a pumpkin interlude
Pumpkin carving wasn’t something that I grew up doing for Halloween – in the north of Scotland we had a tradition of ‘guising’, where we would dress up and visit the other houses in the village, and we would only be given sweets if we did ‘a party piece’ – sing a song, tell a joke or recite a poem. Since the village was so small, everyone had fun trying to guess who was behind the assorted masks and face paint too. But while everyone else was ghoulish or witchy, somehow I ended up… different. I recall there being one year with lots of cardboard and crepe paper when I was a christmas cracker, and at my own request further down the line, I went out dressed as Stephen Hendry, my snooker hero at the time.
Anyway… instead of carving pumpkins, we had turnips that we had to give to a responsible adult to try and hollow out, because it’s not easy to do. We would carry them round with a candle inside, no such thing as health and safety in the 80s apparently!
Thankfully now though, pumpkins are readily available and I’ve spent the last few years exploring them as a canvas (and straying from the halloween theme as much as my snooker costume did), more recently with the use of a lino cutting tool. My friend Emily just posted a tutorial, if you’re interested in the proces – and here are some progress shots of mine:
This one was a bit more detailed than I usually go and it did take a good few hours, but most of that wasn’t actual carving time – more “I just put those two flowers, what can I put in between” sort of thing. But I enjoy the process as much as the final result, so it’s worth it. I also had great fun gathering leaves for the final photo from outside my office much to the amusement of my colleagues…
Oh, and top tip: a phone with the LED torch on makes a good pumpkin illumination device, for the sake of a photo. But if you want to instagram it, you’ll have to borrow someone else’s phone ;)