Artist’s spooky sculptures are an online hit
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