I have always enjoyed carving pumpkins. In every Halloween home video, I'd be standing alongside my brothers happily scooping guts and separating seeds, all while chomping on a wad of gum. It's been eight years, though, since I handled my orange and black knife set. My last piece was a tribute to the Chicago Bears. It was quite a challenge because, in addition to its detailed design, I carved only half-way into the flesh. After three hours of work, I was left with an awesome pumpkin, a severely cramped hand, and no desire to ever sculpt another jack-o-lantern.
I was struck with renewed inspiration and enthusiasm a few weeks ago, while browsing through a Martha Stewart Halloween magazine. An article featured a collection of pumpkins carved with linoleum cutters. What an ingenious tool for such a task! I knew that my carving hiatus was to end; it was time for me to dust off my 10th-grade printmaking skills, and head to the craft store and pumpkin patch.
For my subject, I drew inspiration from my recent trip to Concord, MA. Browsing through Thoreau quotes, I found the following: "I would rather sit on a pumpkin & have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion." After reading this, I knew what, or shall I say, who I wished to carve.
Below are all of the tools I used in my process (with the exception of tracing paper and a pen).
I traced the original image of Thoreau with a pen. Rather than puncturing the pattern into the pumpkin, I used Martha Stewart transfer paper (basically carbon copy). It worked wonderfully! I layered my tracing over the transfer paper onto the pumpkin. Using a stylus (from my Nintendo DS), I retraced my drawing. It left a precise, light grey guide for carving.
(click on the photos below to see them full-screen)
The final project including the hand-calligraphed quote:
Have a Thoreau-ly enjoyable Halloween!!