Saturday, 28 September 2019

Pumpkin Sunflower

The first pumpkin has rolled off the factory line here at Moti Black HQ. It took me three days, as I am a bit rusty and still getting into the swing of things. I am going to have to speed things up a bit if I am going to get 31 finished by October 31st!

As my garden is still full of lovely giant sunflowers, I took a photo of one of my sunflowers and started carving away.

Photo of a Sunflower

Although I thought I was finished at the end of the first day of carving, when I looked at the photos the next day, I realised I was going to have to carve a lot deeper for the petals, as they weren't light enough to contrast well with the dark centre. At the end of day two, I again thought I had finished, but the next day, I looked at the photos and thought, nah, I can do better, so dug out some more flesh from the petals, and took much more time over the photographs. I eventually caught a photo I liked, and prepped the image for Redbubble. There are two versions, one with the original background, and one with a plain dark brown background.

A sunflower image carved onto a pumpkin
A Moti Pumpkin Sunflower, Pumpkin/Photography September 2019

A sunflower image on an apron

Pumpkins Tips: Lighting Options

White LED Lamp

I use a mix of lighting sources when carving, photographing and displaying pumpkins. Whilst I am carving, I like a strong white LED lamp, as it helps me see clearly the progress of the carving. When showing off pumpkins outside and at a distance, this is a great choice. However, close up and for more detailed work, I find it a bit too strong. It lightens the dark areas a bit too much, removing subtle contrast and doesn't cast an even light over the inside of the pumpkin.

Sunflower Pumpkin with White LED Lamp

Electric Tea Lights

I didn't expect to like the electric tea light option, but bought some thinking they would be convenient and safer for mobile displays. I got some that flicker slightly, and nearly forgot to use them. It was only on the third day of carving the sunflower pumpkin that I tried them, and they were actually my favourite option for photographing the pumpkin. The final version used three electric tea lights.

Sunflower Pumpkin with Electric Tea Lights

Tea Lights

There is nothing like sitting in front of a carved pumpkin with real tea lights flickering away inside. They don't mix so well with a curious cat, and you need to ensure they have ventilation, so either have a design with big holes in the front, air holes in the back, or leave the top of the pumpkin off. I love the reddish tint they give off when I photograph them. 

Sunflower Pumpkin with tea lights (three)


Last year, I sometimes used pillar candles in some of my designs. I found cutting the bottom of the pumpkin out helped lower the candle, so the larger single flame fell closer to the centre of the image.

Playing around with lighting

In this pumpkin, I used a sheet of white paper in front of a white LED lamp. This diffused the light and gave a lovely white area to the space in the pumpkin I cut through.

A photo of a puffin carved into a pumpkin
A Moti Pumpkin Puffin Pumpkin/Photography 2018

Other lighting effects can be used through bundles of fairy lights, coloured electric tea lights, foil shapes, sheets of coloured acetate.

The next challenge is going to be a fishing boat, complete with a template for you to try the carving yourself.

Lydia helping me with carving

Pumpkin Carving Hints and Tips Index:

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