatory.


Gourds, during their drying period, often lose more than 90% of their weight. They turn black and moldy as the moisture leaves the gourd. I was warned that this mould could represent a health risk. As usual I ignored it until the day that I opened the gourd from hell. It was a six-inch cannonball. Once opened, I began to cough, wheeze and experience dizziness and shortness of breath. Fortunately there was a chair nearby or I may have passed out. I coughed for two days. After closer inspection it was obvious that the gourd itself was full of mould.


Since that day every time I am opening a gourd I wear a well fitting mask. Nowadays I leave that mask on during the internal cleaning process as well as any application where dust is created. Recently I have added well fitting eye goggles as I noticed that in the evenings I was rubbing my eyes.


Further research into my experience with the toxic gourd from hell has led me to believe

my experience was a condition known as intrinsic allergic aveolitis more commonly known as farmer’s lung. For a complete description of this condition and it’s symptoms click here.


As we sell gourds we felt we had a responsibility to provide safety information and solutions. For more information on Reusable Particulate Respirators click here.


NEXT ISSUE:   To get you in the mood we will have a report on Cherokee, a US festival where the pros teach the pros!  We will profile a couple more of the Vendors and we will have the completed Food Menu. Also a Gourd Grow Report and more!

See you then… Pam Grossi & Peter Bell


Now Available: We have added back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever to our Website. If you have missed any issues there are some interesting tutorials and grow information that you may want to get caught up on. To view click here.


PS If you have any stories or ideas that you would like to contribute to this newsletter please send to


Volume 1, Number 4 


In this issue

Sign Up for a CGS Workshop 


Let's Boogie - There's Entertainment at Gourd Fest!


Vendors – Banjo Makers, Seagrass Baskets, Wood Turners & More!


Gourd Sightings & Trivia


Growing Gourds – What's Happening In The Gourd Field 


Tool Info - Why Respirator Masks are Important



CGS Workshop

 “Red Carved Gourd” – Previous Winner at Gourd Fest 

Basketry Techniques Combined with Gourds 


Singing Dog Studios - Previous Gourd Festival Winner 


Bev William's Swan - Pyrography 

Bill McNeil's Painted Gourd

Gloria Pengally's Birdhouse


   Karen Cheeseman's "Bird"


  Woven Rim



Melanie Daniel's Pup


 All of the above pictures are winners & entries from past gourd festivals.

Jeff Menzies – Artist & Instrument Maker

Jeff Menzie's Bass In Progress

 Paul Ross - Artist & Woodturner


Trellised Vine – June 19 

Female Flowers Before Opening – Note the Pepo Underneath

Off to the bank!



Peter’s happy because he thinks he’s on the way to the bank! For info about how gourds were used as currency click here.

Safety is # 1, save your lungs!


Mask with replaceable filters  


  Gourd sightings and trivia 



 "Talking Drums" - Following The Freetong Players - Sierra Leone's most prominent theatre troupe - on a cross Canada tour. They lead youth delegates from Sierra Leone. West Africa and Alberta through discussions on current issues of poverty, AIDS, and terrorism. The gourd sighting - African gourd instruments. 

Published by Northern Dipper Enterprises
Northern Dipper Farm
1666 Villa Nova Road
RR1 Wilsonville, Ontario
N0E 1Z0 Canada
(519) 443-5638