Monday, October 19, 2015

Pumpkin Fest Carefree ~ Ray Villafane's Genius

This weekend I took Princess T to a Wonderful FREE Venue in Carefree, the Pumpkin Fest showcasing Master Pumpkin Carver and Artist Ray Villafane's Genius!   I have Admired Ray's body of Work for a long time and Enjoyed when he was featured on Halloween Wars.  Watching a Master at Work is Awe Inspiring and Mezmerizing... it was even better watching him in person and having him give the Audience tips on their own Pumpkin Carving!   And what a Nice Guy he is too, Talent and Personality... he's not hard on the Eyes either!  *Winks*

Picking a Favorite among all of the Incredible Carvings at the Event was so hard... we finally settled by a very narrow margin on the Wolf... but as you will soon see, they all were off the hook and so hard to Believe it's Pumpkin Art!

Now even with Ray's Tutoring I would be intimidated to try this at Home... but he can certainly instill Confidence that you too could improve your Pumpkin Carving Skills with Practice and Patience.   If this doesn't Inspire you to want to go Home and Carve your own Pumpkins, I don't know what will?!

It was a Beautiful day for our Outdoor Event, we'd had a Monsoon Storm earlier which had cooled everything off considerably.   And Carefree is such a Beautiful location, very Scenic backdrop to it all.  

 When I was house hunting I had considered buying property there in fact, but didn't find one that Appealed to me as strongly as the one we bought here.  But it is a place I could Envision us Living and being Happy, we do like to make visits there even though the commute that far East Side is long.

There were unpickled carved Pumpkins...

And Pickled ones entombed within fluids encased in remarkable faux Saguaro Cactus.   It is my understanding they could last up to a year in this environment protected from the Elements and decaying as rapidly.


One of our Favorite pieces was this Adorable Gourd Dog... just look at his little tongue sticking out!

And just look at the expression on the Pumpkin Dog Walker's face!  *LOL*

As a person who is all about the Details of things I found these Carvings to be remarkably Detailed and many were so Whimsical... others so Menacing and all of them so Lifelike.

The Emotions of each face was so evident...

And some of the Vignettes were Hilarious... like the cleaning out of the Pumpkin Crapper!  *LMAO*

Seriously, you can sense the revulsion of what he's Feeling and Smelling, huh? *Smiles*  The Outhouse from Hell!  *Winks*

And this Poor Pumpkin Guy has the worst job... cleaning out and hauling the vile Pumpkin Crap away!  *LOL*   One of those Mike Rowe 'Dirty Jobs' scenarios in Pumpkin Land!  *ha ha ha*

And there was the Hobbit Pumpkin...

And his Cute little Hobbit House in Pumpkin Land.

Some were Whimsical and Beautiful like a Fairy Tale...

There were such a wide variety of Characters...

And I had a little Character of my own Mimicking the Expressions of them all pretty accurately I must say!

There were Grumpy Old Men Characters...

I took Close-Ups and different angles of each Character so you could Enjoy all of the Amazing Details and the Vignettes that told a little Story.

This was another of our Favorites... a Troll looking Pumpkin...

And we liked this one because the mouth and teeth were so very Lifelike and you could look inside clear into the innards!!!

Remarkable, I was Amazed at the Depth of Detail in Carving and how Lifelike... everything you see is Pumpkin, no props attached for effect, it's all carved from Pumpkin or Gourds, depending on the piece!!!

What a fertile Imagination Ray has when Creating these Characters, he brings such Life to them and each has a distinct Personality that emerges under his Skilled hands carving them out.

Princess T really Enjoyed herself, as did I... I just Wish the rest of the Family had chosen to come.

It is a nice Venue to take the entire Family to and since it's Free, well, you can't beat that now can you?!  

Yes, I wore my Jack-O-Lantern Shirt... Smiles... 

Ray was carving live demonstrations and giving loads of helpful tips on picking out the perfect type of Pumpkin... not so much by size, but heavy since that indicates thicker walls so you can carve deeper and get depth of Detail.   And what type of tools work best, Sculpting and Wood Carving Tools rather than Pumpkin carving tools if you have no intention of breaking through.

Some were Life Sized...

And in another Post I'll share some of the faux Pumpkins they had in Vignettes to Inspire you on how to Create the Cutest Dioramas using the faux Pumpkins that aren't carved, but have appendages and props attached to them to give them Character and a Story Line.

Here's a Sneak Peek of what I'm talking about with the faux Pumpkin Dioramas... Adorable and so Playful to make these little Scenes using faux Pumpkins... you could let your Imagination run Wild!

Of coarse these Carved ones were the Stars of the Show...

Loved this one's Twig Spectacles!

A Close-Up so you can see the Attention to Detail!

This shot is a little distorted by the curve of the Pickling Container magnifying a portion of the piece... kind of a neat Fun House Effect though.

I used both my trusty Old Camera and my Cell Phone Camera to capture the Images since I wasn't sure which would do them the most Justice... you really have to be there to get the full Effect of this Art Form and have it totally blow you away!!!

I mean just look at those teeth and fangs... the Menacing snarl and expressive Eyes, you really feel in Danger of this piece attacking and getting you if it escaped the glass confines!  *Smiles*  Actually Princess T was a little scared of this one and was reluctant to get too close, it looked just that Real!

You almost expected them to move... or blink... it was such an Illusion of being Alive.

I swear if they'd had Audio hidden somewhere it would have totally Freaked people out!  *LOL*

Even though this Troll is rather Devilish in Design, he's so Whimsical as not to be Scary.

And I still can't help but Smile every time I see the Pumpkin Crapper Scene... Brilliantly done!

And I kept expecting to hear this one Snore!

Ray also told his Career Story and how it came about that he gravitated to Pumpkin Carving... of coarse he was an Accomplished Artist before he took this Path and had worked for Universal Studios... but I do Believe he really found his Calling with the Master Pumpkin Carving thing!

Before I'd seen Ray's body of Work I had never seen Pumpkin Art done so Realistically and I wanted to learn and know more about the Art Form so it was Thrilling when I knew he was going to be Locally Showcased at an Event that we could attend.

Here is the Hobbit Village...

And us again...

Ray doing a live demonstration...

He's such a Natural Born Teacher too... he Instilled Confidence in all the Audience that they could Create Amazing Pumpkin Art and was Humble enough to tell of how his Skills had to Evolve and Improve over Time and with a lot of Mistakes, Patience and Practice.


Of coarse I do Believe his level of Skill is a Unique Gift... with Time, Patience and Practice I seriously doubt that my Skillset would Create anything that wouldn't pale by comparison!  *Ha ha ha*

But I would think that the Young Prince, with his Amazing Natural Talent at Sculpting and his Passion for it, well, this would be right up his alley and he'd be very good at it... a Natural in fact!

For something so Temporary as a Pumpkin you cannot get too Attached to the Outcome of your Art Piece... it is fleeting, which is a Shame, but why I like that we can Preserve it for posterity via Images.

You can look up Ray's Work Online to see many of his Creations from the Past or done in the Present but earlier in the Show... we didn't come on Opening day and they replace the Art frequently that isn't Pickled and are still Creating more to be Pickled as well.

And all of this worked up quite the Appetite so a High Noon Tea Party at the English Rose Tea Room across the Street from the Carefree Desert Park that Hosted the Event was in order!   Princess T and I like nothing better than a good Tea Party!

Jasmine Tea, Fresh Lemonade, Scones, Finger Sandwich Selection, Fresh Fruit and Chicken Noodle Soup!!!  Yum!

And of coarse a Dessert Selection of luscious Confections afterwards!

She was even beginning to speak with a British Accent!  *Ha ha ha, that Kid is Hilarious!*

They also have a selection of Fancy Hats, Tiaras and Crowns you can borrow to wear for your Tea Party... this time Princess T was too shy... but I suspect she wanted to!   We always wear them at Home for our Mad Tea Parties.

Yes, we had to get a Take-Out Box since her Eyes were bigger than her Tummy... she had wanted it ALL, but no room to put it in that little body!  *Smiles*

But we had a Splendid time and will have to do it again soon and bring some Friends for a Girl's Day Out Tea Party.   Great Shopping and Scenery in the Area so it's just Perfect for a Day Out with the Girls... or even the Guys... though I doubt Tea Parties would be their Thing?!  *Bwahahaha!*

I've already made it a Date with my Friend Pamela and her Daughters to join us the next time we go...

I only Wish Nanna still lived in Arizona so we could take her... had I known this little gem even existed I would have taken her when she lived here.   Nanna would have Loved this... a Taste of the Homeland...

Thanks for joining us my Friends... Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian


  1. Such fun and what an amazing place and scuptor!

  2. What a fantastic post Dawn, thanks so much for sharing Rays' incredible talents, every one of those pumpkins looks as though it could come to life at any moment. Loved the outhouse photos and as you say, the expressions say it all:-) The sleeping one is amazing with his squished up face and pumpkin stem hand supporting it.

  3. What a unique and entertaining experience that must have been!


A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. - Og Mandino (1923-1996)

For creativity to flourish one should try to look at everything as though it were being seen for the first or the last time. - Quote from "A Thousand Paths To Creativity" by David Baird

Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence? ~ Galen Pearl