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by Kathleen Menéndez


Pyrography News From Around the World

Morning in Shenzhen
by Ken Li, 1999
Shenzhen, PR China

Pyrograph on wood panel,
5.5 by 10.5 cm

The modern city of Shenzhen in the Peoples Republic of China where Ken Li now lives is located just a short distance from Hong Kong.

Also along the eastern coast of China, though much farther north and somewhat inland, is the ancient capital city of Beijing from where--thanks to Ken--the first ever invitation has been extended to the International Association of Pyrographic Artists (IAPA) to participate as a group in the China International Art Expo 1999 to take place there this September.

Our IAPA participation in this important event is a valuable credential for the recognition and acceptance of pyrographic work worldwide. Sponsorship is the key to the success of this effort, and the call is out for any and all who can help in achieving this goal to come forward.

Your own participation is your unique opportunity to be an important part of a larger effort. At the same time, keep in mind this is a juried show and your acceptance would be, in itself, a major accomplishment. Your art work in such a show is a significant credential for you in your future artistic endeavors.

Guilin Scene, by Ken Li, PR China
Pyrograph on small basswood panel

Lucy McCord's Folkloric Americana

Last month's featured artist in the E-Gallery of the E-Museum is New Englander Lucy McCord, whose distinctive style of pyroart suggests the rustic and focuses on scenes and portraits that typify the many places and peoples that make the fabric of The United States of America the cherished quilt that it is today for Americans.

Realizing that her customers wanted her pieces framed, Lucy hit upon the idea of incorporating the frame into the art work--in this way, she not only gives her clients the benefit of a frame, but, at the same time, creates just the right look to enhance the subject matter and her unique style--ready to hang on the wall.

by Lucy McCord, 1998

Pyrography on pine wood panel;
pyroengraved frame;
7 in. by 7 in.

E-Gallery Shows

It has often been suggested that, apart from the salons, I give individual artists a special showing in the E-Museum E-Gallery by mounting temporary exhibits that highlight the work of an individual artist. At present, the only special feature I have been able to provide to various artists on an individual basis is a single picture of their work, displayed temporarily on the Directory page E-Gallery listing for a month or so (with small bio and appropriate links) after which time the work of another artist is substituted, and so on. Let me assure everyone who has inquired and all who read this that I would like nothing better, and that displaying a more elaborate exhibit has always been a goal (see the floor plan of the E-Museum on the entrance homepage); however, time and webspace are limiting factors. It even seems possible to remedy the latter, but the former is where regrettably no solution is presently foreseen.

Pyrography on Paper: The Issues

Mixo Sydenham of Pyro Cafe Down Under fame (his very active website) is from the state of Victoria in Australia where he has been working incessantly to promote pyrography and gain acceptance for the art form in the art world itself as well as within the defined government standards through which artists can obtain both recognition and funding.


For some time, Mixo has been considering the possibility that pyrographs on paper might find greater acceptance in the art world than those on wood panels. To that end, he has begun producing some of his works on paper (such as the beautiful one following) as an alternate approach to gaining entry into a difficult market.


"Mickey Duck," A Swim in the Clear Water

by K. J. Mixo Sydenham

Pyrography on paper (2 mm thick illustrators board),
color enhanced; 2-1/2 ft wide

Mixo has a Pyro Forum on his Pyro Cafe Down Under website--an excellent place and an excellent opportunity for any pyros who so wish to express your ideas on this relevant topic.


Sue Walters, also from Victoria, Australia, had a similar idea a while back. She used to earn her living making wood items in pyrography for the tourist industry, but had more recently opted for working in pyrography on paper. Although she is presently on a leave of absence from her work, she plans to continue pursuing this new way when she returns to her art. She talks about her ideas in an article for the Australian Cultural Art Network (linked to her name here). See Sue's salon in the E-Museum for examples of her pyrographs on paper.

The Van Gogh Mystery!

In the Antique Hall of the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art is a very special exhibit recently acquired: The Vincent Van Gogh Salon, a display of two mysterious plaques thought to be pyroengraved by the great artist himself, in 1880 and 1881, at the beginning of the decade in which he produced his entire body of artistic work.

These plaques are exhibited, both front and back, to show more detail. The clues gathered so far in the research done to verify the plaques' authenticity are listed, as is the rationale for thinking that these plaques could be the real thing. Click on the link immediately above to view this wondrous find and see if you can provide more clues to solve the mystery.

More Additions to the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art

The Blacksmith's
by Antonio Vargas

Pyrography on wood panel

The pyro artwork of Antonio Vargas of Spain has recently been discovered and added to a salon in the E-Museum. His work shows strong lines and contrasts and is usually monochrome or sometimes combined with opaque white. His compositions reflect themes traditional of Spain. Look for his name in the Portraits and Paintings Hall or go directly to his salon through the link here.

Rita Ferrara of the USA has recently added one example of her pyro artwork to a salon in the E-Museum, a monochrome plaque of a pair of mallards. View her plaque in the Decorative Art Hall or directly through the link here.

Rita is best known for her multimedia decorative art work, combining pyrography, color, incising, and chip carving. Her work was featured in the WWWoodc@rver E-Zine in an article on Chip Carving with Pyrography by Jeff Fleisher.

A striking, bold style of pyrography on leather (Brandmalerei auf Leder) is the specialty of Klaus Szenczer of Germany whose distinctive work--primarily portraiture--is another new exhibit in the E-Museum. Klaus's work is particularly suitable for commercial decoration.

Return for a visit to IAPA charter member Andrew Talley's salon in the Portraits and Paintings Hall of the E-Museum to see his latest pyrowork--his first portrait, a worthy effort entitled The Glance.

More antiques are turning up all the time in the Antique Hall at the E-Museum, so check back often to see what new discoveries are on display. One of the latest is the unusual piece below, also a bit of a mystery. Anyone with additional information, please get in touch with this writer. This charming set was bought at Macy's (New York City) about 1920. It appears to be hand decorated--note that the cherry motif varies from piece to piece.

Table Tennis Set
by unknown artist, circa 1920

Pyroengraving on wood box and table tennis set

From the private collection of Suzanne Luftig
Digital image courtesy of the owner

The very first exhibit in the Special Hall of the E-Museum is from wildlife artist Marie Heerkens of the USA whose unusual canvas for her pyroart is mushrooms! View examples of her unique work and learn more about her pyroart and other related interests.

Rodger Letkeman of Canada is not a newcomer to the E-Museum; however, his latest work, done over a period of many months, has recently arrived and is definitely worth a return visit. The subject matter is a Huli Tribesman of New Guinea in full ceremonial headdress (including fur and feathers)--breathtaking!

The Last Supper
(After the Leonardo da Vinci mural in Italy)

by Dino Muradian, 1999

Pyrography on wood panel

Speaking of breathtaking.... After many months of work, Romanian Dino Muradian has at last completed his own version of the Last Supper after the Leonardo da Vinci mural. Dino poses here next to the large wood panel with his commissioned pyrowork to give you an idea of the impressive size. Click on Dino's name to link to images of some of the exquisite details that went into this monumental pyrograph. No wonder Dino is known as the PyRomanian.

Harp Corrigan of the USA now has his first piece on display in the Decorative Art Hall of the E-Museum. As you may know, Harp was featured in the March 1999 issue of the WWWoodc@rver E-Zine, in an article on Pyrography Decorating Musical Instruments. The piece he submitted for the E-Museum is not one of his musical instruments--I'll let you be surprised.

Special note to the Northern Virginia Carvers: Roll out the red carpet for Harp and his wife Lin who are planning a vacation to Washington, DC in May and have been invited to our May 17th meeting on Monday night and our carving center that following Thursday..

A Book Signing for the New Book


See the latest on Jim Widess' and Ginger Summit's new book Making Gourd Musical Instruments available for sale this month. Do you live in or near Berkeley, California? There will be a special book signing on May 16th at the Caning Shop to welcome in this latest publication (and its accompanying CD!).

(This is the book you read about in the recent E-Zine article Pyrography Decorating Musical Instruments.)

More on IAPA Meetings On Line

IAPA is gearing up to organize and act. IAPA members have been meeting informally on line for over a year now. Mixo has proposed a more formal meeting agenda and ideas are in the works to make meeting on line more successful and IAPA more workable as an organization--complete with board of directors. What has heretofore been the Café Flambé listing on the Directory page of the E-Museum will now be a link from there instead; that is, The Café Flambé, which hosts the IAPA meetings, will now have its own room in the E-Museum for more communication within IAPA, including a proposed Meeting Agenda thanks to Mixo Sydenham (an IAPA logo, too--thanks from all of us, Mixo!).

Mixo and I both agreed that we should establish a fixed schedule for meetings to make them easier for you to plan. Mixo has proposed fortnightly meetings. To that proposal, I would suggest the second and fourth Saturdays of each month at 4:00 pm EDT (2200 GMT). I would further propose that the second Saturday would be an 'issues' meeting and the fourth Saturday a 'chat' meeting. We could be more disciplined in the one in order to set and accomplish goals, take votes, etc. In the other, the forum could be much more open allowing us to exchange ideas, projects, techniques, and get to know one another. There you go. I've tossed out the first topic of discussion. Let the comments come and please send them to Mixo's Pyro Forum to tally and collect for the next meeting! (The Pyro Forum will also be linked from the Café Flambé.)

China beckons! Your invitation to the China International Art Expo 1999 is waiting for you, thanks to IAPA member Ken Li. Read about Ken and the story of the China Int'l Art Expo in the WWWoodc@rver E-Zine article Chinese Fire Works.

It has now been officially announced that the China International Art Expo 1999 will take place in September. Check back often to the bulletin board in the E-Museum for new information and updates as they become available.

Your participation does not mean you need travel to China, although what an exciting trip that would be! Please contact this writer by e-mail if you would like to learn about other levels of participation. You can also contact IAPA charter member Mixo Sydenham who is organizing the Australian contingent. And, of course, Ken Li, our IAPA liaison in China, would love to answer your questions on China and this expo.

Young Woman of the Miao Nationality of China
by Ken Li
Shenzhen, PR China

Pyrography on wood panel, 10 by 15 cm.

The Author

Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez learned her pyrography techniques in Guatemala in 1975-1977. 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 third year of articles on pyrography for the WWWoodc@rver E-Zine, started January 1997, and the second year of the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art, which opened January 1998. In March of that year, IAPA was formed and members began meeting on line.


©1999 Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.