Woodcarver Ezine
Back Issues
Carvers' Companion Gateway


by Kathleen Menéndez

Pyrography News From Around the World

Newsletter No. 3

These scary images chosen in the spirit of Halloween represent only a portion of the varied subject matter of multimedia artist Dawn Wasson, a member of the Woodcarver Mailing List as well as IAPA, who has a good selection of frogs, lizards, turtles, and snakes on her new website along with some of the more usual renderings of felines and horses there, too.

Mexican Red Leg Tarantula
by Dawn Wasson, 1999

Pyrograph on pine box with exotic wood veneer
8 in. by 5.5 in. by 2 in.


On how she got started in pyrography, Dawn says, "My interest in pyrography came about from my interest in nature. (This medium)... allows artistic expression with detail and texture that is unique. I use wood because it adds a natural feel to my work."

Dawn likes the three-dimensional effects pyrography offers. She is interested in pursuing depth and texture still further by combining her work with relief carving as she has in the dramatic example here of the viper.

Temple Pit Viper by Dawn Wasson, 1999
Pyrograph on relief-carved basswood plaque,
13 in. by 11 in. by .75 in.

Dawn and her husband's Follow Your Dreams enterprise is now in its second year. They attend mostly reptile and exotic animal shows in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Midwest regions, and are planning on expanding to include shows on the West Coast in the near future. Because of the positive response to her work Dawn has enjoyed so far, her husband recently designed a very professional and attractive website as an added feature to their business.

Ghost Horse
by Dawn Wasson, 1999

Pyrography on basswood plaque,
11 in. by 9.5 in. by .75 in.


Xia Fu Yong

Generation After Generation
by Xia Fu Yong, 1999

Pyrography on wood panel

Abstract work such as that of artist Xia Fu Yong, shown here with one of his works as background, is much less known in countries like his native China where traditional work goes back thousands of years. Xia Fu Yong (his name is written here in the Chinese way, that is, family name first followed by his two given names) is from Xuzhou in the province of Jiangsu, which is about midway between Beijing and Shanghai in northeastern China. He was discovered by IAPA member Ken Li when he arrived in Ken's city of Shenzhen (in southeastern China right near Hong Kong) to show 35 of his pyroworks.

From Fu Yong's own brochure, the following is part of what Ken was able to translate and I was able to interpret: A man in his early thirties, Xia Fu Yong, who was born in the county of Suining in the same province of Jiangsu where he now lives, has loved drawing since he was very young. He began his art career by devoting himself to the study of traditional folk art, for which he once traveled the famed Silk Road.

In 1989, he began to pursue a strong personal impulse to objectively seek out the mysterious internal force of his subjects and express their harmony and "real face." His vision is to excavate, as the spirit strikes him, those eternal elements of his subjects at their most basic level thereby granting them a continuance of their existence by creating for them a new life expressed through his "fire pen." Xia Fu Yong's works are in the collections of connoisseurs in China and abroad.

When Ken met with Xia Fu Yong that weekend of Fu Yong's visit to show his work in Shenzhen, he remarked at how confident that handsome young man seemed, how proud of his art and passionate about his work. Fu Yong told Ken that foreigners appreciated his abstract work. He confided in Ken that he enjoyed how quickly he could work in the abstract style--one or two pieces in a day. He works with an electric soldering iron type tool with almost no modification of the tip. He doesn't require any preliminary drafts--he has the entire vision of a work in his head and the finished piece comes out looking just like the image in his mind.

Continuance of Existence,
number 6 in a series of 6

by Xia Fu Yong, 1999
Pyrograph on wood panel

Jeff Valure's Ferret Dulcimer

Have you ever thought about making a Dulcimer from a kit? Jeff Valure did just that. His main reason for making his own was so that he could custom pyroengrave it with a ferret portrait. He'll tell you his experiences and show you his work--you'll even get to see the ferret who modeled.

Mystery Corner: Old Tray

Tray from private collection in Virginia, USA

Nothing is known about the origin of this appealing tray. It appears to be factory pyrostamped with some sort of engraving plate. The design is quite finely detailed with a shallow burned line that is elaborately textured. The tray is probably old but most likely not old enough to be classified as an antique (which would be a minimum of 50 years old). It is not sturdy; therefore, it seems it was meant to be ornamental only--set on a shelf and viewed like a painting. If you have more information or ideas about this piece, please click on old tray and send an e-mail.

Decorative Pyrographic Art

Linda Hatfield's Pyro-Cartoons

Scrap Book and Stool
by Linda Hatfield, 1999

Pyrography and acrylic color decorating wooden objects

Another newly discovered pyro is Linda Hatfield whose decorative pyro-cartoon work brings a chuckle to her public and the medium. Linda sells her work to galleries in Omaha, Nebraska, where she has been living for three years. She also sells in Kansas, Missouri, and Georgia. In addition, she is in the process of working with a commercial website specializing in local art and music to promote her work there.

When three images of Linda's pyro pieces arrived, I had to write back and tell her how much they had delighted me and brightened my day. Her reply was, "Glad to be able to brighten someone's day. As you can probably guess, that is the main purpose of my work. First to entertain me, then whoever else I can." Sure that Linda must have an interesting 'pyro' story to tell, I wasn't disappointed when she recounted that three years ago she had been working very hard as a free-lance graphic designer doing logos, brochures, and such. The pressure was getting to her, when one day she found her dad's cast-off woodburning tool and started playing with it. She began designing a "wacky, 3-legged table," burned day and night for four days--"not even a break to shower&quot!--and she was "hooked."

On her first ever pyro piece--that wacky 3-legged table, Linda used the brightly colored paint and crazy, comic-like images that have become her trademark today. Linda tells it this way, "I did that because I wasn't very good with the burner and I didn't think I could do any "serious" images. Now the cartoons are a bit better and I get such a kick out of them, they are all I want to do. I do a number of custom built mirrors--one says...."OH NO, I AM MY MOTHER!"

"I burn or paint every day now--I'm not getting rich, but I am getting happy, and that's actually better."

International Association of Pyrographic Artists (IAPA)

What could you hope to benefit from joining a group like IAPA? Read the words of new pyrographer and IAPA newcomer Barbara Cramer introducing herself and expressing her expectations.

Sleeping Kitty
by Barbara Cramer, 1999

Pyrography on wood plaque

My name is Barbara Cramer, I live in the Tampa Bay/Clearwater area of Florida. I have long been an artist/painter working in oils and acrylics. Approximately a month ago, I began doing pyrographics and find it to be a very satisfying and enjoyable art form (not to mention the sales--sold 4 pieces first week). At present, I have not established a website but do hope to accomplish that soon. I will be exhibiting my pyrographic work in two weeks. My interest and motivation in joining IAPA is to benefit from the critique possibilities, available resource information, educational aspects, and perhaps further professional development and promotion. I am looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial membership in IAPA.

Follow-Up from Last Feature

After the last issue went to press, it came to my attention that the three pieces in the lead story-- the works of Keith Seitz--arbitrarily named by me, already possessed their own (far more inventive) titles. For the record, the correct titles of the pieces, in order, are as follows: Carnival, Dress Code, and Concussion. By the way, all three pieces were sold at Keith's recent show.

Do you remember from the last issue the story about the auction price for the Benjamín Cañas painting? At that time, I did not know which painting it was that had sold. I have since learned that the painting in question is one that is already on display in the E-Museum entitled Bacchanal, an oil on wood panel.

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, 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 E-Group mailing list, member list, and chat forum.

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