There’s a Pumpkin out there that’s a cinch to obtain, no inside guts to scrape out and it’s very unlikely to shrivel and rot by your doorstep.
It’s the Innova Pumpkin Disc that arrives each year just as the summer starts to wind down and Halloween starts to ramp up. And, if you’ve been counting, like some collectors have, this year marks the 21st year of the spooky-fun tradition.
It’s a tradition that’s anticipated by everyone here at Innova and collectors around the nation looking to add the latest rendition to their wall.
“I just like how each year is something different to look forward to, and they make great conversation pieces,” said collector Kevin Waring, of Michigan, who bought his first Pumpkin (2009 edition) about 8 years ago, and soon after found himself on the haunted trail for more. He amassed enough to be the first to share a complete set of “faces” online and became known to collectors as the “Pumpkin-Guy” for a time.
Check some of Waring's collection. He sent of pic with one from each year.(They're in order by year, starting from the top left and flowing downward, going left to right. 2009 had two different designs)
Waring and other collectors will be in for a treat for this year’s edition designed by Innova East Art Director Matt Peckham. Looking at it, it’s like you’re back trick-or-treating being greeted by the jack-o-lantern on the doorstep just as you’re about to ring the doorbell.
When planning this year’s Pumpkin, Peckham said it’s all about coming up with something fresh. “This year I tried to utilize our XXL stamp to make a Pumpkin that was a unique spin on the Pumpkin line. I'm pretty happy with the result,” said Peckham.
The stamp is featured on orange and black Star RocX3, Glow DX Aviar, I-Dye Champion Beast in special Pumpkin dye, plus new to this year, orange, black, and glow Pumpkin Pulsar. Check out DGUstore.com for these and some special exclusive Pumpkins.
Models offered have varied over the years (so have colors), but Aviars have appeared in every release in some form or fashion, including the very first year in which it was the only model.
In the Beginning...
Russell Schwarz remembers it well. It happened on a ho-hum autumn day in 1997 when Schwarz, who at the time was Innova East’s main hot stamper, was stamping orange Aviars when an idea crept into his head, “Hey, I could make a jack-o-lantern of this,” he said to himself.
After getting the idea approved, Schwarz went to work. Using a Sumi brush (used for calligraphy / art and black ink design), Schwarz painted several versions onto sheets of paper. He found one he liked, got the size right, and submitted it to get a hot stamp die (the tool used to create stamps on discs).
That year they stamped about 100 Pumpkins and sold them all. “…We sold what we stamped. So we did it again. It was a very spontaneous thing.” Said Schwarz, now the Innova East Director of Special Projects. After they did it a few years, they could tell it was making an impression because they saw other companies coming out with Pumpkins too, said Schwarz.
They weren’t always easy to produce, though. “The first few years, they were a pain in the ass,” said Schwarz referring to the large amounts of solid black used in the jack-o-lantern, which can be a trick to stamp flawlessly. Over the years, it got easier using different plastics, stamp foil, and pumpkin designs with that in mind.
Glancing over the variety of Pumpkins made over the past 21 years is fun to see. There are: a few freaky looking jack-o-lanterns, several benevolent looking Pumpkins, an apathetic looking Pumpkin (2004), a Pumpkin with Chiclet teeth (2012), and a lovable “Fuzzkin”(2015) to name a few. There’s even a Pumpkin modeled after the 1920 movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which was Schwarz’s last pumpkin design in 2009.
After 13 pumpkins Schwarz’s tenure ended as official Pumpkin designer and the responsibilities were assumed by Innova’s graphics team and other contracted artists.
Last year’s popular and unique “Sugar Skull” design by artist Mike Inscho, was born through a lot of collaboration between him and his Innova contacts. After submitting about five iterations to Innova, a zombie like graphic eventually led to the final one. To get a sense of how he came up with his design, check out his blog here: http://www.mikeinscho.com/blog/2016-innova-pumpkin-design
Inscho, who has worked on other projects like USDGC Champion Rocs, really enjoyed the Halloween spirited project.
“Monsters and all things a little weird really gel into what I love illustrating,” said Inscho, whose favorite is the 2014 Pumpkin with its wicked smile.
Got em' all, almost
Collector Brian Phillips also of Michigan, definitely has that one, plus just about every model produced as well. He’s got several of them hanging on his wall at home.
“I like them because Halloween is my favorite holiday, and to me pumpkins/ jack-o-lanterns are the key symbol for the holiday. It's that simple. Who didn't love carving a pumpkin when they were kids?” said Phillips.
With the exaggerated eyes, nose, and mouth – that look as if a child had carved it – that was what Schwarz was going for with his original design. Though quite simple in appearance, it’s the favorite of many including collector Kevin Waring and it’s one of Schwarz’s favorites too, along with others like the “Thumpkin” (2000), modeled after his Labrador retriever at the time, Thumper Velvet.
More than anything, each Pumpkin says fun and the best part according to designer Matt Peckham is that you can count on the tradition being renewed every year. So grab your 2017 Pumpkin and have a Happy Halloweenova. It could be the start of a spirited collection.
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