We got a tiny, beautiful pumpkin in our Abel and Cole box this week – perfect size for a batch of pumpkin ginger muffins, which I’ll be making tomorrow. In the meantime, though, here is my 2009 pumpkin carving effort. I had just visited the V&A’s Maharajas exhibition so I had ideas for an Indian filigree design (see last year’s post where I did a V&A-inspired lion rampant guardant), but I think it ended up looking more like a scalloped lacy doily, sort of Cinderella-pumpkin-style. I’m pretty happy with it, though. This year I used a linocutter instead of my jewellery equipment and it was less messy and easier to cut.
Pumpkin with filigree design
From above it kind of looks like Cinderella's carriage
Lion Rampant tile
A few days ago we bought a very small pumpkin and I spent a couple of hours carving it. I don’t usually like to do faces, so I tried to find a good design that was visually pleasing and semi-Halloween-like, but not using the usual scary face or ghost or haunted house theme. Last year I picked a stylized design of a wheat sheaf and really loved the result, so this year I wanted to do something similarly stylized. I chose a gothic revival image of a lion rampant, from a ceramic tile at the V&A. It’s got a face that’s sort of demon-like, so the Halloween theme is still there, and the claws look pretty fiery and scary. It was a great design to choose because it only had about 7 different areas to cut out but they all had some visual intricacies so I could really test my skill with the knife.
Inked lion rampant on pumpkin
After inking the picture onto the pumpkin (I did it freehand with just a regular ballpoint pen), I got an X-Acto knife (evidently it’s called a Stanley knife here in the UK) and used only the very tip of the blade, scoring cross-hatches in all the areas I wanted to remove. Then I used one of my jewellery files (I probably shouldn’t ever use it for jewellery again!) to gouge out the sections I’d scored. I could have used a vegetable peeler tip, I guess. The little pieces came out pretty easily and I didn’t gouge too deep – about half a centimetre. After I finished the carving, I cut off the top of the pumpkin and scraped out the seeds. Light didn’t show through the design well enough, so I thinned out the wall of the pumpkin from inside with a spoon – much easier than digging deeper into the design.
I did it a few days ago so now it’s starting to wizen a little, but it should still be fine for tomorrow night!
The finished pumpkin - in the daytime