Update: Alex will be appearing on "Good Morning America" this Halloween!
Halloween is such a fun time, and my husband and I look forward to it all year. Thing is, we look forward to it for the convention we attend - and it tends to preclude us from things like bothering to decorate our house. As a result, any potential I may (or may not!) have at pumpkin carving, Halloween crafting is largely un-realized!
In other words, Halloween seems like an awesome excuse for a guest post or two!
It’s been a super productive ROCK STAR year and a half for Alex. He counts Jeri Ryan, LeVar Burton, Gene Simmons, Joe Mantegna, Brad Paisley, and Taylor Swift among his fans - they’re all proud owners of his work.
He’s been written up in international news, online newspapers, blogs... and has shipped his work to 9 different countries and counting.
He’ll be appearing on CBS' "The Doctors" on Friday, Oct 28th for a segment on safe carving - so be sure to set your DVRs for that! Having only known him online, I can’t wait to see him actually working!
In the spirit of Halloween, check out some of his horror movie carves:
Anyway, without further Ado... here's Alex!
When Marie asked The Pumpkin Geek to write a blog, I thought, "The Pumpkin Geek can do that!" ...Then I thought, "Why the HELL am I referring to myself in the 3rd person!?" So...let's start again.
Ok, my name is Alex Wer & I am a geek - albeit, of the sexy nature! - but still, a geek! Why do I think this? Because I can drone on endlessly about pumpkin carving. I can stare at my creations at any hour of the day & determine where I could've improved on my latest effort.
Some of you may understand this obsession, most will not! However, once you cross over to the Dark Side*, there is no turning back! While I would LOVE to teach each one of you how to carve as I do (OK, that’s a complete lie...then no one would have any need for me!), you'll have to settle for some basic tips on how it’s possible to carve something better than your friends! After all, that IS the goal!
Oh, and if you manage to get through this blog, you WILL have an idea that you can do to impress the neighbors!
First thing you should do is get one of those $5 carving kits. They work great, are completely safe, and a lot of them have cool stencils you can take a crack at and they come with pretty much all the tools you need. (Marie's note: As suggested by a reader, a more "permanent" set of carving tools is a great asset to have. She recommends: These.)
Next, if you DO choose to use a stencil, make 3-4 inch slits extending inward from the outer areas of the paper, this will help "mold" it to the ‘kin. You can secure it by taping it onto the surface.
Now, depending on how complicated the carve is, there are a few ways to go next...OK, somehow this blog went from "pithy fun" to everyone reading so intently!
You need to "trace" the pattern onto the kin, either pressing firmly with a pen, poking holes with the "pokey thingy", or even an exacto knife (be CAREFUL!) to pre-cut the areas. Once you have your outline, you're ready to carve!
"But my friends have those stencils, too", you say!? What I suggest is going on-line & finding something you want to carve under "coloring pages". Here's an R2D2 as an example:
Want something REALLY different? Well, another option is trying your hand at shaving the pumpkin! I know, ladies, you shave enough, can you get at least ONE night off!? 🙂
What you need is about $5-$10 of sculpting clay tools:
You can use these to "shave" the areas that are white in you image. Same concept as before, but instead of cutting through the pumpkin, carve ½" - 1" deep & scoop away the pumpkin flesh as evenly as you can! You can still gut the ‘kin & use a few candles to shine thru (you’ll need to shave/carve deep enough so the image is visible), or, don't gut the pumpkin at all, simply leaving it as is! In that case, you only need to peel the orange skin off - your carve will last MUCH longer. No light, but you get to keep your creation for a month or so!
Last tip...when you're done carving, relax & take a bath!
No, not YOU, your PUMPKIN!!! Yes, believe it or not, it will last much longer if you soak it in the tub. Think of an apple...cut it open, leave it out, dries out quickly. Same concept with the pumpkin. When I used to carve on real kins, I had a bathtub full of pumpkins floating around! Come to think of it ... Mrs. Pumpkin Geek was in there a LONG time when I carved Aragorn!
So, I hope this little session has been helpful. It's my first blog entry, so please don't hate Marie for having me do this! Hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween! If you're ever on Twitter, would love for you to follow me - @ThePumpkinGeek! I tweet a lot, so consider yourselves warned!
The Pumpkin Geek
* I'm sorry, while we're on "The Dark Side" subject, did Luke Skywalker look over at the end of the Lucas Re-Issue "Return of the Jedi" episode and wonder, "Who the heck is the young, blonde dude next to Yoda & Ben?"?