Pyrography on wood, leather, paper and tagua nuts. Woodcarving and turning (eventually!!)
I started carving in the early 1970s, not really knowing what I was doing but enjoying doing it anyway. I carried on ‘doing her own thing’ until I found that there was a woodcarving evening class at a local school. There I discovered where I was going wrong and my technique improved in leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Keith Parker, a great carver and teacher.
Pyrograph – Pyro = fire, graph = writing or drawing. Ancient man is known to have decorated wood using a piece of metal heated in a fire. Victorians stuck a poker in the fire and called the resulting designs Pokerwork. Some scary-looking machines were made in the early 20th Century using glass bottles, rubber tubing and benzene. Thank goodness in recent years we have graduated to the neat little electric machines we use now. My first machine was a Janik solid-point machine. A few years later I bought a Peter Child wire-point machine which I much preferred to the Janik. I was now doing a lot of woodburning, having bought several book, including Stephen Poole’s great The Complete Pyrography.
By the late 90s I was finding out about Pyrography online, had joined the International Association of Pyrographic Artists (Yahoo group Uniting_Pyrographers) and then started up a Yahoo Group with a turner and pyrographer called John Grange who I had met online in the IAPA Group. Most of the members of the IAPA are based in the States, so much of the information about shows and supplies was America orientated, there was obviously a need for a pyro group based on this side of the Great Big Pond. UKPyros was born. One of our members, Nita Bennett had been involved in the designing of a new pyro machine and asked if I would be interested in trying it out. I bought an early model and loved it from the start. I now use my Davan machine 75% of the time. Jeff now uses the Janik for cutting and sealing synthetic rope and I use the Peter Child only on the odd occasion I need a different type of point. About 14 years ago I really got carried away and bought a Razertip from Nedra Denison in America. It has fixed points on individual pens and I used one particular point, a bent skew, for most of my shading. We’ve come a long way from a bit of metal in a fire.