When Red Deer dentist Brian Saby is away from the office, he has the passion and skill to carve pumpkins.
Sitting at the front desk of his of office, Saby Dental on 50A Street, sits two pumpkins with 3D faces and wooden arms and legs which were expertly carved by Saby in just two hours.
“I’ve been carving pumpkins for a number of years,” said Saby. “It’s a ton of fun, it doesn’t take up too much time and it’s something not a lot of people can do.”
Saby first started carving pumpkins when he wanted to enter a local carving contest. For that contest he did a line drawing of The Three Stooges on a pumpkin using a dental drill.
After experimenting with different types of carvings, he saw 3D face carvings online by Ray Villafane, a three-time winner of the Food Channel’s pumpkin carving contest.
Shortly after seeing those carvings online he bought a DVD tutorial set and starting practicing.
Last week Saby took his craft to the next level and attended Villafane’s pumpkin carving school in Arizona.
“The guy is the best in the world,” said Saby. “It was awesome to watch him carve. There was 10 of us and he’d start off looking in a mirror, he’d make facial expressions and would start carving.”
There were plenty of subtle things Villafane taught Saby to make his work better, such as using a melon-baller on a potato and using those potato balls for the eyes.
“I showed him some photos of my work and he was just like, ‘It’s OK.’ And then he would show why mine didn’t look as real as his,” said Saby.
Saby said it feels good when people come into his dental office and see his work on the front desk.
“At first people don’t think it’s real, but then they touch it – everyone wants to touch it,” he said.
The whole idea of these 3D carvings is to create “a pumpkin with a face rather than a face carved in a pumpkin,” said Saby. Each face will be different because each pumpkin is different, he added.
“As you carve them they kind of take on their own direction. You start with a basic format, but then things start coming together based on the shape of the pumpkin.”
Anyone interested in carving pumpkins shouldn’t be afraid to get their hands covered in pumpkin brains, said Saby.
“Some of them turn out good and some of them turn out terrible. But pumpkins are five bucks, so it’s not a big deal.”
Saby is working on a sculpture made of fibreglass and Styrofoam that can be seen at Pete’s At The Beach in Sylvan Lake next spring.