Blair Brown: Nova Scotia and Beyond
Peter Drewett: New Directions
Julia Surba: From Siberia to Berlin
Cheryl Dow's Woodburning Celebration Drawing Near
A big blurry eye is looking at you from the top of
Australian pyro artist Peter Drewett's deeply
burned Bamboo cane. He sent this picture in response
to a query on the message board of the International
Association of Pyrographic Artists (IAPA) asking
whether it was possible or advisable to burn on
Bamboo. Obviously it is, and surprisingly, you can
burn quite deeply on Bamboo, as his example shows.
Examples seen in the past had a very light burn and a
very delicate line, which suggested that Bamboo
presents a slick, hard surface on which to burn.
Peter has proven with a flare that it can be burned
very effectively even if a deep burn is
As it turns out, Peter says that he has been "making a big range of walking staffs and canes that have been very popular" of late, and these are only part of his accomplishments since he was first introduced on the pages of Pyrograffiti in January 2004, and then featured in the very next issue in his Homage to Joan Kerr remembering his mentor.
In 2006, Peter won the major gourd art prize in Australia. In addition, he taught four 5-hour seminars on pyrography in the State of New South Wales.
Jae Wilson (shown burning on a wood plaque above) is
one of Peter's students, who, even though he has prior
art training, is learning pyrography for the first
time. Peter is pleased that Jae took to the burning
The artists co-op where Peter is teaching is called "Jambama," which in the Bundjalung language of the Aborigines local to that area is the closest translation to express "creativity." The Jambama Art Shed there in Casino, N.S.W. is a venue that features the students' work for sale.
Besides the new paths his career has taken, Peter says
he is also exploring some new directions in his art
work. He has come to realize that, although while
teaching others, he relies on "tried and
true" ways of achieving a result, at the same
time he strives always to find originality in his own
Besides also having an exhibit in the Peter Drewett Salon in the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art, and a web portfolio at Absolute Arts, Peter now has his very own, very striking new web site at drewettpyrography.com/.
Vladiswar Nadishana and
Russian pyrographic artist Julia Surba and her
musically talented friend Vladiswar Nadishana have
moved themselves—and Ancient Kuzhebar with
them—to Berlin, Germany.
Julia explains that she and Vladiswar have decided to spend some time, perhaps a few years, in Berlin: "We have some projects here," she says, "which we want to develop, and we like Berlin a lot. It's a nice place to live, very green, with great museums and a lot of artists and people from everywhere. I like it here in Berlin, because there are many people from different cultures and the art and music scene is really huge. I met great people here, who became real friends. By the way, to be in Europe means more possibilities for traveling and I'm enjoying this a lot. I like to see different countries and different cultures; knowing them makes you more free in your mind, because you can see different points of view, you can see another way to live and to think."
Julia and her friend Vladiswar together with some newfound friends in Berlin have been enjoying their participation in some art & culture exhibitions. One very successful collaboration was a Christmas exhibit at the Museum of Ethnology in Berlin. It is the one pictured above for which she produced the internet address banner, which includes her Kuzhebar Design logo, as well as the logo for SoundMicrosurgery Department (Vladiswar's music studio). Although she still shares the web site at nadishana.com, since that exhibition, she has now acquired her own web site at pyrography-design.com, as well, and like the first, also designed by Vladiswar.
The large objects that Julia presented at that exhibit were her works Self-Identification, plus Karma Knot and Genealogy of Ancient Kuzhebar. (This last work is the large one you see in the center of the exhibit above, and if you visit its link and click on the picture there, you will be taken to the mythological story associated with it.) Smaller pyrography works and wooden sculptures were also part of Julia's exhibit. Her friends—the multiinstrumentalist and composer Vladiswar Nadishana of nadishana.com and percussionist David Kuckhermann of www.framedrums.de, wearing costumes Julia designed and made for the performance, graciously collaborated by offering lively concerts at her booth throughout the weekend of the exhibition.
Skateboard of Kuzhebar
New projects for Julia mean new objects and new
collaborative efforts with her friends. It is
apparent from her long list of activities and
accomplishments that, since she was first introduced
to Pyrograffiti in 2005, her life's work has been very
intense. The object pictured above was made
especially for a gallery in the Netherlands. It is
part of her traditional Kuzhebar Design repertoire and
depicts, she says, an Ancient Kuzhebarian mythological
tale of Father of the Sky and His
Daughter, but like a clock done earlier, this
one is a very contemporary application—a
The artistically versatile Julia has also collaborated by creating costumes as well as exhibitions of pyroart as backdrop for concerts given by her friends in the trio 4th Race who perform contemporary ethnic music.
On the road to her culminating exhibition of 2006 described earlier, she took part in three other art and culture festivals in Berlin in 2006: The first was 48 Stunden Neukölln (48 hours of Neukölln), the second was Spectrale '06, and the third was Querschnitt Format (Cross-Section Format).
Besides her artistic talent for pyrography, which she
has expanded to include other complementary art forms
like carving, inlay, fashion and costumes, jewelry,
henna painting, and more, Julia has other attributes
that cannot be overlooked in considering her success
in adapting to life in Germany and collaborating with
friends she has met in her work and travels. Her
command of three difficult languages (her native
Russian plus English and German) coupled with her
ability to write in their two distinct alphabets
(Cyrillic and Latin) are admirable and invaluable.
The following link is to the News on Julia's web site. It offers a delightful overview of the multi-faceted world of Julia Surba and the scope of her talents. It also highlights another collaborative project by offering an internet video that revolves around a new tuneable frame drum. She describes the video as the creative cooperation of David and Roman (of David & Roman Percussion) who made the frame drum, as well as percussionist David Kuckhermann (of WorldPercussion) who performed the background music, and finally composer of the soundtrack for the film Vladiswar Nadishana (of SoundMicrosurgery Department), who also filmed and edited Julia's pyrography process focused on that frame drum. By the way, Julia also thought to use henna to paint the tops of frame drums, another tribute to her ingenuity and talent.
New Tool. Julia can't say enough about her new pyrotool the Brennpeter Royal, the one she is shown using in the frame drum video. She says it's the best one she's ever seen and is really two tools in one: the first for background work and the second for fine details. She not only enjoys working with it much more but says that "it takes less time to produce the same volume of pyrowork with this great device."
Julia Surba Posing with
Her Totem Pole
For Julia Surba, the highlight of this past "year rich in happiness" is the work pictured with her above. She calls it Self-Identification. This "hugest ever" work of Julia's took her six months to complete. It stands 6-feet 8-inches tall and, although only barely visible behind Vladiswar in the first picture, you can see it full length by clicking on the link here.
A comprehensive and most impressive listing and
illustration of Julia's accomplishments are at this
Design, which is how she is now designating her
studio, which includes not only her core pyrography
work, but other areas of related designs in fashion,
amulets, henna painting, and more.
Julia's Surba's most recent accomplishments, including
her pyrography drum video can be found at this site:
In addition to her web pages on the nadishana.com site, Julia has now put up a web site for her works at MY SPACE: www.myspace.com/kuzhebar_design.
Julia wanted to introduce us to a new and interesting 'MY SPACE' pyro friend she has met, as well. He goes by only Peter. He is from Hungary and lives in Great Britain now. He lists his occupation as artist-designer and his company as BKS Business Solutions in Brighton, East Sussex. Linked following is his MY SPACE web address: www.myspace.com/pyrographydesign.
Link here to the specific page in the Museum of Ethnology web site about Julia Surba's event in Berlin called the "MARKT DER CONTINENTE 2006" (Continental Market 2006). And linked following is a varied and impressive list of participants for that event, including Julia, who is listed there as Kuzhebar Design. Julia and her friends participated in the Asian Continent weekend, on the 2nd of December and the 3rd of December. (Many of the web pages at the Museum of Ethnology in Berlin site have English versions (like this link with a nice picture of the museum building), but not all. The pages specific to the Continental Market 2006 and other temporary exhibitions are mostly in German.)
Julia Surba with her unique pyrography work was introduced in Pyrograffiti 34 back in May-June 2005 in the segment entitled Julia Surba: New Works from Ancient Kuzhebar
Exhibited in the Julia Surba Salon in the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art are additional examples of her traditional designs done in the spirit of Ancient Kuzhebar.
Only about two and a half months remain until the
August opening of the Woodburning Celebration at the
Cook Forest Sawmill Center for the Arts in Cooksburg,
Pennsylvania. Cheryl Dow, the hostess of this event
has information and a sign-up form at her own web site
By now, through Cheryl's feature column in Chip Chats magazine and messages on the IAPA message board and elsewhere, you all are aware that her guest artist Zengguo Qian, who does amazing portraits, is coming all the way from China for this event. In addition to Cheryl herself who will be demonstrating at her own tables, favorite artists like Don Worden and Orchid Davis will be coming, too, and there are rumors . . .
Rumor has it that Angelce Miskov of Macedonia may be there and showing his incredible technique of reproducing in pyrography the works of Albrecht Durer on matchstick panels. There was still another rumor out there—but it's no longer a rumor because it's been confirmed!—Sue Walters of Australia will be joining us there, too.
To assist Cheryl in the daunting task of organizing this event, IAPA member Danette "Dannie" Smith has prepared a Woodburning Celebration Announcement to inform pyrographic artists of the show details and call for a virtual 'show of hands' of people who hope to attend. If you are seriously considering attending this event, you will want to check back at Dannie's announcement site often for latest updates—more great artists are signing up all the time, and this is a wonderful opportunity to meet them and see their work in person.
Please, check out Dannie's Announcement linked above, and write her or me an e-mail to let us know of your plans, even if they're still tentative and you are not yet ready to finalize your official form.
I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting a special table for the International Association of Pyrographic Artists (IAPA) at the Woodburning Celebration where I am very much looking forward to meeting in person some of the hundreds of people I have met during these last ten years on the internet. IAPA members who wish to exhibit a representative work at our special table (apart from your competition entries) should contact me at this link: Kathleen Menéndez.
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 eleventh year of articles on pyrography for the Woodcarver Online Magazine (WOM), started January 1997, and the tenth year 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.