BERLIN — With Halloween approaching, local artist Kenny Bliss of Create Early Bliss has been busy constructing his custom-made pumpkins for businesses and private homes alike.
“I have always kept that motto in my art and work,” Bliss said of his company’s name, which that is meant to conjure thoughts of euphoria and peacefulness. “Those kind of feelings can also come from my art.”
While Bliss is a multi-medium artist, he has spent a lot of time recently working on his pumpkin products that take a little more effort and skill to design than the typical, run of the mill Jack-o-lanterns.
When a design is submitted to Bliss, he photocopies it and enlarges the layout to an appropriate size. A straight blade is then used to cut through the pumpkin, but not to create holes. The lines make indents into the pumpkin, and gives the image a unique texture.
When all indents are made, Bliss lets the pumpkin dry overnight.
The next day, he uses a variety of colors to paint the image, and then applies a spray on it to let the pumpkin shine as if it were made of ceramic.
“A lot of people ask if it’s a real pumpkin,” Bliss said.
In all, the pumpkin-making process is pretty quick. It only takes an average of four hours over the period of two days for Bliss to complete a pumpkin.
Bliss’ works can be viewed throughout the area, including The Globe and Oh My Hair! in downtown Berlin, as well as BJ’s on the Water and Princess Royale in Ocean City.
I purchase a pumpkin every year,” said Jennifer Dawiki David, owner of The Globe. “There is nothing better than getting a custom-designed piece to display that’s made by a local resident.”
Bliss, who also works as a chef at The Atlantic Hotel while still devoting time to his arts, said the gourds often end up being conversation pieces when displayed in private homes.
Even when pumpkins are out of season, Bliss will use watermelons to make his creations throughout the year.
Before officially starting his business in 1997, Bliss first got the idea of his unique pumpkin creations while making Jack-o-lanterns with his children.
“When they were little, I thought it would be nice to have them paint the pumpkin,” he said.
After that pumpkin was made, Bliss decided to put a little more emphasis into future projects.
“I then carved a pumpkin for our family reunion with our family name inscribed on it. Before I knew it, I was making 30 pumpkins a year,” he said.
While pumpkins will encompass the majority of Bliss’ projects in time, he does not ignore other artistic passions. In November, Bliss will teach classes for the creation of earthy-looking stationary. Mixing dried flowers and potpourri with a paper pulp puree, results in a sheet of paper that looks as if it came directly from tree bark.
His classes are offered year round, and at some 2nd Friday Art Strolls held monthly in downtown Berlin, Bliss assists children in making their own earthy stationary.