Tonawanda News

Local News

October 18, 2007

WHEATFIELD: The great gourdsmith

What could Michelangelo’s David possibly have in common with Patrick Moser’s Newton Grossbyek?

Surprising as it seems, shaping a giant slab of marble into a beautiful statue is similar to transforming a nearly half-ton gourd into a crazy face.

“(Michelangelo) had to deal with some of the same things I’m dealing with, because you can’t force marble either,” said Moser, 40, a Jamestown native who is more commonly referred to as “Grumpkins.” His finished product will even have the polished look of marble.

Moser can be seen in action carving a 1,200 pound pumpkin between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. today through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the centercourt of The Summit mall in Wheatfield. It is Grumpkins’ only local appearance before heading to Dallas for a similar event.

Peter Green, the former marketing manager for The Summit — he left recently to accept a job with Spirit of Niagara Tours — said he brought Grumpkins in after hearing about him last fall from a participant of a pumpkin weigh-off The Summit was planning.

Green visited Grumpkins Web site and was intrigued.

“He really is the Super Bowl of pumpkin carving,” Green said. “I love it. He’s unique. I like his rapport with people. He’s very engaging. He speaks a language nobody understands. It’s almost like he’s at one with the pumpkin.”

That uniqueness, Green said, speaks to Moser’s passion for pumpkin carving. “People like him should be showcased,” Green said.

Over the next few days, Moser will shave off about 270 pounds from the giant gourd, going only about an inch to an inch and a half deep into it.

It takes a lot of instruments to do what he does. Moser said he’s quite familiar with the head of sales and marketing from art tools manufacturer Kemper Tools. “In my repertoire, I’ve got over 50 tools that I use,” Moser said.

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