Note: If using Outlook click the above bar where it says “Click to download photos” The photos are the best part!

                 Sue Westhue's Gourd Minatures

In This Issue: Linda and I love travelling. There is no greater joy for us than packing up the motorhome and taking off to desirable locales. Our last pleasure trip was to the Festival of Gourds in Imlay City, Michigan. There were a lot of activities and we had such a good time meeting up with old friends and making new ones. We are going to share some of our gourd adventures with you in this November issue of Gourd Fever.
    Michael Smith won the People's Choice Award at the Canadian Gourd Society Gourd Festival last month. 
A couple of weeks later we loaded up again; this time with gourds, supplies and everything else you need to do a show. We were off to the Canadian Gourd Society Festival, held in the small historical town of Buckhorn, Ontario. Beautiful gourd art, lots of demos, and workshops filled the hall along with volunteers from the CGS. The excitement of both these shows were contagious and in the article On The Road Again - 'Gourd Times In Michigan and Buckhorn' you will see why. 

               Wood carver at the CGS Gourd Festival
Also featured this month are two artists from the Michigan Festival plus lots of mail, gourd sightings, our monthly music pick and more. So get your  travelling shoes on - to begin we are off to Michigan, a beautiful state known for its numerous lakes, ponds and now, gourd art!  
On the Road Again: 'Gourd Times in Michigan and Ontario' by Carolyn Cooper  

                         Sue Westhue's "Jingle Boy"

Linda and I have just returned from "The Festival of Gourds", an annual event held at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds in Imlay City, MI. It was a celebration of gourds, art, food, music and community and is the brainchild of Ron and Deb Stallings. With the help of many volunteers "The Festival of Gourds" is not only a gourd venue but a fundraiser for research and programs for the Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Centre at the DMC Children's Hospital, MI. This year $7600 was raised and this money will make a difference in many children's lives.

              Have a seat and learn how to play a gourd.

What were the highlights for us? To begin with all the friendly, talented people we met...not just gourders but woodworkers, musicians and many more. There were many fine artists in attendance and we have chosen two to feature in this newsletter; not only because of their art but because of the paths in their lives that brought them to where they are today.

Firstly there is Lucie Rhadigan Hiner; a naturally gifted artist. Her father Rol Rhadigan was a life-long commercial artist, and her brother, Floyd Rhadigan, is a nationally acclaimed woodworker. Lucie's work is both imaginative and unique.

                   Three owls by Lucie Rhadigan Hiner

Next is Sue Westhues, a well known gourd artist whose speciality is her gourd birds, minatures and musical instruments. She travels with a huge water drum bowl that is over 35 years old. It belonged to Charles Bixter Heiser Jr, a renowned ethno botanist who was a leading expert in sunflowers. He went on to become an authority on several other plants of economic importance including gourds. To have his bowl... it is an honor.

                           Carolyn and Bonnie Gibson

Both Linda and I took workshops and I was lucky enough to be able to spend three days with Bonnie Gibson. Bonnie is warm, dedicated and easy going and in truth I cannot think of enough good words to describe her.

A little background - Bonnie has been involved with art since she was a child. In the late 90's she discovered gourds and was thrilled to finally find a medium where she could combine all of her acquired skills. Teaching came naturally and Bonnie admits that when she sees others get as excited about gourds as she is, it makes it all very worthwhile. If you ever get a chance to do a workshop with her do not hestitate as it is inspiring, not to mention loads of fun!

                Bonnie's workshop was full all three days

We also had fun shopping. There were lots of vendors selling gourds and supplies; anything that the heart desired could be found here. There were people walking around with gourd hats and music which kept our toes tapping.

                     There were lots of demos too!
To finish off there was a big Saturday night dinner put on by Country Side Catering and Banquet. All the food was locally grown and it was delicious.

The Michigan Festival of Gourds was a huge success and it was just what Linda and I needed. It is rare when we are visitors and not vendors and we had such a good time we will be returning next year. We would highly recommend that if you have the chance you do the same.
The Canadian Gourd Society Festival - Buckhorn, Ontario
September 22 - 23 were spent at the Buckhorn Community Centre participating in the Canadian Gourd Society (CGS) Annual Festival. The setting was lovely; a small historical town surrounded by towering trees in their autumn colours of red, gold and brilliant orange. It was a perfect venue for a gourd festival.    

Barbara Bell-Chambers, the President of the CGS and her crew outdid themselves this year. The mandate was to promote art so they teamed up with the Creative Art Show. Paintings, fibre arts, stained glass plus gourd art and sculptures - the public were enthralled by all they saw.

Now it should be noted that we were vendors at this festival so we did not have the luxury of time like we did in Michigan. But when we did get out of our booth we were impressed with the art that was on display. The best thing was that in some cases the artist was at the show too and we got to have a chat about where the idea came from and what techniques were implored.
There were some very good demos ranging from using gourd supplies to wood carving. The icing on the cake were the ribbons that were given out including a People's Choice Award which is very special indeed.

It is our feeling that this festival is going to grow and really have an impact in the Canadian gourd world. If you did not make it there this year make sure to consider it in 2013. It's great to get together with people with a similar mindset and like "The Festival of Gourds" in MI, The CGS Gourd Festival was enlightening.

Out Of The Mailbag

Hi there,
You may remember sending a large tobacco box to Minnesota last December. At the time you said you would be interested to see what I actually did with my "Canadian" gourd.

I had recently invested in a Razortip burning system from Sue Walters and had an inspiration from seeing some photos by Monty Sloan. (This is the man who is involved with The Wolf Park in Indiana.) I did a continuous sort of collage of a wolf going down to the water.

I finally finished it (7 months later) and it is on proud display at my place of work right now. Here are some photos for you to enjoy.

Thanks so much for the gourd - and your website is great. Maybe some day I will venture up to Canada.
               Thanks, your US Pal, Lyn Rae Howard

                                           I'm In!

Hello Lyn Rae,
It is always such a thrill to see what happens to the gourds we sell. We love your art; it tells a story and the burning and painting is superb. Thank you ever so much for sending this in. Keep in touch, maybe one day we'll see you at the farm. 
                                              Carolyn and Linda

                                   A Trio-of-Terror!

Hello girls,
It's been almost a year since I stopped by the farm to buy some supplies. Your tips and tools helped me create some fun pieces last year; thank you. I've attached a picture showing a few that evolved from last year around this time.

This year I'm working on some characters to auction off at our offices in support of the United Way. I know you have many shows coming up but would like to come out one Sunday to stock up for this year and beyond. Please let me know.
                                              Kind regards, Greg

Hi Greg,
This Trio-of-Terror are outstanding. Thank you for sending this in. We hope your office auction did really well collecting money for the United Way. The difference the United Way makes in so many people's lives provides basic needs and services and definitely adds to the quality of life of many.
                See you soon Greg, Carolyn and Linda

Good morning Northern Dipper,
I have not written before nor had I grown gourds before but this year I thought I would give it a try and ended up with 27 gourds ranging from minis to kettles.

Some of my kettles seem very thin and some have what appears to have hairline cracks in them. I harvested them and put them on pallets to dry but I am wondering if I should have just thrown them away. Have you had experience with this before? 
                   Paul Hudson, Regina, Saskatchwan

Hi Paul,
Congratulations on your first crop - well done. We are very familiar, as most growers are, with the occasional thin-walled gourd and cracked gourds. In most cases they are not worth keeping.
In the photo above is a gourd that was hit and miss with a slight shallow crack and as it dried this is what happened. We would recommend that you go through your gourds and pull any that look dicey.
                          Thanks and good luck, Carolyn

Looking Ahead: December 2012

It is with extreme delight that we will have with us  Jim Widess, the owner of The Caning Shop in Berkley, CA. Jim is a pioneer in the gourd arts; if you will remember last month's featured artist Carla Bratt took a workshop there 25 years ago!

Jim Widess's list of accomplishments is long. He has influenced a generation in many ways, one being through his many books including Making Gourd Musical Instruments and Gourd Pyrography. A generous and outgoing man, he is full of ideas and energy and we are honored to feature him in the December issue of Gourd Fever.
It is tradition here at Northern Dipper that we close the year by going back and re-visiting artists who have graced these pages in the past. It is like visiting old friends in December and is always interesting to see where they are at and what they are up to.

Until then, have a wonderful month. See you in December.
                   Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond

PS  Stories, iideas or photos you would like to share? Send them to


 Volume 8, Number 92 


In this issue:
On The Road Again - 'Gourd Times In Michigan and Ontario'

Featured Artists: Lucie Rhadigan Hiner and Sue Westhues

The Bulletin Board - News From Northern Dipper

Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia

   The Bulletin Board

 Upcoming Shows
One of a Kind
Christmas Show
When: Nov 22 - Dec 2
Where: The Direct Energy Center, Toronto, Ontario
This show is an institution
in Toronto. It has hundreds
 of vendors and is very well attended. Wear comfortable shoes. 
Northern Dipper will
be in Booth X-34.
For details (including videos)
click here:

For discount tickets click here:
Northern Dipper will not be shipping orders or having farm visits from Nov. 19 - Dec. 18.

If you were planning on
buying for Christmas please get your orders in now.

On The Road Again
Lucie Rhadigan Hiner 
A few years ago Lucie returned to her parent's home and began working any job she could in order to support her three children. 
One day she was at an antique show and there was a table there that was missing a corner knob. It was selling for $30.00. She told the owner that she could carve a replacement knob and although he was sceptical
she took the measurements and carved it. She gave it to him and he turned around and sold the table for $300.00.
The lightbulb went off and she  proceeded to go to antique shows, etc to buy what she referred to as the "jewel lot." She and the kids would load up the truck and she would turn old raggedy pieces into works of art.
She worked and saved. Before long she had enough to open up a thriving business called the Past Tense Country Store
 in Lapeer. Lucie has taught oil painting on Florida Educational Television, restored paintings for many museums and has enjoyed painting in oil and acrylic for almost 50 years.
She currently works mostly with silk floral designs at her business and her designs grace hundreds of homes
and businesses throughout
the area. Lucie's current passion is gourds and like
all of Lucie's work, her
 art is truly unique.
Lucie is a real gem and once again proves that with a
 little creativity, hard work
 and ingenuity dreams do and can come true.
To learn more about Lucie
and her business Past Tense Country Store click here: 
 Sue Westhues
We first met Sue Westhues a few years ago when Linda
took a drum making workshop with her. A soft-spoken woman, this Indiana native
has an imagination that
has no bounds.
Sue began her career as a seamstress, first working for someone else. But her head was so full of funky ideas that she wanted to incorporate them into her work. She quit and started her own business.
Fate sometimes has its own plans for people and the purchase of a pack of gourd seeds changed the career path for Sue. She planted them ending up with about 200 gourds and once dried, she
and a friend started to paint them and experiment. It felt
 so natural she gave up the seamstress business and started to work with
gourds full time. 
A visit to Sue's booth requires more than one trip as it is guaranteed there will be
things you would have missed.
There are tiny instruments
 that will fit into the palm of your hand, exotic birds sitting overhead with colourful wings and tails, fairy houses that are detailed with windows and doors and of course fairies.
Sue is as charming as her art so make sure to look her up the next time you attend a gourd festival.

 The CGS Gourd Festival 
There were lots of workshops at the CGS Gourd Festival. Here is a drum-making workshop that always
 fills up quickly.
The CGS had a large selection of categories into which
people submitted their art. It was impressive.
This class on acrylic painting was very popular.

 Out Of The Mailbag
The Art of Lyn Rae Howard
Coming Down
Thinking About It
Getting Ready 
 Gourd Sighting 
 This gourd sighting was spotted by our friend Antonella in the October issue of the Country Living Magazine. We love you Antonella! Nice seeing you at Kempenfest.
To learn more about Country Living Magazine click here:
To see Antonella's new blog site click here: It is excellent.

  It's A Dog's Life 
"Scratch a dog and you'll have a permanent job."
-American journalist  Franklin P. Jones
Have you ever noticed how a dog always turns in 3 circles before lying down? It doesn't matter the breed or the dog, this circling seems hardwired in a dog's genetic code. Why is this?
Many believe that is a behavior that was developed from a dog's wild ancestors. Circling would flatten out the
vegetation making it more comfortable to sleep.
Another theory is that dogs in the wild like to sleep with their noses in the wind and circling helps them orient themselves to the best position. 

 Music Pick of the Month 
 The Musicians:
The Piano Guys
The Songs:
Paradise (Peponi)
African Style
(Gourd sightings included!)
  Beethoven's 5 Secrets -
One Republic
 To learn more about The Piano Guys and hear more of their music click here:

Other Stuff
Fatigue & Creativity
The other morning, while reading The Globe and Mail (Sept 27), I read "Surprisingly, fatigue may boost creative powers."  Written by Sue Shellenbarger for the Wall Street Journal, she continues: 
"For most adults, problems  that require open-ended thinking are often best tackled in the evening when they are tired, according to a 2011 study in the journal Thinking & Reasoning." 
"Fatigue, said the study's lead researcher Mareike Wieth of Albion College in Michigan, may allow the mind to wander more freely to explore alternative solutions."
So the next time you have a problem, take advantage of your evening weariness to possibly find a solution. 

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

Northern Dipper
PO Box 1145
5376 County Rd 56
 Cookstown, Ontario
L0L 1L0 Canada
(705) 435-3307
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Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada