I started carving pumpkins semi professionally in 2002 at the Indiana State Fair. I was carving Giant pumpkins (I also grow them) and knew that the skin was very thick. I thought that there was great potential for carving just on the skin of the fruit without having to penetrate into the cavity.

The piece that started it all...

"Indiana Pumpkin Growers Association", Indiana State Fair 2002
The piece that started it all

Carved over 3 hours in the summer sun, but still one of my favorite pieces. The fruit was over 500 pounds. The seeds had been removed through a large hole cut in the top. The carving was done with an 8" hunting knife (brought to cut it open for the seeds) and some tools borrowed from the gourd society. The Indiana State Fair logo is on the other side.

My first professional pieceMy first real professional work came in 2004, again at the Indiana State Fair. The photo here is my first truly professional piece. This was carved on a 400+ pound pumpkin during the fair. The crowd enjoyed watching the work take shape over four plus hours. I had a great time answering their questions while I worked. The kids were fascinated (as were the adults.) You could actually place your fingers behind the wings. I encourage people to touch my work to prove that it is real.

I have also found an additional advantage to this style of carving...they last. Since pumpkins and squash rot from the inside out, these designs will usually last as long as an uncarved fruit. Depending on the conditions, this can be from two weeks to over two months. This makes the work much more appealing to more corporate clients interested in using this as a form of advertising. Since the fair, I have done both public carving as entertainment and carving at home and brought to the client.

Every new season brings exciting, fun opportunities. Check out my gallery for more one-of-a-kind pieces.