Not all pumpkins are orange, nor are they necessarily destined to become leering jack-o’-lanterns. The designs used on these pumpkins, carved freehand, mimic the lacelike openwork of 18th-century pierced creamware dishes, and turn any pumpkin (especially a pale Lumina) into an intricately patterned lamp.
Lace-Patterned Pumpkin How-To
1. Select a pumpkin or squash such as Lumina, spaghetti squash, or Blue Hubbard. You’ll need wood-carving tools, sold in hardware and art-supply stores. For this project, small pieces of pipe can also be used to make cuts and punch out circles from the gourd. When choosing tools, bear in mind the shape of the perforation your tool will make, and choose those that produce unusual punctures. For example, top and bottom cuts with a V-shaped gouge leave a diamond form.
2. Cut an opening in the bottom of your pumpkin. Scrape out the seeds and most of the flesh. Place a length of masking tape around the circumference of the gourd as a carving guideline. Start cutting.
3. The going gets easier once you’ve circled the pumpkin with a pattern — just keep following it, adding more bands of cuts. If you carve a small, simple design that doesn’t feed the candle much air, make an air hole on one side to help it burn.