Friday, 18 October 2019

Pumpkins Nine, Ten and Eleven: Celtic Knots and Life After Carving

I'm still not well, so I've been keeping it simple with some Celtic knots. They are easy to do and look really effective. They also offer lots of fun opportunities to play around with photoshop once the image has been finished.

Pumpkin Nine, Celtic Cross 1

Pumpkin Ten, Celtic Cross 2

Pumpkin Eleven, Celtic Cross 3

To make a Celtic knot, make a template of the size you want the carving to be, mark out the shape onto the pumpkin (I use a craft knife and cut through a print out taped to the surface).

For the dark lines around the cross, leave the skin intact.

For the background, use a sharp tool to carefully remove the skin, but no more. 

For the lines in the middle, at the edges where the lines look like they go underneath other lines, remove as little flesh as possible. For the parts of the lines where it looks like the line is going over another line, carve as deep as you can without going all the way through the pumpkin flesh. Join these areas up ensuring the gradient is smooth and there are no sudden jumps in levels. 

Life (for the Pumpkin) After Carving

Some people spray their pumpkins with a mix of bleach and water every day or so. This will extend the life of the pumpkin for a couple of weeks. However, I like to keep my art as natural and environmental as possible, so my carvings only last a couple of days. The 'end game' for me is getting a good photo and the compost bin getting a top up. 

I am pretty much a beginner when it comes to photography, so I won't give any advice on this topic, beyond saying that I use a Canon EOS 750D, tripod, remote control, and the candlelight setting.

When I think I have finished carving, I set up the pumpkin with the desired light level, take photos, load them on the computer, then see where I need to tweak the carving. It usually takes a few cycles to fine tune the pumpkin and get the photo I am happy with.

Once I have the photo, if I think the carving is good enough, I upload the image to RedBubble. Normally I don't photoshop the image beyond cutting the primary image from its background. However, with these Celtic knots, I had some fun playing around with altering the colours using Photoshop's adjust hue setting.

Original and Photoshopped Celtic knots

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