Pumpkin Carving Salon

According to Wikipedia, “A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring hostess or host, partly to amuse one another and partly to refine their taste and increase their knowledge through conversation etc…” Specifically, MSLK invited 24 of our most creative friends and local artists to our studio and asked them to break the mold on traditional pumpkin carving.

Let me tell you, pumpkin carving isn’t an area where breaking the mold comes naturally.

For one, the medium is quite challenging. Carving a pumpkin is really food art, and there are a limited number of tools that actually work for carving. My suggestion: try a dry wall saw. For detailed cuts, we found a sharp grapefruit knife to be the perfect tool. The technique where you scrape into the surface to reveal the light, fleshy areas still remains a mystery to me — I had zero luck with the highly-recommended carrot peeler.

Secondly, you come to this with a preconceived notion. Pumpkins are supposed to be carved, have a face, light up, etc. It’s hard to think outside the box. For purposes of our salon our ONLY requirement was that something had to be carved somewhere on the pumpkin.

In the end, my favorite creations this year were those that involved unique materials and clever use of unexpected tools.

Emil spray painted his pumpkin black which when cut, elegantly revealed the orange flesh inside.

Taryn used a drill to carve an elaborate pattern around the top of her pumpkin.

Ellen and Claudia, peeled their pumpkin apart like a curly fry, and then used nails to reconstruct the negative space.

Merry used a realistic-looking, yet artificial foam pumpkin, which is much sturdier and forgiving than the standard fare. She used this additional “structure” to completely open up her pumpkin with large stripes that had more negative space than positive.

I used white electrical tape not only to block out the pattern I wanted to create, but to add an additional color and texture to my piece.

During the Salon, we shared many of the standard tips like: don’t forget to cut an obvious notch in your lid to simplify the process of finding the “right” position to put the lid back on tight. Also consider cutting your lid out from the bottom of the pumpkin rather than the top. This way if your lid is unattractive, or generally not an integral design element, it can be completely hidden.

The best part of the evening was spending time with friends while doing something that was purely creative.

I always say I love Halloween because it is the “official holiday of creativity.” It is a very democratic holiday, as well — anyone can do it. Just pick up a pumpkin and start carving.