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Pyrographic Art
on Musical Instruments

by Kathleen Menéndez

A medley of musical instruments
decorated in pyrography
by a chorus of talented artists

Maple Leaves

by Dumitru (Dino) Muradian

Pyrographed maple leaves cascading down a "Dusty Strings" harp

Photograph by the artist

Dumitru (Dino) Muradian is already well known in art circles, since his story and remarkable pyrographic portraiture were featured in various publications including Fine Woodworking Magazine and the premier issue of the WWWoodc@rver E-Zine.

Besides his pyrographed portraits on wood panels, Dino has for some time decorated cigar humidors and musical instruments--especially guitars--with not only portraits (his most famous is a B.B. King guitar portrait on B.B. King's own guitar, his Lucille number 17) but a wide range of other motifs such as famous paintings, nostalgia art (cigar box motifs, for example, that he puts on humidors), landscapes, flora and fauna, abstract--each interpreted by him in pyrography on wood. Some of his work is also exhibited in a cyber salon of the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art.

Burnt Offerings Studio

Burnt Offerings is a studio of pyrographic and mixed-media interpretations of primitive and ceremonial art and music from contemporary gourd artists Opie and Linda O'Brien. The couple saw their first gourd (uncleaned) at a craft show in Ohio where they moved from New York about five years ago. Opie, a musician as well as a pen-and-ink artist, thought it would make a great rattle. Linda, a pyrographic artist, thought it would be an interesting surface to burn. They were both right, and within a year, Burnt Offerings Studio became their full-time business.


By Burnt Offerings Studio
Opie and Linda O'Brien

Pyroengraved gourd drum
made from Lagenaria gourd, goat skin, bone, turquoise, beads, leather, and wood

Photograph by Studio Rossi

The O'Briens' gourds are combined with a myriad and curious assortment of Mother Nature's treasures, including wood, leather, porcupine quills, vertebrae, raffia, snakeskin, tusks, horsehair, deer toes, recycled fiber, crystals, prayer-beads, shed-antlers, bones, teeth, and/or skulls, and gemstones. The surface decoration is pyrography to which they add color by way of dyes, stains, and archival washes. The Lagenaria hardshelled gourd they use is very sturdy and they recommend caring for it as you would any fine wood to ensure their pyroengraved sculptures remain as heirlooms for the generations to come.

Gourd Spirit Rattle

By Burnt Offerings Studio
Opie and Linda O'Brien

Pyroengraved Lagenaria gourd rattle filled with stones from the banks of Lake Erie

Photograph by Studio Rossi

Music and Lyrics, Too!

Linda is an award-winning poet who writes the lyrics for Opie's original musical compositions that he records for Burnt Offerings. Opie, who has played with major bands including The Raspberries, designs the musical instruments. Some of Opie's recordings feature these same gourd sculpture instruments.

The Visitor
(front view)

By Burnt Offerings Studio
Opie and Linda O'Brien

Gourd guiro instrument as pyroengraved sculpture
The Visitor
(side/rear view)

By Burnt Offerings Studio
Opie and Linda O'Brien

With this piece, Opie won the Showtime Television Sci-Fi
Alien Art Contest

Photographs by Studio Rossi

The guiro is a type of percussion instrument played by running the guiro stick back and forth across the slotted surface (see the guiros immediately above and below). The guiro's intriguing sound is very discernible in Latin American dance music.

The Gathering

By Burnt Offerings Studio
Opie and Linda O'Brien

Pyroengraved guiro instrument as sculpture

Lagenaria gourd body, carved wood head; other details made from antler, vertebrae, beads, glass, wood, and stones

Photograph by Studio Rossi

A New Pyrography Book--With Music!

An exciting new book entitled Making Gourd Musical Instruments by Ginger Summit and Jim Widess will display, among others, work from Burnt Offerings Studio and even include their audio music samples in an accompanying compact disk. Look for the new, full-color publication and the CD in May.

Photograph and scan by The Caning Shop

Click here for conclusion
next page:

Mountain dulcimers by Harp Corrigan,
an African rattle, and
a Dino Muradian guitar

Pyrograffiti section follows
with many items of interest
and linked references

©1999 Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez

Forward to Page Two, Pyrography Decorating Musical Instruments

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