The Hüsnü Züber Living Museum of Turkey
Solarbud: "My Medium Is My Message."
Lynda Gibbs Eaves (1953–2006)
Waiting for Rain
"Solarbud" is the
nom d'artiste since 1997 for Bud Hnetka, a self-taught
Canadian artist, who lives on Thetis Island in British
Columbia, Canada. He got started in pyrography back
in the mid 1980's quite "by accident."
"I was painting a canvas outdoors," he says, "and, to do the details, I was using a 3-inch magnifier. I wasn't paying attention to the position of the sun and during a distraction by my cat Sylvester, I burned myself on the back of my right hand."
"The pain was very intense and to test the power of the sun I burnt a mark on a piece of wood. I immediately realized that I could make an image, so, I made my first solar pyro tree."
Tree Trio Plus
"It looked so good, that I made another and another. I was so intrigued by the feeling of controlling this beautiful clean energy. At the time I was living on my organic farm in Saskatchewan and I was interested in alternate energy, I was using a wind generator for electricity, I had a solar green house and a solar shower. Solar art made sense."
Three With Trees
Tool. "I use a number of different sized
lenses, from 1 inch to 4 inches in diameter. I am
searching for a very large lens (12–18 inches)
with a long focal length, so I can stand back from the
smoke and work on a big log. I had one child call me
on the air pollution!!!"
Woods. Solarbud's favorite woods are Maple and Yellow Cedar. He has also used Pine, Aspen, and Red Cedar. He notes that Fir boards have very interesting grain patterns, and says, "I often use the wood grain to compose my image."
Technique. "In the last few years I have used larger pieces and I am burning much deeper. I make as many as 50 passes with the lens over one spot. My technique is to burn, brush out the ashes with a tooth brush, lightly sand the flat surface, blow away the sawdust, and then burn again. This makes the burn up to 1 inch deep. As a result, my production level has fallen but the result is much more satisfying. These new pieces are solar carvings."
Color and Finish. Solarbud's subtle color effects are done in acrylics, applied mostly, he says, in a pointillism style. His pieces are finished with acrylic medium and then acrylic varnish.
"I had become an artist because I was unable to
persuade people of the necessity to be more
environmentally friendly. To cope with this stress I
took up art and music therapy.
Solar pyrography is very good for this because of the dark safety goggles I use, which enable me to go into a meditative state. I also discovered that, when I worked in public, I had people stop and watch or take my picture. Since they were always amazed by how much power such a small lens produced, I realized that by working in public I could turn folks on to solar energy.
When I sold a 12-inch piece for $200.00, I knew I had an artistic future."
Summer Tree Dream
"My Medium Is My Message. At first I
called it solar etching or solar burning and even
solar laser. When I discovered the word pyrography
it became solar pyrography.
For many years I didn't know of anyone else using this technique. When I started going on line I discovered Durf first and now a few more."
"Presently I live on Thetis Island, where I have
a home gallery, and during the four summer months I
commute by ferry to Chemainus where I work in public
on the street. Chemainus is the town famous for its
murals and thus has many international visitors. They
are so amazed by my work and take tons of photos and
videos. I am able to chat with them as I burn and I
get so much encouragement.
The winter months here are very cloudy so I get less burning done, but then I have plenty of time to carve and paint my pieces. One day I'll head south for the winter.
I have shown my work at art shows, craft fairs, restaurants, and in galleries locally, on SaltSpring Island, and in Saskatchewan. I think I have the largest collection of solar pyrographs in the world. I still have about 70 pieces, having made more than 100 in the last 20 years. I am looking for a prominent environmental gallery that will promote my work."
They Eat Sunbeams, Don't
They? And Moonbeams for Dessert!
"This art form is so new that very few people can
relate. If they do not observe me working, they do
not understand. Even when they see me working they
still have a difficult time understanding where the
fire comes from.
This art form is actually very old. I found a reference to burning with a lens (Wikipedia under 'history of magnifying lens') in Greek literature in 400 B.C."
Solarbud invites you to check out his blog at www.solarbud.ca.
This site also includes images of him at work doing
his solar pyrocarving and additional images of his
Solarbud's earlier monochrome solar pyrography work was introduced in Pyrograffiti back in September 1999.
See more examples of Solarbud's distinctive works in his "Solarbud" Hnetka Salon in the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art.
Expand your horizons and explore the famous Murals of Chemainus at this link.
IAPA member Danette "Dannie" Smith has
lovingly prepared a Friends' Tribute to talented
Canadian pyrographic artist and beloved teacher of
pyrographic art Lynda
Gibbs Eaves who passed away in December of 2006.
Dannie created this tribute as a place where those of
us in the pyrography community of artists could gather
to remember Lynda, as well as add our own tributes to
her. She hopes to show it to Lynda's family and
friends as a way for all of us to offer our
condolences to them and as a source of comfort to
From the Friends' Tribute site for Lynda are multiple links including to the web site for Lynda that Dannie had prepared for her earlier, to Lynda's blog, and also to her E-Museum Salon and WOM article dating from January 2000.
The AuthorKathleen M. Garvey Menéndez learned her pyrography techniques in Guatemala in 1975-1977 under Carmela Flores. Her sister, Artist Sharon H. Garvey, later joined her there to collaborate on a pyrography project designed to promote this art form in the United States by means of a didactic book and a pyrography tool made by Navarro of Mexico.
Thanks to the internet, this is the tenth anniversary of articles on pyrography for the Woodcarver Online Magazine (WOM), started January 1997, and the ninth anniversary of the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art, which opened its virtual doors January 1998. In March of that year, the International Association of Pyrographic Artists (IAPA) was formed and members began meeting on line. Linked from the E-Museum's Café Flambé, which hosts the IAPA meetings, is the Yahoo Groups uniting_pyrographers mailing list, member list, and chat forum set up for IAPA members by IAPA Cofounder Ken "Mixo" Sydenham of Warragul, Victoria, Australia.
2007, Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.