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. 

 Washington State artist Dynva Todd has always been attracted to Native American art and African wildlife art.
This piece, which is wood burned, offers a different image on each quarter of the gourd.
In This Issue: This month we are travelling across the country to Seattle, Washington to visit with artist Dynva Todd. We have been following Dynva for some time now as her art has a unique quality, which we find very appealing. We always suspected that the woman behind this art would be fascinating and we were right. We are honoured to present Dynva and learn about her love of gourds and life.
 This painting on the bottom of this gourd drum is
reflective of Dynva's time living in Hawaii.

The Gourd Grow Report # 2 will garner the attention of many growers. We have had a couple of letters, one from BC and one from Michigan, who have already planted their seedlings with great success using glass cloches, milk bottles and juice containers. However, in most of Canada, the thought of planting outdoors is still a few weeks away. This month we will discuss where to plant, how to plant (trellis VS ground) and how to prep the soil.

A pastoral setting at Northern Dipper. Hundreds of thick walled gourds have just been brought in and are ready to go. 
We have some letters from you, our readers, and as a special treat, a link into some hypnotic gourd and guitar music. Gourd sightings and trivia will follow but in the meantime, please welcome our special guest Dynva Todd.

  Dynva Todd 
Bringing Life To Gourds, Paint and Clay  

This carved fiery dragon demonstrates how versatile Dynva Todd is with her gourd art.


Dynva Todd is a creative woman who is active with gourds, clay and paint. Dynva teaches gourd art and is also the Vice President of the Washington Gourd Society. Dynva is so interesting we thought it would be best to start at the beginning. In this story we will witness the artist emerging like a butterfly from her cocoon, and during the exploration, Dynva has learned both about challenging herself and others too.

"I come from a family of six kids. Most of my relatives are from Georgia. My great grandfather had a farm with cows and two ponds in Forsyth and we grew up knowing how to fish early on in our lives. Getting down and dirty with cleaning fish and quail was never a problem for any of us." 
"We all loved the farm life and enjoyed feeding the cows, fishing in the ponds and catching "lightening bugs." Needless to say I was a tomboy growing up -the things boys did were much more exciting than many of the things girls did. Snakes, frogs, bugs - all were fun, and now as an artist, I am still drawn to those wonderful themes of nature." 
 Baby Elephant
"I had no clue I had any artistic talents until 1995 when my two youngest daughters were in elementary school. I volunteered to do their "Monthly Birthday Bulletin Boards." and it was here that I discovered that I could draw pretty much what I see. I decided to take a few drawing classes at one of the community colleges here in Seattle and also took an oil painting class."
"In 2003, during a visit at my mother in law's place in Tucson, we went to a Tahona Chul gift store where I found a wood burned gourd. I really loved it and my husband went back to buy it for me but it had already sold. I thought about it and decided, "Why can't I do that!"  Later my husband and daughter were driving up to Phoenix to visit family and they stopped at Wuertz Farm and purchased a few gourds for me. I chose a picture of a ram from a drawing book I had, sketched it out and then wood burned it. I used a horse - hair rim and sold it for $75. Now that was a lovely surprise.” 


 "Wildlife has always captured me.  I travel; with 'a camera in hand' as I use my photographs in my sketching for both my gourd art and paintings."
When asked what inspires Dynva in her art she replies, “Colours, shapes and details have always been vivid to my eye, but it wasn't until I was 43 when I realized that this visualization was just my artistic side calling to me. I see art in everything; a person's face, a tree in leaf, a seashell at the beach. Drawn to natural textures, I have always been a collector of rocks, bone, and feathers. I once had a relative mention that my house "is full of 'dead' things' because I have horse hair, fox, beaver and other pelts, turkeys feet, different animal skulls and more hanging in my studio. I believe that using these in my art gives reverence and honour to the animals whose spirits have departed.” 

"I love wood burning and almost every gourd I have wood burned is with a medium skew. That is by far my favourite wood burning pen. I am learning to burn with different pens, like the ball pen and the shading pen. I buy many books in pyrography, scroll saw, chip carving, woodturning, woodcarving, and certainly gourd art and I love books on nature and wildlife photography. I have taken classes from Bonnie Gibson, Betsy Roberts, Dar Beck, and others and appreciate everything I have learned from these great teachers. I find, though, that when it comes right down to it, most of my techniques are self - taught." 


 Close up of Sea Horses
"When I first started wood burning on gourds, I was so excited I wanted to meet other gourd artists living in Washington (hopefully, near Seattle). I placed an ad in the American Gourd Society asking for any gourders in Washington to contact me. Lo and behold, I had people contacting me from all over Washington who were feeling the same need. Almost immediately I had a gourd artist from Marysville contact me and she and her husband drove down to have our first "gourd gathering" at my house.  They are now two of my very best friends. Our list of gourd artists was growing and an invitation to get together to meet and share a day of gourd art is always the first thing out of my mouth -- must be my big Georgia family that makes me love a crowd!"
"In 2007, a gourd artist, who was from Washington but living in Arizona, moved back to our state and was willing and ready to take up the challenge of forming a Washington State Gourd Society. With her determination and efforts, and the joint efforts of others in our group, we have established the WSGS. I am currently the Vice President of this group."
Brown Feathers  - A Painting by Dynva Todd
"I am married with three daughters and have two grandchildren. My husband is an attorney and in his spare time is a wood carver and builds furniture. I haven't been able to get my daughters interested in gourds but they are young adults so they have time; after all I was in my early 50's when I got hooked. Luckily, my family is really good in the "critique" department and I trust their opinions. Feedback is important; it makes us better artists and people!" 
To view more of Dynva's art click here.
and here...
For information about the WA State Gourd Society click here.
Thank you ever so much Dynva. We love your gourd work and your clay masks...they are gorgeous.  We could easily find a nice spot for your paintings too! See you at the Gourd Festivals. Carolyn and Linda 

The Gourd Grow Report # 2
It is May & your seedlings should be coming up quite nicely now. Once seeds germinate the growth will be rapid. Give them a mild mixture of fertilizer and water every 2nd time you water. (See Dawn Suter's excellent tip on germinating seeds under Dear Carolyn)
May 15 - Hardening Off:  If the weather is warm start setting out your seedlings a few hours a day in a sunny sheltered spot. This will prepare your plants for the end of the month when you plant the seedlings in your garden spot. (Do not let your seedlings dry out!)
Soil Preparation: To prep the soil, turn over and break up. Add lots of compost and wood ash and dig in well. Cut black garbage bags open and spread over your soil .Plastic will warm the soil, keep the weeds down and retain moisture.Use soil or rocks to keep the edges of the plastic from flapping. 
May 24 - If there is a threat of frost in your area do not risk planting out. The seedlings are very valuable now as there is not time to start new seeds.
To plant: Water your seedlings well before planting. Rip a small hole in the plastic, dig a small hole & pop in your seedling. If you are working in heavy clay throw in a handful of Pro-Mix and then plant your seedling. If you have planted 2 seeds per peat pot, gently rip the 2 seedlings apart & plant 1 seedling per hole.
Push the soil firmly around the stem of the seedling and water well. Your seedlings may go into shock and wilt temporaily. Don't worry - they will recover quite nicely within 24 hours.
To view the Northern Dipper Gourd Growing Guide click here.

Dear Carolyn!
Hi there Carolyn and Linda, 
I would just like to add to the info re: starting gourd seeds in last months Newsletter Issue 39. It mentions starting seeds on dampened paper towels - I have done that but it takes very careful watching. Dries out soooooo quickly.
I prefer to put a handful of damp pro mix and the seeds in a small plastic bag and place it on a heating pad turned low. Works like magic. I keep checking, removing each seed as it germinates. (This may be spread over several days even with the same type).


I also first carefully clip those little horns that are on some of the seeds. This lets the moisture get in and starts things going. Hope this is useful. I bought my seeds from you at Canada Blooms and will be starting them soon. Usually about April 15th here in Southern Ontario.
Dawn Suter
Great idea Dawn!  We're always happy to hear of different ways of starting and growing gourds. I will try a handful the way you have suggested. Also when using the paper towel style , if you slip them in a baggie, this will also help keep the towels moist.
Warm regards, Carolyn

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you very much for opening your shop to us on Tuesday, and for your hospitality and friendship. We enjoyed meeting you and thank you for showing us your gourds and explaining how they are grown and decorated. I can hardly wait to work on them. I am looking forward to taking a class sometime and learning more. Many thanks to you! Linda

To send in questions to Dear Carolyn! click here.

Reader's Corner  

Hi Northern Dipper,
Tonia's daughter Danielle took my "Play Your Gourd" workshop at the Florida Gourd Festival.  What a lovely talented little girl.
Alycin Hayes

* Tonia Owen was our featured artist in April. If you missed it click here and then click on Issue 39.


Thank you Alycin for your email. Hope all is well in your part of the world. Alycin played at one of the CGS Gourd Fests and she is a fantastic musician and teacher. For more info about some of the workshops and events that Alycin offers click here.

Hi Carolyn,

I was playing around with a gourd and some ink. I had been using a Dremel to cut the gourd but it’s not good enough. I found it very bouncy and one wrong move and there were chunks missing! Trial and error I guess. But the inks were very easy and fun to use. I guess this is my new flower vase! Now I just need some flowers. Jenn Simard
Thanks Jenn for the pictures. Your letter brings to mind the comment that Debby Russell stated in Issue 37... 
 "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."
Re: Dremel - You will find that the more you practice the more in control you will feel with a dremel. For cutting we sell a dynamite Proxxon mini jigsaw. It's easy to hold and is good with curved lines. Check it out if you like at 
Keep in touch and let us know what other  projects you are up to. See you this summer Jenn. Carolyn
Please send pictures or comments to Reader's Corner. Click here to contribute.

NEXT ISSUE:  Next month we are thrilled to present Sheree Leonard, an artist whose path began with a basket-making course 20 years ago. Many gourd artists incorporate basket-making techniques into their gourd art, and when looking at Sheree’s work, all one can say is say, “Wow!” Sheree’s pine needle rims are award winners as you will soon learn in the upcoming May issue of Gourd Fever.


Heading into June we will move ahead with the art of gourd growing. Night blooming gourd flowers and gourd sex / pollination will be discussed...both are essential for a good crop. We will start up our monthly specials again and will include pictures of our new products along with the specialty gourds.  

 A Rural Paradise
 Doves, robins, kildeers and many other nesting birds make
Northern Dipper Farm feel even closer to nature.
We thought we would have a bit of fun and add a link for purely entertainment value. It is of Einstein, an ultra talented African Gray parrot from the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee. Einstein is famous and has been showing up everywhere since his appearance on the show Animal Planet. You know what to do...
Good luck with planting. We will be crossing our fingers that the weather is warm everywhere there is a gourd seedling. Until next month...                       
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond
© Northern Dipper 2008

Back issues of our newsletter Gourd Fever are available at

Volume 4, Number 40 


In this Issue: 
Dynva Todd - Gourds Provide A Canvas For Talented WA Artist 
The Gourd Grow Report - Where, When and How To Plant Your Seedlings
Dear Carolyn! PLUS Reader's Corner
Gourd Sightings & Trivia  

Northern Dipper...
Carolyn is introducing some sizzling hot speciality gourds to add to her already vast 
list of dried gourds. There will be a good variety in limited numbers and will range
from jewelry to drum gourds! 
In addition last year's crops are coming
in from the fields and the quality
is fantastic!
These speciality gourds will be up on the website later this month so check back. 
Additional information will follow in next month's issue of Gourd Fever  as well.  
How many times have you thought about
making drums but it is such a hassle to find instructions, skins and a gourd. Now
Northern Dipper has solved your problem. A couple of clicks of your mouse & you will have:
 *A thick drum gourd from our new listing of Speciality Gourds
*Pre-cut quality skins
*An excellent resource book which describes the history of the drum along with many tutorials.
Drum making workshops will also be available in May and June at Northern Dipper Farm.
 INLAY - This easy to use product
will really make a statement when used
to embellish your gourd art. Many colours
and buffers are available.
WALNUT SLICES - Great embellishments for gourds, nice for teneriffe weaving, and for stiching baskets. To view the inlay and walnut slices click here.
 Workshops have been very popular and this year Carolyn is introducing eight new themes. These classes are educational, fun (be prepared to laugh) and a chance to make new gourding friends. To view the schedule click here.
Due to the recent exchange rates,  pricing on books have been lowered.  Check it out at -

Dynva Todd 
"I fell in love with gourds literally from the moment I held a raw gourd in my hands!  Gourds were a canvas that offered so much more versatility than paper or fabric."
 Fairy Gourd

"I enjoy using a wood burner and find the wood-burning pen is just another variation of a brush or pencil for me. "

Ocean Swimmers
Dynva’s dad was in the Army and they moved every 2-3 years. He retired in Hawaii and Dynva lived there during her teenage and young adult years. Since she was there for so long she  considers Hawaii home. This gourd 'The Ocean Swimmers' is reminiscent of life in Hawaii. We love the way the water is catching the light. Very nice Dynva, it almost makes us want to hold our breath!
The Roar of the Lion
 Advice To New Gourders 
"In that I am always trying new techniques, I feel I am still a beginner in my art. I get a bit of a "nervous stomach" before starting a new project and then my comfort zone takes over and I am on my way. I do enjoy the process of both learning and doing." 
 "My advice for beginners is to pick a project that speaks to you and go for it. You will find that every piece of art teaches you something. Don't be afraid to ask questions,
buy books, take classes and most of all, experiment. For those who aren't comfortable drawing, there are techniques to use such as graphite paper and transparent adhesive paper.  Just remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Take the plunge and you will be richly rewarded."   
A Colourful Fibre Rim
 Gourd Mask
  This is a fine looking drum with a two-tone drum skin. 
"My mother-in-law was a potter who lived in Tucson. During a visit I made my first clay mask and found I loved working with clay. She kiln fired and then pit fired my masks and shipped them back to me. I then added the head dresses from my numerous collections of natural embellishments." 
"According to my mother, we are 1/16 Cherokee which might explain the fact that I have always been drawn to Native American art.  I also love wildlife art and Hawaiian art." 
 Medicine Man
"I have been told by some that my
clay masks have a spiritual presence.
I feel it is the essence of the animals' spirits and the earth used in the makeup of the clay that gives off this nature." 

The Gourd Grow Report # 2

The 3 most important factors to gourd growing:

 1.) Plant in full sun 
2.) Plant in compost rich soil 
3.) Provide plenty of water
First Leaves 
 Where to plant:
Plant in a southern exposure as your seedlings are going to require as much sun and heat as possible. Some people plant directly in the compost pile with great success.
Commercial plastic comes in large rolls. For home gardens use black plastic bags.
Trellis VS Ground:
If the gourds you are planting are large - i.e. bushels - do not grow on a trellis. Trellises should be strong as green gourds can be very heavy. Here is an article for building a strong trellis for gourds. We recommended using chicken wire instead of string as shown in the instructions.
Freshly planted gourd seedlings

Workshop Photos
Nadine is taking some one-on-one workshops with Carolyn on account of her crazy
schedule. Carolyn is very flexible and
welcomes one-on-one workshops.
Just call or email for details.
Here are doll-makers Jolene and Nancy.  In this beginners class they have learned how to clean and cut a gourd and how to create a pine needle rim. To view their blog which includes the Canadian Doll Artist Retreat click here.
Group workshops are great for both groups of friends and for 'not for long' strangers.

Cool Music

Musicians Michael Waters and Kinobe have combined their talents to create Afro-Canadian World Music Fusion. Michael has played guitar as a spiritual practice for 3 decades while Kinobe blends traditional and Afro-folk sounds. Kinobe makes all of his own instruments including a 21-string gourd kora. To hear some very cool music click here.

Once in click on Music/Video 


To learn more about Kinobe and to hear more of his music click here. 

Gourd Sighting
We love the old movies which have
strong story lines and an excellent cast of characters.
 "Our Man In Havana" (1959) is such a movie.  In pre- Castro Cuba James Wormold (Alex Guinness), a vacuum cleaner salesman, becomes a member of the British secret service.  In an attempt to increase his importance to the service he invents stories of espionage and intrique, all of which the Secret Service take as serious business. Gourds maracas were sighted a few times throughout the movie. To learn more about this classic movie click here.

  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 mailing system may only be used for sending permission based email.
If you did not give permission to receive emails from this sender, please notify us.

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