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The White Horse pyrography on Poplar Wood.

Pyrography or pyrogravure is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as pokerwork or wood burning.

The term means "writing with fire", from the Greek pur (fire) and graphos (writing).[1] It can be practiced using specialized modern pyrography tools, or using a metal implement heated in a fire, or even sunlight concentrated with a magnifying lens. "Pyrography dates from the 17th century and reached its highest standard in the 19th century. In its crude form it is pokerwork." [2]

A large range of tones and shades can be achieved. Varying the type of tip used, the temperature, or the way the iron is applied to the material all create different effects. After the design is burned in, wooden objects are often coloured. Light-coloured hardwoods such as sycamore, basswood, beech and birch are most commonly used, as their fine grain is not obtrusive. However, other woods, such as pine or oak, are also used. Pyrography is also applied to leather items, using the same hot-iron technique. Leather lends itself to bold designs, and also allows very subtle shading to be achieved. Specialist vegetable-tanned leather must be used for pyrography (as modern tanning methods leave chemicals in the leather which are toxic when burned), typically in light colours for good contrast.

Pyrography is also popular among gourd crafters and artists, where designs are burned onto the exterior of a dried hard-shell gourd, usually with dramatic results[citation needed].

History[edit]

The Tawny Eagle. Davide Della Noce pyrography.

The process has been practiced by a number of cultures including the Egyptians and some African tribes since the dawn of recorded history. Pyrographer Robert Boyer hypothesises that the art form dates back to prehistory, when early humans created designs using the charred remains of their fires.[3] It was known in China from the time of the Han dynasty, where it was known as "Fire Needle Embroidery".[4] During the Victorian era, the invention of pyrography machines sparked a widespread interest in the craft, and it was at this time that the term "pyrography" was coined (previously the name "pokerwork" had been most widely used)[5] In the late 19th century, a Melbourne architect by the name of Alfred Smart discovered that water-based paint could be applied hot to wood by pumping benzoline fumes through a heated hollow platinum pencil.[6] This improved the pokerwork process by allowing the addition of tinting and shading that were previously impossible. In the early 20th century, the development of the electric pyrographic hot wire wood etching machine further automated the pokerwork process, and Art Nouveau pyrographic gloveboxes and other works were popular in that era. Pyrography is a traditional folk art in many parts of Europe, including Romania, Hungary and Flanders, as well as Argentina and other areas in South America.

Equipment[edit]

Traditional pyrography can be performed using any heated metal implement. Modern pyrography machines exist, and can be divided into three main categories.

Solid-point burners[edit]

Solid-point burners are similar in design to a soldering iron. They have a solid brass tip which is heated by an electrical element, and operate at a fixed temperature.

Wire-nib burners[edit]

Wire-nib burners have variable temperature controls. The writing nib is heated by an electric current passing directly through it. Some models have interchangeable nibs to allow for different effects.[7]

Laser cutters[edit]

Laser cutters can be set to scorch the material instead of cutting all the way through it. Many laser cutters provide software facilities to import image files and transfer them onto a sheet of wood. Some laser systems are sufficiently sensitive to perform pyrography on thin card or even paper.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marianne Podgorski; Before You Pick Up That Nib: Wood Burning 101, p7 ISBN 978-0-557-05114-4
  2. ^ "Pyrography." Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. London: Chambers Harrap, 2012. Credo Reference. Web. 2 Mar 2015.
  3. ^ Boyer, R; The Amazing Art of Pyrography, Evanston 1993, ISBN 978-1-879260-12-2
  4. ^ China Culture - pyrography
  5. ^ Walkabout Crafts - pyrography
  6. ^ Carter, Julie; With Mellow Shades and Character Made: The Richness of Australian Pokerwork in Carter's Antiques and Collectables Magazine, Sept 2000
  7. ^ Walters, S; Pyrography Workbook: A Complete Guide to the Art of Woodburning Fox Chapel 2005 p13-14 ISBN 978-1-56523-258-7

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrography — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

1218 news items

MetroWest Daily News

MetroWest Daily News
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:03:49 -0700

Meet indigenous artists and fair traders who specialize in jewelry, weavings, instrument making, painting, pyrography, sculptures, embroidery, clothing design, textiles, beading, pottery, carvings and music. Shop unique-handmade art, jewelry, clothing ...

Lifehacker Australia

Lifehacker Australia
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 18:30:00 -0700

The most common way to burn wood is with a pyrography pen (see the photo at the top of this post). These are called solid-point burners and are similar in look and design to a soldering iron. They have a solid brass tip which is heated by an electrical ...

Dorset Echo

Dorset Echo
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:30:23 -0700

A variety of products were up for grabs at the fair, ranging from handcrafted bird and insect boxes, basket making, handmade glass jewellery, straw marquetry and even a pyrography stall. There were demonstrations including blacksmithing, Dorset button ...
 
Ashbourne News Telegraph
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:30:00 -0700

This week the club will hear from Bob Neil on the subject of pyrography. To find out more call 01335 344933. Ashbourne Town Hall A handmade and vintage fair takes place every Saturday from 11am until 4pm. Admission is free and to find out more call ...

Tallahassee.com

Tallahassee.com
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0700

The first floor of the ship was filled with tools and activities centered around demonstrations in wood burning, or pyrography, wood carving, and woodturning. Wager was among the 36 instructors working on his lathe while enjoying the expansive fjords ...

Charlotte Observer

Charlotte Observer
Mon, 20 Jul 2015 03:18:45 -0700

Discovery Place hosts Innovate 301: Solar Pyrography today noon to 5pm and FREE. FREE live music today and every Saturday afternoon in conjunction with Discovery Place's new Guitar exhibit. . Kannapolis' Village Park is the place to be this evening for ...

Kansas City Star

Kansas City Star
Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:41:15 -0700

Art in the show ranges from photography to multimedia to pencil drawing to pyrography (wood burning stencils). Employee/artists are: Laurie Brown, codes enforcement officer; Kat Lantto, fitness specialist; Gregory Powell, police officer; Jennifer ...

Bournemouth Echo

Bournemouth Echo
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:29:22 -0700

A variety of products were up for grabs at the fair, ranging from handcrafted bird and insect boxes, beautifully crafted wooden clocks, basket making, handmade Gallianai Glass jewellery, straw marquetry and even a Pyrography stall. There were ...
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