Idaho Gems: Nampa woman proves there is a true art to pumpkin carving

Posted at 6:42 AM, Oct 31, 2016
Brandy Davis is a professional 3D pumpkin carver.
"I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd be a pumpkin carver when I grew up," Davis said.
The Nampa artist uses the same tools and techniques to carve detailed faces and characters into pumpkins, that you would use for clay or pottery.
It all started with a worldwide 3D pumpkin carving contest online.
"I thought wow, maybe I should try. And I remember I had some old tools laying around from high school, just from an old sculpting class, and I thought, well maybe I'll give it a shot," Davis said.
Her first try wasn't easy.
"It did not look anything like my ones these days," Davis said.
But a few pumpkins later, Davis won the contest. And a job. Carving with her idol, Ray Villafane.
"I was so excited. That was the fuel to the fire if you will," Davis said.
Now, each fall Davis travels the country carving 3D pumpkins for clients on location.
"This is definitely a hobby or a profession you have to have patience for," Davis said.
And a strong arm.
"Oh yeah your hand gets totally tired. A lot of people don't understand the manual labor that goes into it, because these pumpkins can be 40, 50 pounds and we're constantly moving them," Davis said.
Davis can spend up to 12 hours working on a detailed pumpkin. She uses a special variety called wolf that grows with thicker flesh to carve into.
"I still have not thrown a pumpkin away. I tell people if you don't like it, that's why there are multiple sides to a pumpkin. You just flip it around and start carving again," Davis said.
Each year she tries to outdo herself. This October she's adding some special effects to a hot sauce eating pumpkin. A humidifier is helping out.
"It's just cool air, and it keeps going and going. I tried incense and it would give me smoke but only for a brief moment. Next year I'll have something more different, a little bit bigger, a little better. That's what I try to do every year. I try to challenge myself and go just one step above and beyond what I did the previous year or even the previous pumpkin. And it doesn't always work out, but in this case it is for the time being," Davis said.
If you're interested in trying 3D pumpkin carving out yourself, Davis warns it is addicting. She shares tips and inspiration on her blog, The Pumpkin Artist