MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It’s pumpkin carving season and a man in Mississippi has taken the craft to a whole new level.
Bryan Bennett, with Pumpkinstein Studios, carves 3-D designs into pumpkins in his home near Lucedale, Mississippi.
By day, Bennett is a nurse practitioner.
“I look forward to this all year,” Bennett said. “My family can tell you, I shut down everything else. I shut down work, and I carve.”
Bennett recommends taking time to pick out a perfect pumpkin; He said make sure the stem is healthy and not dry. Also, Bennet said it’s important to make sure it has a nice straight side that will be easy to carve.
As far as tools, Bennett uses clay carving tools and a small knife. It takes him anywhere from one to six hours to carve a 3-D pumpkin.
“I love the creative process, getting in and seeing what comes out,” he said. “People are surprised that I don’t know what will happen until I get to the end.”
Chef Tom Houle with Naman’s gave recommendations on how to create your own carved pumpkin at home. For starters, he recommends getting the carving kit that comes with stencils.
He said the most important step is getting the goop out and scraping out the pumpkin until the thickness is 1/4 of an inch.
“It’s the most important thing,” Houle said. “I can’t tell you how important this thing is.”
Houle said punch out the stencil, trace it onto the pumpkin and start carving.
“At the end of the day, if I really screw it up, I will make pumpkin pie,” Houle said.
As far as making pumpkins last, Bennett said he can get his creations to last two-to-three weeks. He keeps them in the refrigerator most of the time.
Bennett said the trick is that when they are on display, spray them with a water bottle. When you are ready to put it up, spray it with lemon juice or vinegar and water mixture, wrap it in saran wrap, and put it in the refrigerator.
Bennett said his technique requires a lot of practice, but anyone can do it. He said to just stick with it.
“I can promise you, if I can do it, anybody can do it,” Bennett said. “It just takes perseverance of pushing through the bad pumpkins. They aren’t really bad. They are just stuff that helped you learn along the way.”
If you want to see more of Bennett’s creations, visit his Facebook page here.