Monthly Archives: October 2014

Carving the Betsy Jack o’ Lantern

betsy jack o' lantern

Betsy, a Curious George character, incarnated in pumpkin.

The question about what skills are transferrable from woodworking comes up on occasion in online discussions. Certainly the ability to measure, mark, and cut to that mark apply to a lot of crafts, and sometimes in unexpected ways. Take pumpkin carving. When asked what kind of jack o’ lantern he wanted, my son Peter replied “Betsy.” Betsy, for the uninitiated, is a character from the animated adaptation of the Curious George books. Peter gets points for originality, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to deliver.

An image search provided a suitable screen grab of Betsy. To transfer the image, I cut out the face and hair and traced them with a black Sharpie, then punched a toothpick along the details of the face and connected the dots. After clearing out the pumpkin, I drilled out the eyes with an appropriately-sized bit and used a pumkin-carving tool to define Betsy’s eyebrows, nose, and mouth. The hair presented more of a challenge. I first used a V chisel to define the outline of the head and hair, then used a gouge to scrape off the pumpkin’s outer skin within the hair outline. The results at least passed muster with a three-year-old.

Mid-Century Designers and Their Chairs

Mid-Century designers

George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom pose with their designs in a shot from the July, 1961 issue of Playboy. Image via The Selvedge Yard

In putting together a book on Mid-Century Modern Furniture, there were some materials I wanted to include but couldn’t for various reasons. One of the things I was most disappointed I couldn’t include was this image from the August, 1961 issue of Playboy. I especially like the Wormley and Risom chairs.

Mid-Century Modern Furniture on Hannibal

Mid-Century Modern furniture on the set of Hannibal

A Hans Wegner chair features prominently in this screen grab from episode 7 of Hannibal’s second season. Just visible in the foreground is the live edge of a Nakashima table. Image via imgur.

We’ve been catching up on season 2 of Hannibal. Usually it’s some murderous tableau or a sumptuous cannibal meal that causes my jaw to drop, but it was the furniture featured in episodes six and seven that caught my eye recently. It had special resonance after writing a book on Mid-Century Modern furniture. We see inside a character’s apartment, and the open-plan living space is practically jammed with Mid-Century furniture. In the living room Nakashima benches and a Hans Wegner chairs flank a live-edge table. In the dining nook stand Danish modern table and chairs I can’t place.

More Information

The L.A. Times had an article on Hannibal’s production design.

Hannibal creator Brian Fuller is a partner in L.A. design store Fuller + Roberts