artists, growtips, info & more

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                   Three Wise Guys by Wendy Rinehart 

In This Issue: A few years ago, when living in Toronto, an October highlight would be attending The Creative Sewing & Needlework Festival. The one exhibit that we always sought out was the doll artists showing off their creations.

One year we met a woman named Wendy Rinehart. Her dolls were fantasy and historical in nature and were perfect in every sense of the word. She was a wealth of information and made everyone feel at home in the booth.

Now, a few years later, our paths have crossed again. We are very pleased to have with us this month, as our featured artist, Wendy Lynne Rinehart, doll artist and now gourd artist.
Workshops at Northern Dipper
Gold Leaf
Gold leafing dates back to ancient times and when used on gourds, the results are extraordinary. In this month's tutorial leafing has been made extra easy by using heat activated glue. Learn how to do this technique in six short how simple is that! 
                        A Commercial Gourd Field
If it has been hot in your area your gourd plants will have umbrella sized leaves; at least that is what it feels like. In July the flower count will go way up and the month can also bring a few stink bugs and powdery mildew to your crop which is not good. Get the latest on "what to do in July" in our latest report Notes From The Gourd Patch.
Dear Carolyn, Reader's Corner and a "not for the shy" gourd sighting appear as well as another installment of The Lone Gourd by Sherry Davidson. It is December and Gord is covered up to his neck in snow. He is wounded and...never mind, you will have more fun reading the letter yourself! 
                      The Lone Gourd             The 5th of a series of letters from gourd lover Sherry Davidson
This letter was written on December 30, 2008
Happy New Year Carolyn and Linda! 
The Lone Gourd has gotten bigger and bigger. I built a tee-pee for it and all seemed well. Every day I said to him - we'll prove Carolyn wrong - we will survive and go to class and become something wonderful!
Then the cold weather came. I rushed to the site of the Lone Gourd and there was a big gash in his side. Must have been attacked by some rampaging squirrels during the week when I was not there to protect him. I could not bear to move him even though I imagine he is just full of gangrene from his war wound and is now rotting from the inside - the little rotter!
His tee-pee is now covered with snow and all that is sticking up are his little red driveway markers. I imagine a very unsightly mess when the thaw comes. However in my mind he is still growing bigger and stronger and should be drying out quite nicely I hope. Already the diameter is 10 -12 inches, he has lost his fuzzy skin and is a smooth, mottled green colour.
Hope your Christmas was could it not be surrounded by mature, healthy gourds.
Happy New Year!

       Wendy Rinehart

                                   Mother Love

It was a gourd challenge by the Creative Doll Artists club that introduced Wendy Rinehart to a brand new medium. Her project consisted of two gourds and her creation, titled Mother Love, is a beautiful example of the bounty that Mother Nature can provide for our art.

The large variety of shapes of gourds was appealing to Wendy and in the case of the large gourd used in this project, the sensuous flow of the swan's neck opened the door to all kinds of possibilities. The fact that she could paint on a gourd - well this was a luxury that she usually does not have when creating a cloth-dressed doll.

The detail in her dolls and their costumes is fantastic...this is what has brought her success in her craft. Her dolls and her reputaion are well -known in the doll world. And as you can see she is using this skill for detail in her gourd art too.


                             Aztex Gold

Wendy studied commercial art in high school and then studied at the Ontario School of Art in Toronto. She ended up specializing in weaving and continued this in her post-graduate year at the Edinburgh College of Art and the Scottish College of Textiles in Scotland. This trip was made possible when she won a travel and study bursary from the Toronto Spinners and Weavers Guild which was later amalgamated into the Ontario Crafts Council.
During this period Wendy designed many tapestries which were made predominately of wool. The imagery was important and she would manipulate the warp to create a three dimensional surface. In addition she was displaying watercolours and pen and ink drawings as well as other crafts. 
When her mom expressed a desire to create craft paper dolls Wendy decided she needed more information so she bought her first doll magazine just to get a sense of what was happening in that industry.
She read an article on an Australian doll artist named Sue Bolton and by the end of the article she was hooked. Sue did these smiley older gnomes and Wendy found herself in love with all the kindly wrinkles and character. Even today Wendy prefers designing an older face over a baby face.
" I've always loved the image of dragons being hatched so here is my version." 
Each doll Wendy designs is different. Sometimes she is inspired by other artists, like James Christensen, and at other times her inspiration comes from an object or stones like agates. Sometimes it may even be a funny thought such as what would happen if a red hat lady met a musketeer. (See the Red Hat Lady.)
"Most of the materials I use are reclaimed from the local charity shops where leather jackets and clothing are abundant. There are beautiful fabrics in the second hand stores! I also use natural materials but I have to be careful as my dolls cross the border and some things are a no-no."
Wendy has read many books about both dolls and gourds. Once a month she meets with The Creative Doll Artist club which is, in her own words, "a monthly treat of learning new techniques, being inspired by other creative people, and hearing what they have learned lately."   
Wendy has been teaching art for a number of years. Previously she taught painting at Michael's craft store and currently teaches doll sculpting there.   Add in the Canadian Doll Association's annual conference plus stints at the Figurative Artists Consortium in Ottawa and her resume lengthens. Wendy has also found herself around many kitchen tables which are always a source of pleasure!
Keeping busy doing shows and exhibiting at various venues rounds out Wendy's schedule. A regular at the Coldwater and Area Studio Tour plus an exhibit at the Orillia Zephyr Gallery Women's Show and two area Christmas shows lead the list. She has a great family - totally supportive - and especially during show season, she really appreciates the help they offer.
So as you can see Wendy is only starting out with gourds but we expect that she will soon be picking up awards for her gourd art just as she has being doing for the past eight years with her dolls. It only stands to reason...imagination, creativity and professionalism is the recipe and Wendy Lynne Rinehart excels in all three areas.
To learn about Wendy's upcoming schedule, including teaching venues and shows, sign up for her newsletter at:
Thank you Wendy, we love your art and your attention to detail. We have always admired hand-made dolls and now
we have even a greater appreciation in what it takes to make them. Until we meet again! Carolyn and Linda

 Tutorial: Applying Gold Leafing
  Using A Heat Activated Glue  

                       Gold leaf in a gourd

This tutorial is for all the gourders that have been afraid to try the simple but elegant rich look of  leafing. For those of you that have tried but found using old glues difficult, you might just want to give this technique a chance using the new simplified heat activated glue.

The materials necessary to complete this project are as follows: leafing material, Palette heat activated glue, Gel Glaze, Memories Ink blue and brown, heat tool, paint brush, stiff brush, Generation Green indoor varnish, make-up sponge, Micron 005, #1 black marker and the gourd of your choice.
Leafing is available on the Northern Dipper website in three beautiful variegated colours: Blue, Green and Black.

Gold leafing adds a luster and shine to gourds and can turn a  
                project from humdrum into spectacular!

To learn more about Memories Ink, Generation Green Gel Glaze and Generation Green indoor varnish click here:
To learn more about gold leaf click here:
For info on dried gourds click here:

Notes From The Gourd Patch 

July is the busiest month in the gourd garden. There will be flowers to pollinate on a nightly basis, the pruning of the main vines and a constant eye looking for cucumber beetles, stink bugs and powdery mildew. First a little review on pollinating...


Hard-shell gourd flowers bloom only at night, each for only one night. Using a small paint brush go out and find the female. They will be found hiding under the leaves, unlike the male flowers pictured above, who have long stems and like to announce their arrival. Dab the male and then the female. One particle of pollen per female will result in a gourd.

(Keep in mind that in the northern climates the gourds are going to need time to mature. This is why it is important that lots of pollination take place in July.)
Pruning                                                           Your vines by this time will appear like a mumble-jumble of greenery. Pull the vines out and find the main one. You will want to prune or cut approx. 3" off the top of the main vine when it is about 6 feet long. This small act will allow the energy to go into the side vines, which is what you want, because the side vines is where the female flowers appear and where the gourds grow. 
The start of powdery mildew
Powdery Mildew
This mildew is a fungus which is caused by spores. It appears as whitish - grey dusty looking spots on the leaves. It sends out little roots into the cells of the plant and if not kept in check will eventually kill it.
Powdery mildew thrives in humid weather. To help combat this problem make sure that your vines have plenty of ventilation (weed around them if need be) and when watering use a trickle or soaker hose. The key is to avoid humid conditions around the plant if possible.
1.) Milk - Skim milk works best as there are no fats which may give off odours. Mix 1 part milk to 9 parts water and spray weekly. This also works well with roses and other plants.
2.) Liquid Sea Weed - Is said to boost the plants cell structure. Spray it on the leaves and the strength of the plant will help repel mildew.
3.) Baking Soda - Many gardeners rave about baking soda in the garden. Mix 2 - 10 G of soda per litre of water. Add a drop or two of dish soap which will act as a wetting agent and spray on the leaves.
4.) Sulphur Sprays - This is effective but will kill good fungi as well. When spraying soak the plants but do not soak them to the point where you get runoff. Sulphur sprays can be found at your local gardening centers or hardware stores.
              Stink Bug Photo by Marlin E. Rice

Stink Bugs 
These insects are quite fascinating when you think about it. They have glands located in their thorax which produces a foul smelling liquid. This liquid is their way of protecting themselves against predators.
From where we stand however we do not want them in our gourd gardens. The nymphs and adults will suck the sap from your plants and ultimately do damage. The females lay their eggs on the leaves.
The best remedy is to look for them in the morning when they are moving slowly. Get them on a piece of paper and dump them into a jar full of water and dish soap. Dawn detergent apparently works well.
To view male and female gourd flowers click here. Once in click on Issue 53:

DEAR CAROLYN              Hello
My tulip red Gilders paste is dry and crumbly. Is there anything I can mix with it to make it soft and easy to work with? I always look forward to each newsletter. Wish I could come for a workshop, but northwest Iowa is just too far from your farm.
Dianne Eiesland
Hi Dianne,
Thank you for your email. This is the beauty of Gilders paste...when it dries out, it doesn't mean the end of it as with a lot of other products. Just simply add a small amount of paint thinner. There are now many available with no odour.
You can also break off a small chunk of Gilders paste, mash it down adding paint thinner to a paint consistency and use a small paint brush to work small areas.
Hope this helps and let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
Many regards,

Readers Corner
Luna Moth
This photo was taken by DH Hall for the University of Florida 
The other night I was out at dusk with my paint brush and it turned out it will be a night I will never forget. Before my eyes was a luna moth, just hovering above my gourd vines.
I have read about these gorgeous green moths but I must say there is nothing like seeing one two feet away. Their wing span is about three inches; they are fine speciments indeed.
So not only are my gourd flowers being pollinated, I am also learning more about my immediate environment by being out there.
Thanks for the newsletters. They are educational, fun and both my wife and I love all the artists you feature. Keep up the good work!
Glen Curry - Port Dover, Ontario
Hi Glen, 
What a thrill to see a luna moth in your own back yard. I have only seen a luna once as well and it was a memorable experience.
Good luck with your gourd crop...let us know how everything goes.
All the best Carolyn and Linda
To learn more about the life cycle of the luna month click here:

NEXT ISSUE:  One of the highlights of the gourd business is the number of people we get to meet any given day. We were thrilled, when late last year, a woman named Dorcas Schauberger pulled up to our farm. Dorcas was 50 years of age when she did her first carving on a piece of wood she found on a hiking trail. She used a peeling knife and once done, took it to the local carving club to show off.  After they had a bit of a laugh they told her it was good and advised her on the proper tools to be used.
Dorcus is now 74 and her carving has much improved. She carves anything that is carvable including gourds. Dorcus is a ball of energy, still working a couple of days a week, actively hiking with in-between visits to the gym, and of course she is a regular at the local carving clubs. We are delighted to welcome Dorcus as our featured artist in the upcoming month of August.
We have had a few emails regarding our gourd luster pigments and in our mind knowledge is power. Coming up in the next issue of Gourd Fever will be a tutorial on the gourd luster pigments and how to use them with a variety of other products. We will also be introducing some new books which we have picked up...there are so many great books out there now compared to a few short years ago! 
Don't forget to take advantage of the mini workshops. And remember even though we are on vacation you can still sign up through our email at . (Just leave your name, address, phone number, the workshop(s) you want to take and how many people.) We will be back at our desks July 27th and will be looking forward to seeing you August 1 or 2. 
So now it is officially summer! Kids are out of school, the sun is shining and everyone is smiling.  Have a great month everyone and we will do the same. See you in August!
                                       Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond 

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


 Volume 5, Number 54 


In this issue:
Wendy Lynne Rinehart: A New Challenge Opens Up New Doors

Tutorial: Gold Leafing Using Heat Activated Glue by Carolyn Cooper

Notes From The Gourd Patch

The Lone Gourd by Sherry Davidson

Dear Carolyn, Reader's Corner & Gourd Sightings

     A New Concept in    Workshops at Northern Dipper 
 I have had an amazing number of emails from readers in response to the fact that I will not be teaching workshops in July.
To make it up to you, I want to
offer you an exciting assortment
of mini workshops!  
The Goal
 The focus of these mini-workshops is to introduce you to new products and to teach you
how to use them properly. New techniques will be introduced along with lots of discussion. These workshops are guaranteed to build confidence and to increase knowledge, plus you will have a good time!  
The Dates
Sat. August 1 & Sunday August 2
As these workshops are closely timed pre-registration is required. It will be easy...just sign up through our email address at
The Cost
Between $7.00 - $10.00. You will  be paying only for the materials. Scrap gourds will be used as the focus of the workshops will be on learning how to use the new products and techniques.
The Details
Saturday, August 1
Batiking with
Adirondack Inks
 10:00 am - 11:30 am
 One of my most popular gourds at the shows are my batiked gourds using Adirondack inks. They are real show stoppers with their unique and beautiful finish, yet it is easy to accomplish after a bit of guidance. This is also a stunning finish for gourd jewelry.
Cost of workshop: $7.00
Down Memories Lane!
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
 I am so excited about these absolutely beautiful inks and their outstanding results. You will not only learn how to use them on their own, but also how to mix them with varnishes and waxes to create wonderful fade-resistant finishes. Lots of tips and tricks will be offered.
Cost of workshop: $10.00
Gold Leafing Upgrade
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
 Unfortunately many artists shy away from the art of gold leafing thinking it is difficult and complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth! With the new heat activated glues it is simple and quick to add this rich and elegant embellishment to your gourd. Bring a heat gun if you have one. If you do not, you may have to wait your turn to use one of ours.
Cost of Workshop: $7.00
Sunday, August 2
 Gourd Luster Pigments
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
These intense mica powders will add some stunning results to your gourds. The various ways they can be used with different products are limitless. In this workshop students will incorporate the pigments into a variety of other products such as glazes, texture pastes and varnishes. These powders will add a WOW factor to your artwork. Cost of workshop: $10.00
Basic Coiling with
Danish Cord
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Coiling is the most frequently used method to embellish the rim of a gourd. Learning the basic stitch to attaching a rim of Danish coil will be explored in this workshop. This technique will enable students to explore the use of other rimming material. Cost of workshop: $7.00
Gilders Paste
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
 If you love an easy to use versatile product that gives a semi-transparent finish then take this workshop. These one-step pastes  give lasting coverage and are easy to blend. Hints and tips on using Gilders paste will be shared.
Cost of workshop: $7.00 
For details on the mini-workshops click here:

  Wendy Rinehart
At age ten Wendy saw her first loom at the Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario. Little did she know then that this encounter would set her path as an artist. 

"I didn't start painting until after I started working as a transparency retoucher in the printing industry. I wanted something to do at coffee break other than drink coffee!"

Nip 'n' Tuck
This is a Prosculpt polyclay doll with a cloth covered wire armature. Wendy used leather and fabric for the clothing and mohair for his beard and hair. This little man has been nominated for the 2009 Dolls magazine "Award of Excellence."

Queen Titania at the Autumn Ball This sculpt was awarded a first place in the Fantasy/Masters category at the Canadian Doll Artist Association annual conference this year. A cloth doll, this lady has a wire armature in the shape of a skeleton. Muscle groups are then attached and everything is covered up with a nylon stocking.

"I wanted to create a strong elegant character and Queen Titania seemed to fit the bill. I created the wall and the tree she is sitting on with pink insulation and wrapped wire. This cloth sculpt has also been nominated for a "Dolls, Award of Excellence."

( The magazine is called Dolls and like the Oscars, to be nominated you have to be juried. To win, people who buy the magazine or receive it off the Internet, must vote for their favorite.)

This dragon (pictured on the left) is made from three gourds; the egg is one, the body and the neck are another, and the head is a small one. "I had to cut the neck and attach it at a different angle. I then used paperclay to re-establish the neck line as well as shaping the head. The image that encompasses the egg was totally inspired by the markings on the gourd. The wings are cloth and wire."

 This swan like figure was designed as a tribute to the town of Coldwater's 100 year celebration. It refers to an annual charity race. She is made of an air drying product called paperclay and has a wire armature. The skirt also has a wire structure and the wings are connected to it. She was one of the three People's Choice award winners.

"There are so many great books out there, start reading. Find like-minded people and groups and
start listening."

Wendy does different types of dolls in polyclay and cloth, but they all start with a body wire armature.

The Prosculpt polyclay dolls can take between one and three weeks, depending on the costume and the base. The cloth dolls can take up to three months because their armature is much more complicated. It is shaped as an actual skeleton, ribs and all. Individual muscle groups are attached and then everything is covered with a nylon stocking material. Some needle sculpting is added to give it additional shaping.

This is a technique first designed by an American artist by the name of Lisa Lichtenfels.

 Red Hat Lady

This detail is unbelievable!

Leafing In Six Easy Steps
by Carolyn Cooper
Step 1 

Cut, clean and prepare the gourd. My gourd was on the pale side so I decided to bring out the natural markings using the warm brown Memories Ink. For the rim I used blue Memories Ink.

For complete instructions on how to use the Memories Ink click here. Once in click on Issue 53.

Step 2
If you have difficulty colouring your cut rims, (dyes and inks soaking in unevenly) add a few drops of colour to a small scoop of Generation Green Gel Glaze. You will now be able to colour your rims evenly without wasting a lot of ink.
 Step 3
 Choose your design or section to be leafed. I purposely chose a small design to show you that even with it being so small it did not make it any more difficult than a large section.
I used a small paint brush and applied glue. Stay in your lines, remember the leafing will stick wherever there is glue.
Step 4
Once this is done apply heat for a couple of minutes using a heat gun until the glue is dried. It is almost impossible to overheat the glue but more possible to underheat it.
This is the time that you will ask if a hair dryer can be used. NO! You will be unable to get the required direction and heat from a hair dryer. 
 Step 5
Once you have activated the glue simply start sticking your gold leaf on to your pattern. Don't worry about rushing or neatness. Just push and press on.
Step 6
Once your pattern is covered with leaf, take a stiff paintbrush and brush off the excess. I do this over a piece of wax paper. Once done I collect all the flakes into a container for my next project.
To finish, seal and protect your project with a coat of Generation Green indoor varnish.

Gourd Sightings 
Horim or Penis Sheath
I am reading an excellent book titled "Tales of a Female Nomad" by Rita Golden Gelman. This woman is a traveller, not a tourist, and while in New Guinea she writes, "We met men, some in shorts, others wearing only horim, penis gourds. The horim, hollow gourds that look like long carrots, some more than a foot long, slip over the penis and are attached at the top by one string that ties around the waist...."
Gelman continues, "There are actually fashions in horim. Some men like them narrow and long; others prefer a crooked one. And most men have several for various occasions, or perhaps moods."
To learn more about horim click here:
To learn more about the book "Tales of a Female Nomad" click here.

 Dear Carolyn
Calabash Ornaments
Hi there,
You seem to know a lot about gourds so I am hoping you can settle a discussion my husband and I had the other night. I think that I read somewhere that gourds can grow on trees. Hubby, even though I love him dearly, insists that I am out of my gourdly mind. What is the answer?
Thank you,
Ester Wallace,
Grey Stone, Saskatchwan
   Calabash Tree
Well Ester, it just so happens that when we were in Guatamala we came across quite a few gourd trees. The trees themselves can grow anywhere from 20 ft - 40 ft. and they can be found growing in hot climates. I understand that calabash even grows in Florida.
The tree gourds are referred to as calabash and the fruit range in diameter from 3" to 20".  
Calabash have an extremely hard shell and are darker in colour compared to the vine-growing varieties. They are used as water containers, cups and bowls.
 I have included a photo of a calabash tree for your interest.
Good luck!


Northern Dipper
Is On Vacation During July!

Northern Dipper will be closed from July 1 - 26 for drop-in visits.

The farm and shop will be open on Saturdays and Sundays during this period from 10 am - 4 pm.

No Internet orders will be shipped from July 1 - 26.   

 In Loving Memory of Jade
      1995 - 2009    

    Published by:  
Pam Grossi 
        Victoria, B.C., V8W 2Z7   

     Northern Dipper Farm
        5376 County Rd 56
     RR 2, Cookstown, Ont.,
         L0L 1L0, Canada
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Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada