Last month Northern Dipper exhibited at the Ball's Falls craft show. Carolyn and Linda's booth fit the season and they had a good time. Here are a few photos of their booth.
The final touches...
Carolyn with a Halloween greeter.
It was surprising the number of people that took photos while standing beside the gourd heads!
"Paint Your Own Pumpkin" , using gourds, is always extremely popular at the Ball's Falls show.
It is a great hands-on experience for those not familiar with gourds.
Owl with Mouse
One year, while volunteering for the Missouri Conservation Department, Bill Decker was asked to draw designs on pumpkins for a fall childrens' event. The response to Bill's designs was overwhelming but as we know, pumpkins rot after a few weeks. His drawings were gone forever.
A time later during a trip to Branson, Mo, he stopped at the Peter Engler Gallery and much to his delight, saw many examples of gourd art. He sought out some raw gourds and discovered that after the first day he was hooked.
When asked what it was about gourds he loved Bill replied it was the fact that they are not perfect. For some reason this opened up the door of creativity for him and since that time, he has not looked back.
You would half expect this owl to ruffle his feathers due to the exquisite detail.
Nature is Bill's greatest inspiration in creating gourd art. He loves the beauty of the land, birds, animals, water, the sky, the trees and flowers. Previous to gourds, Bill's art work was watercolour painting and pen and ink drawing. These days the welcomed challenge is creating sculpture by combining several gourd pieces and allowing the original idea for a particular gourd to flow into a natural shape. For the past four years Bill has worked exclusively with gourds.
As you can see from Bill's work woodburning is definitely a favorite technique. He prefers to work with gourds that have a smooth colour or that is only slightly marked so that the wood burning strokes show up better. Bill is mostly self-taught and states that trial and error is a very good teacher indeed.
Once he learned the basics of a wood burning pen Bill did take a course at the Missouri Gourd Festival with Joe Lee from Indianapolis, Ind. When working on a piece of art Bill will often refer to his large collection of art and nature books and of course, there is the input and encouragement from other gourd artists such as Bert Petrie and Judy Rickie.
A piece of art begins with an idea and this is when Bill will pick up a pencil. He free-hands a drawing on the gourd shell and then begins to burn the pencil lines. As the work progresses the design may change to present a smoother flow to fit the body of the gourd. Very often the finished product is not totally the idea that Bill started out. The changes lead to better continuity within the piece.
This is especially true when creating a bird sculpture from gourd pieces. His philosophy is that he has to be receptive to the demands of a gourd. Bill's goal is to create a piece that is esthetically pleasing to the idea as opposed to a realistic representation of any particular bird.
Bill Decker is involved in many aspects of the gourd world. He began teaching a couple of years ago and enjoys working with people as they learn his wood burning techniques. He is currently serving as a director for the Show-Me Gourd Society in Missouri and as a director, he is involved in the planning and assisting with their annual gourd festival. Bill is generous in spirit and finds it very rewarding to show others how wonderful the world of gourd art can be.
Bill and his wife Donna volunteer at out-of-state gourd festivals as well. They are members of the American Gourd Society, Texas, Arizona and Georgia Gourd Societies and is a juried member of The Best of Missouri Hands, a Missouri Artisans Association.
Bill and Donna live in rural Jackson County, Mo on the farm where Bill was raised. They have two sons and seven grandchildren. One of the things they share with their family is encouraging their art interests...they are probably Bill's biggest fans!
Bill and Donna both love the outdoors and they can often be found sharing walks, biking or kayaking. They love trips to the mountains where they hike and enjoy the wonders of nature. They are active members/volunteers at their home church and Bill is continually grateful for his God given talent and for all the enjoyment and opportunities it has provided him.
We are grateful as well as Bill's work is so unique it truly is inspirational to all who see it.
To learn more about Bill Decker and to view more of his wonderful art click here:
Thank you Bill for sharing your art and your thoughts with us. You are a master with the wood burning pen and if we ever get the chance we will see you at one of your workshops!
Carolyn and Linda
Creating a Cute Three Layered Snowman
This is an easy to paint snowman for the holiday season that young and old can easily do.
Three different sized canteens
Paint: Black, white and terra cotta
To view the Canteen gourds click here:
To learn more about paper rush click here:
For Apoxie Sculpt click here:
Introducing Joanne Kyle
Joanne is the owner of "Gone To The Birds", a business whose focus is; yes you guessed it, birds! Joanne is new to gourds but as you can see she is a natural. Crafting of any kind appeals to her but anything nature-related is her favorite.
Her motto is "Made for Nature...from Nature" and her line of bird houses, feeders and supplies is fresh and new. Made from all natural materials including wood, moss, twigs, bark and now gourds, Joanne's product line is purchased by rural land owners through to condo living urbanites.
When she is not busy with her bird business she is running the Tynee Tykes Home Childcare in Newmarket, Ontario. Joanne has two daughters ages 14 and 19.
Joanne will be exhibiting her products at the Sugar Plum Fair Craft Show at the Nottawasaga Resort, Ontario. Stop by...her wooden houses and feeders are just as wonderful as her gourd houses!
For details about the Nottawasaga Resort craft show click here:
To view Joanne's bird products click here:
Good morning Carolyn,
John Rosener calling. I wrote earlier in the year with a chewed gourd story (cats). I did as you suggested and gave it TLC. I cut the extra blooms off and kept three. Only one has survived to this point and as you can see this gourd is about the size of a medium cantalope.
Last night we had snow in Stratford. I had it covered but I think the time is coming to harvest. So I'll cut it off leaving a lot of stem and hang it downstairs.
How long will it take to completely dry out? I'll try and fight through the "blizzard" and get a picture. Any other suggestions?
Thanks for your letter. That is a beautiful gourd you have and providing it is mature should dry quite nicely. Leave your gourd until the vines are dead and then cut it from the vine. This happens after the first hard frost.
Gourds, apart from minis, usually take an entire winter to dry. It may get peeling skin and will definitely mold over...patience is required and it is not easy!
You can, if you like, hang your gourd in an onion bag outside in a tree. The snow, ice and wind will help it and it will look pretty after a snowfall. Let us know how it all turns out in the end and what you plan to do with it after it drys. Good luck...
Here is a field full of drying gourds. They get good air circulation during the winter and are easy to collect in the spring.
This is a canteen gourd molding over during the winter. The mold can be thick and look like velvet.
Looking Ahead: December, 2010
December is an exciting time at Northern Dipper as it is the month of the artist! First of all we are so pleased to have with us, as our featured artist, Kristy Dial. Kristy is an amazing artist. Her award-winning work is a draw at every show she attends and her passion gives
spirit and motivation to those who cross her path. We are thrilled to feature Kristy; a fact that you will understand when you meet her next month.
As is our annual tradition, December is when we like to honour the many gourd artists who have graced the pages of Gourd Fever during the past twelve months. We will check in with a couple to see how and what they are doing. It's a bit like seeing an old friend you have been out of touch with; always interesting and always fun!
We also have some letters to share plus some good gourd trivia. So until next month, stay happy and healthy.
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond