See how Russ Lane pursues his passion in the place he really calls home.
‘It would be boring if we all did the same thing’
When he fell asleep to have fun in his twenties, Russ Lane didn’t know he would ever carve out the world’s largest pumpkin.
“I started to hone my pumpkin carving skills because I could be at home with [my kids]”, Explains the master sculptor.
A professional engineer and his own artist, Leno enjoyed the days when everything was done by hand. But over time, computers took over the job, and he needed a new outlet.
First he started carving sand as his friends did it, and then he tried his hand to carve snow and ice. Pumpkins were an afterthought.
“Someone’s turn had a party at their place, and they ran down to the store and got pumpkins,” he explains. “It was a lot of fun carving in the new style we started.”
Lane describes his style as “creating a scene on a pumpkin,” but that’s an exaggeration. From a 1,200-pound me mechanical piranha to a medieval castle and dragon, Lane’s Halloween creations are as imaginative as they are complex.
“It would be boring if we all did the same thing,” he says. “Like people who make music, you wouldn’t want to hear the same style over and over again.”
For the past 25 years, Leno’s hobby has become a professional endeavor. He traveled everywhere, carving wineries and even a vice president.
“I average 50 pumpkins a year and usually all of them are over 250 pounds and bigger,” he says. “250 pounds used to be a ‘big pumpkin,’ but now it’s 500-700 pounds.”
His workspace has also grown.
“When I started, I just used a table in the kitchen,” he explains. “Now I have this shop where I have a much bigger space to store my things and put my tools. It is comfortable. You can move on and not worry about messing done in your home. “
Work in progress, Lane’s shop is located in a large garage behind his new lake house in Shelton, Wa.
“I think if you have a passion for something you love to do, you’re going to do some sort of area or space to do it,” he says. “It’s important that you have some space that you can set up and then leave and come back.”
‘You pinch yourself’
Lane has moved to Spencer Lake this summer and plans to retire there.
“I looked around the Northwest, and I never found anything that pleased me more than being here in the South. [Puget] Sound region, “he says.” It’s just beautiful down here. “
When he is not carving, he takes out his boat on the lake or works in the yard. And he’s always thinking of ideas for his next Award winner.
“It’s quiet compared to where I’ve been before,” he says. “It gives my mind more room to think.”
Brown A frame with a second floor deck, the house is filled with warm wood, window walls and Lane’s carvings.
“Life throws a lot of things at you, so getting your dream spot is something I never thought of,” he says. “You pinch yourself.”
Video of Jessica Sherry.
Originally published October 2015.