Paula Folawn has always had a day job, but her passion comes out in her art. She is a painter and works with clay, but her favorite medium is the humble pumpkin. Halloween is her Christmas. When pumpkin patches start cropping up around town and mountains of gourds start appearing at Safeway, her pulse quickens a bit, and her friends start looking at her with expectant eyes… will you be carving me this year?
For Paula’s 45th birthday, her partner decided that the perfect gift would be a celebration of Paula’s unique and remarkable art. A pumpkin’s life is too fleeting for a gallery, so Paula’s craft usually went dormant once Halloween was over. But her partner took photos of her creations from over the years, paired them with pumpkin-y backgrounds from Picaboo’s collection, and created a one-of-a-kind keepsake.
“When I got the book, I couldn’t stop smiling,” Paula recalls. “I carried it with me everywhere; I kept it in my car, brought it to holiday parties, showed it to everyone who would look. My pumpkins finally had a shelf life of more than three days.”
When Paula later joined the Picaboo Design Team as a Graphic Designer, her book made the rounds at the office – with the most common reaction being, “Whoa… Those are pumpkins?” And then people would ask: “How long have you been carving pumpkins?”
And Paula, who’s pretty humble, would smile and shyly say: “I don’t know. I got interested in carving because I saw a guy online carve his face into a pumpkin. It was more like a silhouette. But it was pretty cool. So I took a picture of my daughter and just kept playing with it. And one day, it clicked.”
Paula starts with a digital image in Photoshop. She turns the image black and white and then thickens the outline, making it a perfect guide for her carving tools. Often, those tools are found at yard sales. Random kitchen utensils, drill bits (for the eyes) and a $7.99 battery-powered pumpkin saw. For a couple of hours, Paula pumps it out. And the result is well…odd, stunning, amazing and real. Here’s the complete collection of Paula’s Pumpkins.