Grace Clarke meets the York designer who can transform an ordinary squash into a spooky celebrity
If, like me, you’re completely lacking in artistic talent, and the only thing that scares you about Halloween is the thought of having to carve a pumpkin, you should worry no more. Dave Turner has the answer… Pump’kd.
I met Dave to discuss his new venture this week, where I was greeted by a cup of tea – Yorkshire of course – and a slice of Banana Bread. Great start, Turner. Great start.
Pump’kd is a pumpkin carving business, which if you had your eyes peeled last year you may know as York Pumpkins. After the success of last year’s trial run, which resulted in a contract with York Maze, and an appearance on The One Show, they are back. They’ve now completely rebranded, changed their name, and had a logo designed by Owen Turner at United by Design, based on The Mount in York.
“The whole project started as a hobby”, carving pumpkins for friends and family every year until Dave, the eternal entrepreneur, saw an opportunity to sell them.
Around two weeks before Halloween last year, Turner took to the social networks to promote his fledgling business. Before he knew it he had orders coming in and a job at York Maze and a guest appearance on The One Show, where he bizarrely was challenged to carve Lenny Henry’s face into a pumpkin in just 20 minutes. He did it – see the video below – and regards it as one of his best designs yet.
This year, with more time on his hands, he’s not only created a catalogue of designs ranging from Toy Story characters to the X Factor judges (pictured right) to Edward Scissorhands, he’s also developed items for shop window displays and stencils.
The stencils are an exciting new product. Rather than just buying a ready-made pumpkin, wonderful as they may be, you still have some of the fun and the tradition of carving your own… without the fear that the most terrifying thing on halloween night will be your appalling attempt at a scream mask.
Obviously, Pumpk’d isn’t a year-round business. Dave is the first to tell you he’s sick of the sight of pumpkins by the end of October, so luckily this is just a sideline. He’s designed beer gardens for local pubs and bars which focus on the functionality of the furniture, an asthmatic inhaler, and at the age of just 22 is already running his own company: Scruffy Dog Design a company specialising in interior and product design.
“I’ve always wanted to be a designer, but I never thought I’d be self employed at the age of 22,” Dave tells me. He’d always been passionate about design throughout school.
When he was 14 he undertook a work experience placement with a local design firm in his home town of Whitby, and at the age of 16 they took him on as a part-time employee. He then moved to York to study Design Practice at York St John University. Having only graduated last year, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s quite remarkable what he’s achieved up to now.
- Pump’kd will be back at York Maze this year everyday from October 27, running pumpkin carving workshops and selling ready carved pumpkins and the stencils
- A full list of designs are available on the Pump’kd Facebook page
- A new Pumpk’d website is due to come online very soon
- Product updates are available on Twitter