artists, growtips, info & more

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


In This Issue: Happy New Year everyone! To begin  2013 we are travelling to Hawaii to meet with Tamsen Kealohamakua Fox, an artist who has had a relationship with gourds her entire life. Living in paradise is an inspiration to Tamsen and with the help of the kupuna (wise old ancestors), Tamsen's art touches people when they see and hold it. A true delight, please welcome Tamsen Kealohamakua  Fox to this January issue of Gourd Fever.
             Tamsen is also an accomplished painter.
Our mailbag was brimming over the top last month and it once again showed us that our readership consists of some really engaging and curious-minded people. Great letters, photos and links,,,thanks everyone!

Now off to the Isles of Hawaii to meet with Tamsen Kealohamakua Fox. 

Tamsen Kealohamakua Fox 

Tamsen was born and raised in Hawaii and as a girl learned to dance the hula. One of the hula implements was the 'ipu", which is a gourd that is used in Hawaiian culture as a drum for keeping time during the dance. In light of this it was only natural that Tamsen follow the gourd arts. 

Many gourd artists, including Tamsen, believes that the gourd dictates what it wants to be. When she receives a new gourd she places it within view so she can see it, watch it, communicate with it and listen to it. When it is ready to become a work of art, the work reveals itself. It is a surreal and magical experience.

Tamsen has always looked through the lens of an artist. Her parents noticed her propensity at an early age and nurtured it at home. As well, they sent her to the Honolulu Academy of Art (as it was called back then) during the summer months. In 1978 Tamsen received a BFA degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Always interested in multi-media Tamsen learned many different art forms while in college. She is proficient in painting with oils, watercolors, acrylics, silk-painting, fabric design, sculpture, metal-arts and numerous other applications. 

Regarding gourds Tamsen states, "Gourds are so organic. I love the transformation that takes place in my studio; the moldy, ugly duckling reborn into a glorious swan-like metamorphoses."

Growing up in a rich and beautiful paradise such as Hawaii Tamsen does not have to go far to be inspired. Her studio is located outside on her lanai with lots of birds visiting and entertaining her. Geckos watch her and drink from her cup, a turtle dove sits on her work table once a day on his routine visits and much more. She lives a self-actuated life and delights in nature most of all.

Tamsen Fox lives in a vortex of creativity which flows freely through her. Her ideas come from a higher part of herself that sees an opportunity to express itself. She continues by saying that it doesn't matter what technique, method or media she is using, it is the kupuna (wise old ancestors) within her that comes forth bringing a plethora of skill, patience and intention with them.

On Oahu where Tamsen lives, there are very few gourd artists. On the Big Isle there are more. Tamsen does more than 100 shows per year which breaks down to about 2 shows per week. She is a cultural practitioner so whenever an opportunity to demonstrate comes up, she jumps at the chance. 

When Tamsen moved back to her homeland 2 1/2 years ago from the mainland she had no idea if she would be able to live on her art alone in the land of her birth. She had been a gourd artist for 15 years in California and did well. Once home she met Michael Harburg who taught her the Ni'ihau style, an ancient method rooted deep in Hawaiian culture. To this day she states that she will be forever grateful to him as her kumu. (teacher)

To close Tamsen adds, "I am an avid dog lover and former equestrian. I use to raise Harlequin Great Danes as well as thoroughbred horses. I live life passionately, don't sweat the small stuff and stay centered and grounded all the time. I am deeply committed to my Hawaiian culture and am so glad I came back home after 35 years on the mainland."
To learn more about Tamsen and her art click here:

Micheal Harburg, mentioned in this article, was our featured artist in Issue 77. To see his article and his art click here and then on Issue 77:

Thank you Tamsen, you are a fabulous artist and we hope our paths cross when we come to Hawaii. Carolyn and Linda

Out Of The Mailbag

I love seeing the Northern Dipper newsletter in my mailbox - always great to read and see what's going on. Here is a photo of fresh green gourds at a Farmer's Market in downtown Hilo, Hawaii. I took it in May 2012 and I just found it again. Hope your holidays are happy!
Thank you Sioux for sending this in. Interestingly enough we received another letter this month which has a link for a recipe using this type of bottle gourd. Have a great 2013.
                                              Carolyn and Linda

Hi all,
I just wanted to show you the little gourds that I decorated with beads. I used the mini jigsaw that I brought from you at Gourd Fest and really enjoy it. Thanks for telling me about it.
                                                              Dale A.

Hi Dale, Nice to hear from you. The ornaments are lovely. We love anything beaded. Happy you like the jigsaw. See you again at the next Gourd Fest.                                               Carolyn and Linda

Hi Carolyn and Linda,
Thought you might be interested in using these in your newsletter. This chrysanthemum basket was made in the 1700's and is attributed to Ogata Korin. (Japanese, 1658 - 1716) It can be seen at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Gourd art has come a long way since then but it is cool that this functional piece of art has lasted so long.

This photo is of a pile of bottle gourds published in The Hindu, a major paper in India. Bottle gourds are very popular in the daily diet in India as they are very nutritious. It is also used as a weight-loss diet. Included in the article is a recipe called Bottle Gourd Halwa. It looks good so if you have access to this type of bottle gourd give it a try.

To view this recipe click here:

Hope you had a happy Christmas, see you in the New Year. 
                                                            Debby R.

Hi Debby,
Thanks for this interesting email. You really get around  - we love your inquiring mind! We'll see you soon we hope.
                                                 Carolyn and Linda

         A collection of color by Dave Bradshaw

Hi Carolyn,
Here are a few pictures of my finished gourds. I used some leather dyes but mostly acrylic spray paint. 
                             Dave Bradshaw, Nova Scotia

Thanks Dave. These are beautiful and will most certainly be appreciated by your neighbourhood birds. Send us a photo once they have families.                                                          Carolyn

Looking Ahead: February, 2013
This month we are pleased to feature Dena Lee, banjo maker, song writer and a singer with a voice that leaves you wanting more. Dena recently moved from the US, where she worked as a physician, to Cookstown, Ontario. She opened up a business called Story Gourd Workshop - Banjos by Dena Lee and not only sells her own hand-made banjos but also art from local artists. 

Due to her incredible talent, relaxed personality and infectious laugh, Dena has been welcomed into the business community with open arms. Her shop is quickly becoming a destination point for both musicians and non-musicians alike. We love Dena and know you will too.

Living in a cold climate February is always tough. It is the shortest month of the year; seems like the longest, and to escape, people's minds begin to turn towards their gardens. Seed catalogues are pulled out and ideas percolate; will gourds be part of your plan this summer? We will be selling seeds again this year and we'll let you know what we've got soon.

It is now 2013 and we are optimistic that it will be more smooth-sailing compared to the past couple of years. A strengthening economy and calmer waters in the political arena would help everyone. As Oprah Winfrey once said, "Cheers to a New Year and another chance to get it right." We quite agree. Cheers everyone and a Happy New Year to you all!
                           Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond

PS Ideas, comments or photos...we love the mail so send them in to


Volume 9, Number 94 


In this issue:
Tamsen Kealohamakua Fox: Calling Forth The Ni'ihau Ipu Masters

The Bulletin Board: News From Northern Dipper

Out Of The Mailbag, Gourd Sightings & Trivia

The Bulletin Board

People's Choice Award Winner

At the One of a Kind
Christmas Show in Toronto 2012 there was a competition named "Under the Mistletoe"

The mandate was as follows:

 "The most beautiful time of the year brings love, laughter and cheer. From kisses to bows to the winter snow, what comes to mind when you're under the mistletoe? At this Christmas Show, exhibitors
are challenged to create an interesting piece using their medium based on a theme, Under The Mistletoe." 

Carolyn entered and was thrilled when she won the People's Choice Award for her family of penguins. This was a real honor as it is the public who votes and decides. Congratulations Carolyn! We are proud of you.

Upcoming Shows

One of a Kind Spring Show
When: March 27 - 31, 2013
Where: Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place,
 Toronto, Ontario

Tamsen Kealohamakua Fox 
"Each gourd has its own
voice, its own spirit. My job is to give the spirit behind my creation the magic to carry
it through to it's recipient.
 I like to call it heart art."

Tamsen Fox 
"Gourds have been a part of my world since I was a little girl and continue to be the heartbeat of my life today." 

Tamsen's approach to design:

"My approach to design is
 that I just jump right in and
let my instincts rule.
There is never any fear when
 I start a project."

"I have one speed which is full speed ahead. My ideas flow non-stop which keeps me tuned in and turned on...I jump out of bed at 6 am and am raring to go!"
"I believe in my ability so I don't worry or fuss. I just create. This is what it means to go with the flow... I just let it flow."

"I believe that artists have visual senses that non-artists don't have. We see colors in many dimensions; we see foreground, background, positive and negative space, and the space between the molecules."

"A visual artist creates in the "now" and every brush stroke is a moment in time. By being creative, I stay grounded. There is no time, only the NOW. That's what I call being in the vortex."

"Typical challenges are deadlines and self-imposed timetables. Anything that causes resistance to the natural flow is a challenge
 to me."

"As a result I have stopped taking commissions because it stops the natural cadence of creativity. I just want to do what I want to do and at this point in my life, I am fully able to do that."

Words For New Artists
"Learn how to be a creative marketer of yourself. People will buy your art because they like your energy and your heart. When they like your heart art, then you make a's a legacy."

"Be who you really are, live in JOY and create with your heart."

  Gourd Sighting
 The other day I caught an old rerun of I Love Lucy. It is an interesting portrait of what society was like during the 50's. A pair of maracas were being played by Ricky Ricado, Lucy's real-life and TV husband. The maracas were made out of gourds.

To learn more about I Love Lucy click here:

 It's A Dog's Life

  Mickey's best pal is George, a Lab/ Burmese Mountain dog who lives next door. George is happiest when hiking with his owners but the other day he cracked his nail quite badly on who knows what. It was bleeding and quite painful. 

A dog's nail is made up of the "quick", a bundle of blood vessels and nerves, and the keratin, the hard material
 which we often refer to as
 the "nail."

Dogs that live in the city wear down their nails on the pavement but non-pavement dogs often have nails that have to be trimmed. George is an urban dog but spends a lot of time on soft hiking trails so therefore has long nails.

If there is a serious tear in
the nail the damaged piece(s) will have to be removed. Bleeding must be stopped.

To stop bleeding:
1.) Cauterizing powder can be used - press it onto the wound and the bleeding will stop. A home remedy that works is using cornstarch or flour. Once again just press it into the wound.

2.) You can also just use a towel or cloth and apply pressure for at least 5 - 10 minutes. Bandage.

If the tear is serious or the bleeding will not stop take
 your pup to vet.  

Music Pick of the Month

The Musicians:

The Songs:
Emerald Isle

Achilles' Desire

    "Other Stuff"
 Mites can invade a bird's nest and in the wild birds use chemical-emitting plants to keep them at bay. 
Unlike their wild cousins, city birds will use up to 48
cigarette butts (depending on the size of the nest) to
 make use of the repellent properties of the tobacco.

The nicotine and other chemicals in the discarded filters act as a natural 
pesticide that repels parasitic mites. The cellulose in the filters helps insulate the nest. 

If cigarette filters will repel mites what do they do to us! One more reason to give up those nasty cigarettes.  

(Taken from the Globe and Mail, December 6, 2012).

To read about the birds of Mexico City lining their nests with cigarette butts click here:

 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



powered by  forward  forward      unsubscribe    
This mailing system may only be used for sending permission based email.

If you did not give permission to receive emails from this sender, please notify us.

This email was sent to by | Print / PDF version | Read our Privacy Policy.
Northern Dipper Farm - 5376 County Road 56, RR2, Cookstown, Ontario, L0L 1L0, Canada