Jonathan carves extraordinary pumpkin designs for restaurants, corporate events, television shows, carving demonstrations, and private parties. He's based in the heartland of pumpkin carving, beautiful and mysterious Portland, Oregon.
Jonathan Barwood has been carving pumpkin designs for nearly 25 years. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Art. His main focus and passion at the time was ceramic sculpture.
One afternoon following graduation, Jonathan’s mother—who had paid for Jonathan's art degree after all—asked if Jonathan would be willing to carve a pumpkin for the front porch of their home. Jonathan jumped at the challenge, knowing he'd have to create something special. The resulting pumpkin design—created in 8 hours using his Father’s Exacto knife kit—was a huge hit with the neighborhood trick-or-treaters; they'd never seen such an elaborate pumpkin before.
This early success drove Jon to develop his skills and compete in local contests. After winning a few contests, he began receiving commissions for displays at local restaurants and private events.
Following a trip through Seattle, Jonathan carved a pumpkin for some friends who had a brand-new baby named Tucker. It was proposed that Tucker might enjoy being the first baby ever to take a nap inside a pumpkin. This off-handed suggestion was quickly embraced and soon led to Jonathan’s imaginative "Babies in Pumpkins" series. Jonathan quickly found himself inundated with requests by parents for “baby-sized pumpkins” that they could use in family photo shoots.
Jonathan taught ceramics and pumpkin carving at the University of Oregon's Craft Center (Yes, he’s a proud Oregon Duck!). Jonathan still gets great satisfaction from teaching younger artists about the fine points of pumpkin carving. He's even used his skills to raise money for charity events, including the California AIDS/LifeCycle Ride, a 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that raises money and awareness for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Jonathan has worked in numerous fine restaurants in Portland, Oregon. Each year he receives commissions for window displays, carving demonstrations, and of course, extraordinary carved pumpkins.
Jonathan has been greatly inspired by the work of innovative sculptor Ray Villafane. Jonathan first learned about Ray’s work by watching the 2011 edition of Halloween Wars. Ever since, Jonathan has been inspired to push the boundaries of pumpkin carving. His designs are progressively more realistic, varied, and—in many cases—far more terrifying.
Even after all these years, Jonathan still looks forward to the joys and challenges of bringing his pumpkin designs to life. And he’s thrilled that Halloween Wars has brought national attention to his life-long passion of sculpting and pumpkin carving.
Jonathan currently lives in North Portland with his lovely wife, Erin, their two precocious cats. and one goofy french bulldog.