WHAT IS PYROGRAPHY?
Victorian times as Pokerwork (because a red hot poker was used!) Pyrography
is the art or craft of decorating wood or leather with
heated tools. These days modern technology has brought us the Pyrograph
or Pyrography Machine (known in the US as a Woodburner). These are mains powered,
easy to use and you don't need an open fire any more! The example of Stephenson's
Rocket above was done on a Janik Sycamore plaque by Terry Leveritt
of Form Crafts. (Please note the design is copyright).
Pyrography is as easy
or as difficult as you want to make it. Many just use it as a means of adding
a name to a product to personalize it. The most popular products are eggcups,
keyring/pendant/brooches and name plates but almost any wood or leather object
can be personalized in this way. Woodturners or cabinet makers often burn their
name or initials into their latest masterpieces. Special "brands" can be made
to reduce the skill involved or to speed up the process if many objects need
to be burned. Wood carvers use pyrography to burn feathers or other details
onto birds and animals.
Pyrography is also popular
as a way to decorate objects so that they become mini "works of art" which
make great gifts. You do not necessarily need to be an artist to do this. Indeed
very few pyrographers burn directly onto the object, but first make a faint
pencil sketch onto which they burn subsequently. Any pencil lines showing can
be easily rubbed out afterwards. There are many aids to doing this. One is to
use a good quality wax free transfer paper such as Saral to transfer
a design from any flat surface to the wood. Another is to use an iron-on transfer
(they are available in books) and a third is to use an overhead projector such
as the KopyKake. All these items are available from Janik or your
local Craft Supplier.
Before taking up this fascinating
hobby why not read Stephen Pooles highly acclaimed book "The Complete Pyrography"
or Janik's "Introduction to Pyrography" by Stuart Grainger. Janik have
also produced a successful Video featuring Stephen Poole called simply
"Pyrography". On the website we now have the acclaimed pyrographer Linda
Fellows' worksheets to read and download.