Fired up

This blog entry steps away from pens, pencils, chalks or paint brushes and sheds light on a different way of creating images, just as ancient. It is not crocheting or weaving, not bas-relief carving either. Let’s talk about pyrography, the art of drawing with heat or fire on wood, leather, metal of even glass. The most commonly used method however is on wood.

Our collection holds no sample whatsoever of such pyrographic works made by children. For sure there are some out there, because the pyrography tools are still selling aplenty. They were all the rage back in the 1950s and 1960s, when a wave of new consumer products became sought after items for crafty families.

To get a sense of the ancient origin of pyrography, see the short article by Working the Flame, a collective endeavour of aficionados: A brief history of pyrography and wood burning art.

Few artists excel in pyrography. One who masters the traditional figurative imagery is Julie Bender. Her small scale works, the beautiful fine art coasters, are as impressive as her large scale sport, pet, farm or wildlife works.

The one contemporary artist who took pyrography to another level is Cai Guo Quiang with his artworks made with gun powder and fireworks. His recent Exploding the self project is enough to convince anyone of his daredevil way.

Now why not turn up the heat and give it a try. Next is a video by Mercedes Grundy for CBC Art. In it, artist Aicha Lasfar makes a full demonstration in less than 3 minutes.

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