Jennifer's first love was painting, tiny water- colours to huge wall-size paintings, but since she discovered gourds her paintbrushes and oils have been laid to rest. Inspired by the outdoors Jennifer finds that nature has a calming effect on her, a mood which is reflected in the nature notebook she carries under her arm. It is filled with drawings, words and ideas; many of which end up on the shell of a gourd.
Many times what she experiences will be the impetus for a gourd design. Sometimes she will hear a lyric in a song that carries strong visuals and it will end up on a gourd. Obsessions with certain subjects lead to experimentation; the current being marine animals. Jennifer is working on several gourds now; some are more "serious" and some are "fun" Celtic designs inspired by ocean animals.
When speaking about various techniques Jennifer points out that pyrography is by far her favorite. She started out with painting on gourds because it was comfortable, but after learning that gourds could be burned, she started to really experiment. Her husband bought her a good pyrography tool and it was then that Jennifer began to develop the techniques she uses now.
Jennifer has exhibited up to 6 art shows per year but now will only do 2. It is important to her that her work stays fresh plus it avoids the pressure of just cranking the stuff out. She firmly states, "I want the quality to be the best and that takes time. And I want to have fun too."
Fun is also found at the PA Gourd Society. As a founder Jennifer spread the word that there was a need. Within two months they were getting ready to become official. Still acive she now serves as their website manager and membership secretary.
Follow The Leader
Jennifer lives with her husband and her 10-year old daughter, plus two crazy cats, an anti-social house rabbit, and a goldfish that she thinks might be immortal. Outdoor pets includes hummingbirds and lots of other birds and squirrels too. Fishing on their little boat is a favorite family activity as is hiking and gardening (her daughter grows the prettiest flowers!).
Jennifer sells her work through her website and on Etsy.
To view more of Jennifer's work click here:
Thank you Jennifer for sharing your work with us. Your art is beautiful and we are very impressed that you are learning the fiddle! Good luck with your shows. Carolyn and Linda
Rimming with Philodendron Leaves
by Caroyn Cooper
Tutorial: Rimming with one of Nature's most beautiful and natural products
The philodendron sheath is what protects emerging new leaves of the philodendron plant. As the leaf grows out, the sheath is no longer needed. It dries and awaits some gourd artist to claim it.
These beautiful reddish brown sheaths become soft and pliable after being soaked in water for 10 minutes and are perfect for twining, plaiting and stitching. I like to add a tablespoon or so of fabric softener to the water. It seems to keep the leaves a little softer once they dry.
What you need:
- A gourd, cut, cleaned and stained how you desire
- Three philodendron sheaths
- Irish linen thread
- Blunt tipped needle
-Tape (I use painters tape but masking tape will work too)
Note: To get this rich coloured gourd I first applied Memories Black Ink. Once dried I then went over it with Memories Ink Cherry Red.
Embellishments can be anything and everything!
I used seed pods, beads, gourd seeds, feathers and a king pod palm for this project.
A walk in the woods can produce a large number of materials which can be used as embellishments.
To view Irish waxed linen thread click here:
To learn more about Memories Inks click here:
15% off all dried gourds this month (excluding minis)...perfect timing for the gathering of supplies for this and other fall projects. (Farm visits only) Click here for details:
The Art of Growing Gourds
This letter could not be more timely. It nicely describes our topic of the month - powdery mildew.
Dear Northern Dipper,
I have had a very successful year but am noticing that some of my gourd leaves have white spots. I wasn't too concerned at first but the spots seem to be spreading. What is it and should I be worried?
Hamish Smith - Brandon, Manitoba
What you are describing is powdery mildew, a fungus which are caused by spores which travel with the wind. It first appears as small whitish-gray fuzzy spots on the leaves and if not checked will spread, covering the plant and eventually killing it. It occurs more often in the midsummer humidity and affects some gourd varieties more than others.
Powdery mildew is hard to control once it takes hold.
The best way to deal with powdery mildew is at the first sign mix together 1 Tablespoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap into one gallon of water. Using a spray bottle saturate both sides of the leaves.
1.) Water your gourd plants well the night before you spray.
2.) Do not apply in the full hot sun as it may burn the wet leaves.
3.) Keep the ground around the base of the plants clear of dried leaves and debris.
4.) Spray once per week until under control.
Good luck Hamish, send us some photos of your crop!
Carolyn and Linda