The Art of Pyrography (Wood Burning)
Tools and Materials
Pyrography is a very specific hand-craft art on wood that allows the artist to use a wide variety of shades and textures only by controlling the temperature of a designed device called pyrograph.
The style gives an opportunity to show a lot of details and at the same time keep the natural look, colour and shape of the material. It is basically giving life to a product created by nature.
This style of art dates from the 17th century and reaches a high standard in the 19th century. Nowadays it is almost forgotten technic but still there is an urge for some artists to evolve and reach it's highest stage by improving textures.
The pyrography tips are a low-resistant high quality nichrome wires in different shapes designed for achieving different effect and texture. There are over 900 different models with specific sharpness. The model Georgi uses most often that is good enough for almost every scenario is a wire which shape is made by himself. Rarely he changes for a more smooth finish or very sharp feather-looking texture.
The tool is called pyrograph and the models vary from a simple handmade hot wire machine to high standard specifically designed instruments manufactured by companies to help you reach maximum precision.
The instrument Georgi started with was a very simple cheap Soldering Pen using constant heat and not giving that much freedom to create texture and control the burning. Afterwards he felt the need to find a more professional method and his network search lead him to a Canadian company that designs professional hot wire tools for making art called Razertip. More specific Georgi has been using until this day the model: Razertip SS-D10. It has many features not found on every woodburner. Dual handpiece capability allows you to have two pens plugged in and change between them at the flick of a switch. This is particularly useful if your work calls for frequent handpiece changes as it saves time and wear on the connectors.
The SS-D10's extra low-end temperature adjustment gives you a chance to control the heat. The hot wire pens the artist uses are model BHP Interchangeable-tip pens. Great if you need to change or make your own tips.
The material can also vary from different types of wood, to leather, bone or even wax surface. Thick Rag paper can also be a decent medium for pyrography. From practise and also communication in the sphere of pyrography the artist came to a conclusion that the most common wood materials to use are American Basswood, Poplar , Lime and others. This is so because of the softness of the material that allows easier hot wire carving and the bright texture to give you chance for smooth and precise marks. You need to have in mind that every type of wood material has a different toxicity therefore you SHOULD BE VERY CAUSIOUS about the smoke. Different types of extractors come in use of taking the smokes away and providing a safe work environment.
Also recommended is using a heat resistant leather glove and respiratory mask.
Cotton Rag Paper
As a last stage of giving your artwork a more complete look is using a varnish for protection and shining effect.
Be aware though that varnish reacts differently with materials and it might darken your artwork and this way to hide some of the details and shades.
Pyrography requires dedicated time but the process is fun and can be a style that you can identify yourself with and be a creator that uses only natural elements.