Artist’s spooky sculp­tures are an on­line hit

Macclesfield Express - - LOOK­ING BACK -

CHAR­LIE MOORE AND KAREN BRITTON

AFORMER win­dow fit­ter is carv­ing out a name for him­self with his amaz­ing pump­kin sculp­tures.

Dar­ren Ban­naghan, 45, has been carv­ing pumpkins for fam­ily and friends for four years, of­ten dis­play­ing his cre­ations out­side his home on Wil­ton Cres­cent, the We­ston, where he lives with wife Rachel.

Dar­ren worked as a win­dow fit­ter in Mac­cles­field un­til 18 months ago when he stopped to look af­ter his mum Chris­tine who was di­ag­nosed with can­cer. Now Chris­tine, 68, of Chapel Street, Mac­cles­field, has been given the all-clear he has turned his en­er­gies to sculpt­ing, af­ter find­ing his tal­ent when his wife signed him up for a course a few years ago.

He has worked with ce­ram­ics and wood, as well as mak­ing cakes.

His skills eas­ily trans- lated to pump­kin carv­ings, which have in­cluded dogs, VW camper vans, bats, witches and even a Gruffalo.

His mas­ter­piece de­sign is a dragon which looks like it is breath­ing fire.He shows all his cre­ations on the photo sharing web­site Pi­casa, and while he has never sold any of them, he hopes he can make a busi­ness of his tal­ent.

Dar­ren, who was born and bred in Mac­cles­field and went to Ryles Park school, said: “I’d never been taught un­til my wife signed me up to a course in Mac­cles­field. She never knows what to get me for Christ­mas so she set me up with a ce­ram­ics class.

“I think ce­ram­ics is just one of those things you can do or you can’t. I came in on the first day and was mak­ing mas­sive sculp­tures, while ev­ery­body else was mak­ing bowls.

“The pumpkins take on av­er­age two or three hours to make. You hear peo­ple who use pa­per cut-outs or sten­cils but I just pick up a pump­kin and start carv­ing it with a knife.

“My sis­ter works at Mac­cles­field Hospi­tal and I made one for her to take to work. The pumpkins only last a few days be­cause they rot so I started putting them on­line so peo­ple can see them. My Pi­casa page has had over 50,000 hits which is amaz­ing.”

Dar­ren has a brother Richard and sis­ter Tracey Tom­lin­son and says his fam­ily is known in Mac­cles­field for run­ning the old Ban­naghans gym on Brook Street.

Dar­ren said: “I’ve al­ways been handy at mak­ing things, I’ve just made a camper van for me and my wife. I’ve not been do­ing this to make money, it’s just nice to know peo­ple are look­ing at my sculp­tures. I could go back to win­dow fit­ting, but it’s sculpt­ing that I re­ally en­joy.”

●● Pump­kin Carv­ings by Dar­ren Bran­ni­gan (be­low) in­clude The Gruffalo, a dragon and haunted scene

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