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by Kathleen Menéndez

Pyrography News From Around the World

Newsletter No. 37, Page One of Three


Page One:
Krasimir Hristov
and His PYRONAISSANCE of Old Masters Works
Angelce Miskov--Pyroengravings of Albrecht Dürer Works

Page Two:
Aleksis Ponze Gallegos--Autochthonous Themes of Peru
Grigoriy Tischenko Overcomes Great Challenges

Page Three:
Kids Corner--8-year-old Nina Govaerts Follows in Her Father's Footsteps
Anikó Hazafi--Works in Fire and Light
Michael Janson--In the Palace of Culture
Sonny Cain--A Tattoo Artist Tries Pyrography

Krasimir Hristov and His PYRONAISSANCE
of Old Masters Works

Winter Landscape
by Krasimir Hristov

Pyrography on wood panel

Image courtesy of the artist

Setting Goals

Bulgarian artist Krasimir Hristov is not the first pyrographic artist to notice that pyrography is not too well known or recognized in art circles. For him, his pyrography is not only a pleasant and engaging way to spend some time, but one he would like to see become a profession.

To that end, he has been developing a web presence of late and is seeking ways to broaden his potential clientele. For Krasimir, this would be his ideal window to the world, especially because he is wheelchair bound.

by Krasimir Hristov

Pyrography on wood panel

Image courtesy of the artist

A Linden Tree

Krasimir is 37 years old and lives with his wife Elka and their daughter Ramona. Eleven years ago, Krasimir suffered serious injury when he fell from a Linden tree.

Unable to continue working, seven years ago Krasimir tried doing pyrography. The irony is that today he is rendering exquisite pyrographic works on none other than--Linden wood.

He describes his earlier works as elementary. However, eventually Krasimir attempted chiaroscuro effects with his pyrography, and to his surprise and delight he realized that it was indeed within the realm of possibility.

Krasimir Hristov

A Lake
by Krasimir Hristov

Pyrography on a Linden wood panel.
after a photograph

Image courtesy of the artist

Technical Aspects

When he first realized he could achieve chiaroscuro works with his pyrography, he also realized that the work had imperfections, so Krasimir set about making improvements to his pyrotool to accommodate his newfound requirements.

The first improvement was to sharpen a tip and bend it under to make a finer dot. He concluded that in this way he could achieve the most beautiful shadows, as well as tiny details.

A second improvement he made was to reduce the amount of electric current that flows to the tip for the purpose of achieving the finest possible shadows.

He got the results he wanted, but the small tips he is using means that each time he uses that small tip to create a shadow, it requires many passes with the point to attain a given value. Likewise, each line and dot takes a lot more effort (that is, lots more tiny lines and dots) to create the picture, so he has to work far more slowly. Krasimir affirms, however, that this is the key to accuracy in his works.

Krasimir's delicate rich works, done completely in pyrography, take him from about five to ten weeks to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the piece.

A Flautist
by Krasimir Hristov

Pyrography on wood panel after a painting by Orazio Fidani

Image courtesy of the artist

Final Notes

Krasimir admits that he has not had a formal art education, but remembers that when he was a schoolboy he liked to draw in pencil. He also tried pyrography for the first time during his school days, and especially remembers how much he enjoyed that.

Today, Krasimir says that his love for pyrography has been very fulfilling. He realizes that he always liked drawing, and drawing using the technique of pyrography is immensely more gratifying for him.

He named his website PYRONAISSANCE. That says it all. Perfect.


The Krasimir Hristov web site called PYRONAISSANCE has two addresses: one in Bulgarian at pyronaissance.hit.bg/ and the other in English at pyrogravures.xmgfree.com.

The Krasimir Hristov Salon in the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art is another site that will be featuring his outstanding work.

To learn more about the sights and people of Bulgaria, go to the link here.

Angelce Miskov--Pyroengravings
of Albrecht Dürer Works

Adam and Eve
by Angelce Miskov

Pyrography on framed wood matchstick panel after a work by Albrecht Dürer

Image courtesy of the artist

Pyrography on Matchsticks!

Macedonian artist Angelce Miskov from Veles in the Republic of Macedonia is 35 years old and has already been working as a pyrographic artist for 12 years.

At some point, Angelce (pronounced AHN-ghel-chay) decided that he wanted to challenge himself, so he decided to combine matchstick art--a big category of its own--with pyrography. And to give himself the ultimate challenge, he decided that, on matchstick panels, he would do pyrographic works reproducing the paintings and engravings of the amazing, enigmatic Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).

Although matchsticks and pyrography may be simple in concept, what's difficult to imagine is how much it would take to actually combine matchstick art with pyrographic art. For this reason, Angelce has provided a series of pictures (below) to show how he goes about it. Just think "time consuming" and "exacting" --and 20,000 matches!--and try to contemplate what you are seeing:

Matches Used as Background for the Dürer Works

Cutting Off the Phosphorous Tips of the Matches

Angelce Pasting the Wooden Matchsticks on a Small Panel

Pasting the Wooden Matchsticks on a Panel, detail

Angelce Pyroengraving a Large Matchstick-Laid Panel

Pyroengraving a Large Matchstick-Laid Panel, detail

Images courtesy of the artist


Angelce explains that his procedure is in four parts, as follows:

1. He cuts the phosphorous from the matchsticks (with a knife one by one).

2. He sticks the matchsticks (now without the phosphorous tips) on the wood panel one by one, like laying a miniature floor, carefully keeping the line straight and the distance between them compact, alternating each row as shown in the corresponding picture above. He chooses only the whitest matches and ones that are in excellent condition.

3. Before doing his picture, he has to sketch it to see the picture more clearly.

4. The burning is the most difficult part of the job, in part because the wood of the matches is so soft, and in great part because there are so many small details in the Dürer works. He has to concentrate intensely and keep referring back to the original Dürer to not make a mistake that could have serious consequences.

Because of the intensity of the work, he can only work for about two hours at a session. After that, he gets too tired and starts to lose concentration. To make a large panel like the Adam and Eve one above that is about 4 feet 3 inches in height, it takes Angelce about 800 hours of work over a period of eight to ten months time. He uses at least 20,000 matches in the process.

by Angelce Miskov

Pyrography on framed wood matchstick panel after an engraving by Albrecht Dürer

Image courtesy of the artist

A Free Spirit

Despite the difficulties and fatigue involved with this type of work, Angelce says that he chose pyrography because he feels that his mind, soul, and body are free when he is doing this work but mostly because he loves to work in pyrography.

He chose the designs from Albrecht Dürer because they held a challenge for him--to go beyond his capability because in this work even a small mistake is not allowed.

He describes his pyroengraved replicas as 99 percent accurate and emphasizes how impossible it would be to manufacture these in series for commercial use.

Melencolia (Melancholy, aka Melancholia)
by Angelce Miskov

Pyrography on framed matchstick wood panel after a 1514 engraving by Albrecht Dürer

Image courtesy of the artist

"When It Rains It Pours"

During recent weeks while this article was in the works, Angelce's pyrography was simultaneously discovered by a newspaper--the Macedonian Daily News--with a circulation of about 80,000. They did a wonderful story about him complete with a large picture of him with his masterpiece, Adam and Eve.

That led to still another opportunity for Angelce--a film company approached him about doing a documentary for national television.

Angelce had written me that in his small country of Macedonia, pyrography was not very well known. Perhaps now that will no longer be the case--for pyrography or Angelce.

Melencolia, detail
Notice the magic square of numbers
Directly below the bell

War of Angels
by Angelce Miskov

Pyrography on framed wood matchstick panel after an engraving by Albrecht Dürer

Image courtesy of the artist


Angelce Miskov is a member of the Art Authors Society "VIZUM."

See more examples of Angelce's Dürer works in his Angelce Miskov Salon in the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art.

Learn more about the amazing Albrecht Dürer at this link to his biography and his Knight, Death and the Devil copper engraving done in 1513. And here is another biographical link with a discussion about his 1514 work Melancholia and the magic square with numbers that appears in it, highlighting Dürer's interest in combining art and mathematics. A magic square is a set of integers arranged in a square in such a way that each row, each column (and often the two diagonals as well) sum to the same number. The magic square in Melencolia bears the date it was done--1514--in the middle two squares at the bottom.

To see images of beautiful Macedonia and learn more about this new Republic of Macedonia, which was part of the former Yugoslavia, visit this nice link.

Detail of The Tax Coin by Krasimir Hristov

Click here to go to page two

2006, Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.