Creative process

Experiments with… pyrography

At the start of the year I treated myself to a pyrography set and this month I finally got round to having a go with it. It’s something I’ve fancied having a go at for a while but I’d always talked myself out of because I thought it would be really difficult and I’d be rubbish at it. Spoiler alert: it is and I am.

Like most people, I’ve had a bit more time at home recently. So last weekend I unboxed the pyrography tool and set up in the kitchen with a cuppa and a heatproof mat. I used the back of a plywood sign I used to use on my market stalls as my pyrography equivalent of a sketchbook and started to play around. And boy did it take some getting used to.

I got on a lot better when I stopped trying to draw with the pyrography tool and started treating it more like painting. When I started to go with the flow (or with the grain in this case) it felt much more fluid and natural.

Here’s a look at what I managed to achieve on my first attempt

The main thing I took from this experiment was to embrace being a beginner at something and enjoy the process, rather than focusing on the result. I’m also pretty pleased that I didn’t give up and that I’m excited to keep playing with this. That’s some serious personal growth right there.

When I bought this kit I was thinking of using it to make Christmas gifts for friends and family. I’ve seen some cute wooden log slices in craft shops and thought they’d make cute coasters or Christmas tree decorations. I still haven’t given up on this, but I am grateful that there’s plenty of time between now and Christmas for me to practise!

Fancy having a go?

Normally at this point in the blog I’d give some tips for people wanting to have a go themselves. But after a few attempts I don’t feel like I’m in any position to be dishing out pyrography tips!

Instead I’ve rounded up three makers (pyrographers) on Instagram for inspiration:

  1. Jessica Bartlett aka @thecorbeaupress is well-known in Bristol for her gorgeous glass engravings, but also creates incredible artwork with pyrography on paint.
  2. @theweeklybloom for beautiful botanical illustrations and photos that make me want to go and live in the woods.
  3. @mossyfoxstudio creates gorgeous bears, pet portraits and all kinds of amazing animals using pyrography and paints. Did I mention bears.

This series of ‘Experiments with…’ blogs is based around one of my goals for 2020 – to experiment more and develop my creative practice. This means trying out new techniques, using new materials and making new products. The hope is that I’ll develop as an artist, learn new skills and have a lot of fun in the process. My aim is to try one new thing each month and blog about the process as well as the results.

You can keep up with my experiments in the creative process section of my blog. If you’ve got any suggestions for experiments that you think I should try, please get in touch.