Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Guest Blogger Tuesday

After some serious lack of follow up on my part, Guest Blogger Tuesday is back!  This weeks guest blogger is the fabulous Mrs.  Jen Reed!  She's going to be sharing with you about the awesome art of wood burning.  It's something that I knew little about until I looked through the photos of her art and couldn't help but want to know more.  Colin used to dabble in wood burning in high school, but hasn't done anything in the time that I've known him, so I knew it existed, but didn't know how unique and cool it was.  Without further adieu, I'll let Jen explain the rest!

Pyrography: The Art of Wood Burning
When I was about fifteen, my mom had taken my sister and I to the craft store. She said she would get us both something to do, and since I had already tried latch hook, needle point, knitting, crochet, and basically everything else and failed, I was looking for something new and different. I wandered up and down all the isles, and found this kit that had two pieces of wood and what looked like a soldering tool. It was a wood burning kit! This looked like something I could do! I told my mom that it was what I wanted, and she chuckled a little, but said she would get it for me. Little did she know that it would become a wonderful hobby for me, and get me to branch out into other aspects of wood working.

Some people call it Pyrography, while others call it wood burning. It’s the same thing, really. It is just taking a soldering tool with different shaped tips on it to make designs in wood pieces. I have five different tools and about fifty different tips that I use for various patterns and projects. Some of the tips are good for sharp lines or thick lines, while some are better to create shadow effects. I use any kind of wood, really. I have burned on anything from oak to walnut to cedar to basswood (which happens to be my favorite). Some of the wood I have used came from stores, while some I have used has come from places I have visited, or from wood scrap piles. Wood can be found anywhere and made into art, if you have the imagination for it.
To prepare for a wood burn project, the wood needs to be sanded down so that it is smooth to the touch. When that is done, the pattern can be drawn right on the wood, or can be transferred on to the wood. I do both, it just depends on what project I am working on at the time. Some of my designs are done free hand. Others are taken from patters or photos. For those, I print out the picture, and use transfer paper taped on to the wood, and then tape the print out on to the transfer paper. From there, it’s just a matter of tracing the pattern out and getting it on to the wood. It is a fairly simple process.  

After the pattern is on the wood, you are ready to burn. Warming up the tool only takes a matter of minutes. Pick out the tip you would like to use first, and put it in the tool. Then plug the tool in to get it hot, and once it is ready, the burning can start. I usually start from the top of the pattern and work my way down, or start with the less detailed pieces of the work. The end is where you can put on a smaller tip and do the detail work. I never had any training in how to do pyrography, so this is what I have found is the best way for me to do it. It really is up to each person, though.
Coaster set
The biggest project I have completed took over forty hours of burning time, and over 30 hours of prep time. It was a coffee table for my sister and brother-in-law. The design was of a cabin, with some Labradors out front, and some ducks flying in the sky, with the dogs looking at them, and some trees and a fence and mountains along the way. For the borders I put an oak leaf pattern across the bottom and two little leaves in the middle of the top. It was one of the best projects I have ever done, and the one I am most proud of. I have also done a couple of end tables for my parents, and various other gifts for my friends and family. There are many other projects I am proud of, and can’t wait to get more going.
Completed coffee table
Wood burning is something I really enjoy doing, and sharing my work with people is a gift I love to give.  For me, it is a relaxing hobby that is fun to do, that I can get other people involved in if they want to be.  My works have presented themselves in a unique way and to give something personal that I have made for someone, and to have them know how much time and effort I have put into it, makes it even more special to that person, and to me. It makes me feel good to see them smile at seeing my artwork and to know that they really like what I have given them.

Wood burnings make great, unique, personal gifts. I sell my work and would be willing and able to work with anyone to get a design going if there is an interest.
Here is the public link to my facebook Random Crap…I Mean Crafts page if you’d like to check out some of my art. Please enjoy. If you’d like to contact me, my email is: princessburley@hotmail.com

Cool, right?  If you're interested in buying anything you see from Jen's album, or requesting a custom piece as a gift or for yourself, please email her with the details!

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