artists, growtips, info & more

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  Gourd Lady by Australian artist Maureen Hall

In This Issue: 
Get on your travelling shoes folks! We are off to the land of Oz to the small town of Gulgong to visit with artist Maureen Hall. The first thing that strikes you is her gorgeous gardens, designed with texture and colour in mind, a place that reveals the creative nature of this interesting woman. After touring this oasis we go in and talk about gourds, gourd art and the gourd scene in Australia. We will see gourd art with a slightly different slant (compared to North American art.) This interview is most enjoyable...
please welcome Maureen Hall.

Happy Valentine's Day

Click here to view a tutorial by Lois Dean on how to create this romantic lamp. Once in click on Issue 12.

Our mail bag is bursting at the seams and we have letters, links and photos to share. We love the mail bag, never know what is going to show up next and as there are so many facets of the gourd life, it can never get boring.

It is winter in many parts of the country and last summer's gourds are drying quite nicely amid the frost, ice, wind and snow. There are gourds on the go on the work table and to complete the picture make yourself a hot cup of tea and relax for a moment with this February issue of Gourd Fever.

                      Maureen Hall

Maureen Hall has had an adventuresome life and gourds have always made an appearance in one way or another. Born and raised in South Africa, Maureen loved the colours and smooth textures of the calabash (gourd) pieces she would see at the markets but at the time she did not realize that calabash could be used as an art medium. At the time she would have never imagined that in her future she would be creating gourd art in Australia!

After emmigrating to Australia Maureen found herself at a local tip and low and behold she found a gourd for sale. She took it home and cut it into a bird feeder and started to research gourd art on the Internet. Maureen was amazed at all the information she found, art that was inspirational and eye-opening. 

Her thirst to delve into this new area was overwhelming and soon she found a supplier of gourds. Then the acrylic paint, a cheap burner, a then a more expensive one filled her kitchen table. A carving set, lots of experimentation and the addiction was set. A new workshop was built and now Maureen has a spot that is comfy and a perfect place to let her creative energies flow.

Maureen's special boy eating from her very first bird feeder.

Two years have passed since Maureen picked up that first gourd and she has learned alot. In that short time her techniques have changed and developed and she has become much more adventuresome in her work. With no formal art training or previous involvement in art there have been some challenges but that is all part of the fun. Much is learned just by trying and sometimes what initially seems like a dreadful mistake turns out to really add to a piece. 

Before gourds Maureen's energies went into her beautiful gardens. She loves creating  spaces and atmosphere by using colour and texture. Beginning with an idea Maureen states that gardening requires great patience as it is not an instant art form. The reward comes after a season or two when the end result is apparent. This is when people stop to admire, chat and get lost in the wonderful scents.

                      Maureen's Garden

We had to know what the gourd scene is like in Australia and soon learned that Australia is similar to Canada in the fact that it is a huge land mass and gourd artists are spread out all over the place. Consequently Maureen has not met any other gourd artists but instead depends on the Internet to communicate with other artists and to learn new techniques. She does have some books including Bonnie Gibson's book which she just loves.

As far as suppliers Maureen only knows of one commercial grower in Australia which is The Danish Flower Shop in Toowoomba, Queensland. There may be one in Western Australia as well but its whereabouts is unknown to Maureen.

Like many gourd artists Maureen is always on the lookout for anything gourd related. She stops at every art and craft shop, art shows and gift shops and a sighting is a rare bird indeed.


In November 2010 Maureen planted a large gourd crop in her garden. With the help of a good friend they erected a 30 metre trellis like structure and now she is waiting with anticipation for the bounty of gourds that will grow. She also has a small crop drying that will keep her busy for quite a while.

Maureen was born and raised in South Africa and left for Australia when she was thirty. Now, twenty years later, she and her husband are retired and doing the things that they love. The first thing they did upon retirement was to buy a caravan (small motor home). They set out to find a place to retire to and ended up travelling 32,000 km. And then one Sunday they pulled into a small gold rush town called Gulgong. It was love at first sight and by Tuesday they had bought a house. Their house is a converted church built in 1871. 

Maureen loves the small village feel of Gulgong and that, combined with her home and garden, is all the inspiration Maureen needs to continue creating her unique gourd art.

Thank you Maureen, you are absolutely lovely and we love your art too. Keep in touch; we would love to hear from you. (How are your gourds growing? Let us know!) Carolyn and Linda

Out Of The Mailbag!
Hi there,
I work at a greenhouse and we grew some of your extra long handled gourds last year. The customers loved them! We loved your seeds and will be ordering again this year. Enjoy the photo.
Josh R, MO

Whoa Josh, these gourds are impressive and really make a statement. I can just imagine how your customers were in awe. Did you leave them hanging to dry? Carolyn and Linda

         Winding Ivy by Julie-Anne Wallewein 

Good morning Carolyn and Linda,
Just wanted to take a minute to drop you a line and say hello from Saskatchwan.

Since attending the Canadian Gourd Festival I have used my new little saw I bought from Northern Dipper and it is great. I intend to use it much more this year.

I have attached a couple of photos showing my work using the Memory Inks. They are very versatile. I really appreciate you showing me all the different techniques at the Gourd Festival.

My son is jealous of all the snow Ontario has received. Hope you are able to get around.

Have a great year and I look forward to reading all the new issues of Gourd Fever in the upcoming months.

Julie-Anne Wallewein, Saskatchwan

Hi Julie
We are so happy you are enjoying the gourds, tools and inks...we like what you've done. The ivy is lovely to look at and makes us long for summer.

As for the snow, if I could, believe I would pack up a foot or two and send it to your son. Can't wait till spring! Take care and hopefully we'll see you again. Linda and Carolyn   

           The face of the Sultan by Mary Anne

Finally, every last jot and tittle, so to speak, is done on my gourd sultan. Well, except the scarf around the waist. I really enjoyed making this doll. I goofed in a couple of places but I did learn. For example I learned not to put the feet too close together! It doesn't work. The second was not smoothing out the paper clay enough. And I could not measure the accuracy for some reason so I finally gave up trying and just placed a large rubber band around the middle and drew a line around it!
So thank finished doll has been a great boost to my ego.
Mary Anne
Mary Anne your sultan is amazing. It is so detailed and we just love his beard. Thanks for sending these photos in...we really enjoyed them. Carolyn and Linda

Introducing Henry
Henry, a handsome fellow to be sure, is Carolyn's new
cat. He loves to cuddle and show off and has made himself quite at home. The only thing he wasn't to impressed with was his bath.

               "Hey this wasn't part of the deal!"

   Here's Henry clean and content. He's a beauty.

Looking Ahead: March 2011
March is going to be an exciting month for us. First off we are honoured to have with us, as our featured artist, Mary Hogue. Mary's work has a style unlike anyone else making it very unique, beautiful and in demand. She is full of positive energy, an absolute delight, and we are very pleased that she will be here in the March issue of Gourd Fever.

We will have an article by Debbie Russell on water cured gourds. This was new to us and we found it quite fascinating. We think you will too.

It's Valentine’s Day in a few days and every year we link into Lois Dean's tutorial on how to make a Valentines gourd lamp. The illumination is beautiful and your walls will be covered with the silhouettes of hearts. Kids love this lamp as will that special someone in your life. So click on Issue 12 in our newsletter archives...there is a link in the introduction of this newsletter.

See you next month.
                            Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond 


PS If you have any comments, photos or stories send them along to


   Volume 7, Number 71 


In This Issue:
Maureen Hall: Gourd Art
From Down Under

The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper 

 Out Of The Mailbag!

Gourd Sightings and Trivia

The Bulletin Board 
 Ugly Gourd Sale
February is Ugly Gourd Month!
 Minis with a less than perfect shell but still functional and cheap! Stock up - it will be easy to do at .25 (one quarter) each as long as supplies last. To order click here:
Spring Shows
The Stratford Garden Festival
March 3 - 6,  2011
Canada Blooms
March 16 - 20, 2011 
Growers Wanted
Every year we present a series of reports on how to grow gourds. These reports are very useful to new growers, and according to the mail, there are always tips that are useful for experienced growers too.
This year we would like to expand these reports but we cannot do it without your participation. We would like to hear from growers throughout this global gourd village in which we live, and learn about their experiences in growing gourds from around the world. We grow in Ontario, Canada - where do you grow?
 More on this idea next month. I am just planting a bug in your ear, something that will hopefully intrique you, give you something to think about!   

Maureen Hall
"My inspiration is the
natural texture, colour,
shape, and size of a
particular gourd. I tend to use earthy colours to compliment my gourds and love the raw ethnic finish with a western twist. It works for me."
Jen's Bowl
Mesh Ball
Advice To The New Artist
"In true Ozzie lingo...
JUST HAVE A GO! I Your layers of effort will make for an interesting finish. Just remember there are no rules...just relax and have some fun!"
"My favorite technique - well that has to be experimentation! I love using my simple little "cheapie" burner for the rustic look and my expensive woodburning set for very fine burning."
My Special Piece
"I hope to exhibit more in 2011 to promote gourd art. In 2010 I exhibited at a local show in Gulgong where I won "Best Hand Crafted In The Show." I also take my gourds to the market on a regular basis."
"I am aware of another gourd artist working in a market about
 3 hours from myself but we have
 not had the pleasure of meeting other than through email."
 "Birdlife is plentiful in Gulgong, particularily with such beautiful gardens and trees. My parrots
are an absolute pleasure and the blue wrens that have just moved in are a lovely reward."
"The parrots love the gourd feeders and I am hoping that the wrens will make the gourd birdhouses their home in the
near future."

 Gourd Sightings
PROJECT HARVEST works in the poorest parts of Guatemala and their goal is to enable the people to become self-sufficient. This group is making a difference to the lives of women, children and men in many ways.
To learn more about PROJECT HARVEST check out their
new video on YOUTUBE.
Keep your eyes open as there is a good gourd sighting too!

Out Of The Mailbag!
Hi Carolyn, It was nice seeing
you at the December craft show in Ottawa. I got a bag of  gourds from you about a month ago and wanted to show off my first gourd.
I am thrilled with it and now have 3 other gourds at various degrees of completion hanging off my chandelier. I can see how a person gets hooked
on this craft.
Take care, Cheryl Green
Cheryl this gourd is gorgeous! We would love to have you as a featured artist once you get a few more done. You are a natural! Carolyn
Northern Dipper takes a bow...thank you!
Dear Northern Dipper,
I wanted to thank you for a job well done. I love the newsletter and find that I look forward to it every month. The featured artists are incredible and I do try the tutorials when you have them.
I grew my first gourds last
year and was reasonably successful. This year will be even better. In short I think I am slowly turning into a big-time gourd head! Bye for now, Natalie Gregor, Seattle, WA
Thank you Natalie for your
kind words. We're gourd
heads too - enjoy it!
Carolyn and Linda
The Sultan by Mary Anne 
Gourd Flute Music
A relaxing experience
Hi there, I was surfing the net
and came across this gourd
flute music. I thought you may want to include it in your newsletter. Hope Ottawa was good for you. Deb
Thanks Deb for the link. Great music, very relaxing. Just the ticket to help us get through February, the shortest month of the year yet sometimes it seems like the longest!
Linda and Carolyn
To hear this gourd flute music
click here:
To learn more about the gourd flute click here:

Happy Valentine's Day

 Published by:
 Pam Grossi
Victoria, BC, V8R 2Z7

Northern Dipper
PO Box 1145
5376 County Road 56 
Cookstown, Ontario
L0L 1L0, Canada
(705) 435-3307
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