Monday, October 31, 2011

Jack-o-Lantern time

So because we finally live in an apartment that might be visited by Trick-or-Treaters we decided it would be appropriate if we had a jack-o-lantern. Because my family has a long tradition of having politically themed jack-o-lanterns I realized that I needed to come up with an appropriate and well-known figure on the Canadian political scene to morph into a jack-o-lantern.

Of course, it didn't take long to narrow the pack to Darryl Dexter and Stephen Harper. Given Dexter's more limited weight on the national stage Harper became the choice by default.

The next part of the project was to figure out how to get Harper's face on a pumpkin. At first I tried to find a stencil online. Much to my surprise I was almost immediately successful.


Not too long ago the Globe and Mail made the above stencil available to the public. Sadly, this wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I was less interested in caricature and more interested in just a standard rendering of Harper.

After we purchased our pumpkin last night I settled on making my own stencil, even though I had no idea how I would go about such a task.

This morning I started my stencil making project by looking for suitable photos of Harper. Almost immediately I came across the classic Harper and kitty shot.

I then chopped the head out and started to turn it into a stencil.

After just a few iterations I had something I thought I could work with.

With my stencil now in hand I was reading to start the carving process. To start I affixed the
stencil to the pumpkin and began tracing the black areas by jabbing the pumpkin with a pin. After maybe twenty minutes I had a largely useless partial outline of the stencil. Eventually I reattached the stencil and began re-tracing the black areas with a knife.

Eventually the face began to take shape from the mass of the pumpkin. And then almost immediately it was clearly a face, if not clearly Harper's face.

Now that I have had a chance to examine my work my guess is that my stencil wasn't quite as good as I thought it was. Maybe it was also a little too large? Anyway, I think I will need to work on my technique a little for next year's iteration.

At the moment I suspect that my pumpkin would really only be recognizable in the following context.

And that's hardly a context in which I can display the pumpkin.

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