Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Practical Magic

Every year I fantasize about flanking my steps with pumpkins or gourds that have been carved to resemble old pierced English creamware. (You probably don't need me to tell you that the intricate examples above are Martha's.) For a Southern gathering of design enthusiasts, something ceramics-inspired would be timely this year because of the Birmingham Museum of Art's Buten acquisition, the largest assemblage of Wedgwood ceramics outside of England. More importantly, though, pierced pumpkins illuminated by candlelight look magical on crisp October nights.

[18th-century Shorthose & Heath pierced creamware baskets via Christie's]

So far all I've got going is this.

But I know many of you are doing creative projects: putting the final touches on those costumes, battling royal icing and contributing to the neighborhood Halloween festival, or just running around town looking for the last remaining black tapers.

[Dilapidated candelabra with black candles via Carolyne Roehm]

If you want a relaxing soundtrack for the last minute crafting or errand running, Practical Magic is finally available through iTunes.

No Halloween kitsch, just a little Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, and some 90s nostalgia.

This other Martha project with simple drilled holes looks like a possibility. Have any of you tried it?

Update: 10.26.09
8 p.m. Inspired by the Peachtree Heights East Duck Pond pumpkin float referenced in the comments to this post.

One down. Clearly a large grouping is needed for impact. We'll see what kind of damage squirrels do overnight.

FYI: The Birmingham Museum of Art officially opens ts new Wedgwood gallery on November 19, 2009.

Update: 10.31.09

Above is a shot from the Duck Pond Float spearheaded by Charlotte Margolin nearly a decade ago after she learned about Central Park's pumpkin float. Her husband and another neighbor made the original float for the Peachtree Heights East neighborhood. Peachtree Heights East's duck pond is one of the most picturesque sites in Atlanta, so on the night when local kids float their pumpkins on the water, the setting becomes even more wonderful.


Laura Casey Interiors said...

We've got a few pumpkins outside and some little things stuck to the door my three year old made. That pumpkin with the holes drilled in it would look neat lit up but highly unlikely I will do it :) The group singing on Practical Magic sounds right about my speed.

Like your new header!

Style Court said...

Thanks Laura! Appreciate you noticing. And I owe thanks to Anne for her work.

Decorations made by three year olds are the best in the end. One day I just really want to try drilling :)

TSL said...

I am all about that pumpkin with holes drilled in it, my husband would tackle that with great enthusiasm. Thanks for the pumpkin heads up!

Style Court said...

Tina, a power tool enthusiast would be a big help!

Style Court said...

I've started receiving emails from Atlantans who participated tonight in the Duck Pond Pumpkin Float in Garden Hills.

Jill says:

"It is SO easy to use a drill on a pumpkin - you can have the whole thing done in about three minutes! Use a large gauge, like a 3/4" drill bit and just go kinda slow. I wedge it between my legs (while sitting!) and just drill away.
It is really magical and always amazes everybody
Tonight in my adorable neighborhood in Atlanta was our annual Pumpkin Float on the duckpond and there were so many cool examples of clever carving and drilled gourds
Happy spooky October fun projects
Does it get any better than this time of year and the smell of leaves and candle lit pumpkins?!"

and another reader wrote:

" the Duck Pond tonight, Lakeview just off Peachtree, Garden Hills area, all the children, just at dark ,shoved their wonderful carved lighted pumpkins off into the water! What a beautiful sight..."

Karena said...

I could probably do this with a drill! Such talent!

Style Court said...


After hearing about Jill's success with a drill and consulting with my dad, I think a drilled pumpkin may be in the plans this week!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Can't wait to see your results. No matter what we do we have a horrible time with the squirrels. Once we cut into the pumpkins they turn into lunch.

CarolAnne - camdesign said...

I drilled holes in our pumpkin years ago...the neighbour hood kids called me Martha all night while handing out looked fab with the light shining out (used a string of christmas lights inside) really easy and effective.

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

I am just taking a guess-Martha has little goblins that do all that stuff for her- GT

Shandell's said...

Drilling sounds like a perfect way to carve pumpkins. I will put on my Practical Magic album and enjoy.

Pigtown*Design said...

Great post! I have the Practical Magic on my computer, and will have to listen to it this week.

I've done the drilling and it looks terrific. I second the suggestion of using little lights, and if you want to make it really funky, you can stick the lights through the holes you've drilled.

The Peak of Chic said...

I think you should def. try to drill your pumpkin. Personally, I try to find every excuse I can to use my drill! Love your new Style Court header, by the way.

Style Court said...

Thanks Jennifer!

Unknown said...

Again, the connection is splendid! A long time ago, when I worked in the Education and Public Programs Department of the Birmingham Museum of Art, I loved to visit the the Wedgewood collection. It is so fabulous and so thrilling to see just how many beautiful patterns there have been over the years.

style chronicle said...

My front step looks about like yours. Great intentions, just not enough time! Martha always puts the rest of us to shame!

style chronicle said...

Great new header, too!

Brilliant Asylum said...

My pumpkin(s) look just like yours--uncarved. I may try the Martha drillbit project this year, so we shall see how that turns out.

Love your new green heading!

Style Court said...

Millie, SA, and Shannon -- thanks all around!

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Okay I am super impressed. You are quite crafty. Maybe leave a snickers next to the pumpkin and the squirrel will opt for that instead.

Style Court said...

Ah, good idea Laura!

Lisa Porter said...

A drilling I will go! This is so great....Well first of all your post, but how about all the great input from your talented readers!!
I got all white pumpkings this year & tied big black grosgrain bows around the stems. That's about as creative as I could get but now I'm getting the drill all reved up!

Style Court said...

Have fun Lisa! White pumpkins sound lovely. And, yes, my talented readers are great. Thanks for stopping by.