Jennifer Ferraro calls
her images sacred faces--faces of the human and divine,
which is the name she has given to her very beautiful website linked to
her name here.
"One day I happened to see a woodburning tool at a
craft store and immediately my mind was
(Heart of) Original
"I knew that it would work for my
particular style and subject matter. I began experimenting, and soon
after, I began selling my woodburnings downtown at the shop where I
worked. I was surprised at the response. Sometimes I was able to work
on woodburning in the store and people could come in and watch, which
"I have met many santeros here, and without fail, they have responded strongly to my work."
by Jennifer Ferraro, 1999
"Overall," Jennifer feels, "Santa Fe is a great town to be an artist, in any medium. It is probably the best major art market for cross-over between traditional handicrafts and fine art. The Native American and Spanish colonial arts are very present, and attract people from all over the world. For what I am doing with woodburning, I think this is the best place I could be. The cultural diversity and art awareness make it easy to find or create a niche." Jennifer has been working and selling her pyrographed icons in various venues; however, she has yet to try and break into what she calls the high-end galleries.
Classical Style of India
Jennifer is still exploring and
experimenting. One of her latest experiments is the classical style
work above drawing inspiration from Indian art. Other new works have
gone into the Jennifer
Ferraro Salon in the E-Museum, linked here. In future works,
she is planning on working on larger pieces and incorporating
carved/engraved frames. Up until now she has been using pine or
basswood, but intends to try some plywoods and experiment with finishes.
She has been very satisfied with her professional level soldering-iron
type tool, but is just now realizing more possibilities in tools thanks
to the internet.
Jennifer tells more about her work and what motivates it on her Sacred Faces website linked here. For this interview, she summed it up this way: "I love the feel of burning into wood, the smell, the sensuous way the shading seems to melt into it, how depth and dimension miraculously appear. It is easier and more comfortable for me than drawing or painting. I love especially doing portraits this way. I feel it was 'meant to be' that I discovered this medium."
Thanks to pyro artist and IAPA European Director Richard Withers of Wales (note new website address linked here), the E-Museum has some significant reference material for those researching antique pyrographic art. In the UK, past pyrographic artists have left a rich legacy, and Richard has taken the time and made the effort not only to visit some prominent sites but to document his visits as well. There is an important collection in Birmingham, in particular, that deserves special mention, which is the Pinto Collection. Richard got permission to study all the pyrographs there (stored in drawers to avoid exposure to the light). Richard not only studied but catalogued all of those pieces, some of which are important pyro works. Some of Richard's information is already available in the E-Museum Antique Hall, linked here. For pyrographic artists and connoisseurs planning on touring the UK, this is a wonderful resource for planning an itinerary. If you wish to e-mail Richard Withers, he has a new e-mail address linked here.
Another recently discovered pyro is Carol St. Pierre who is already well known in gourd art circles. She is presently writing the National Gourd Society's newsletter. In addition to her own website linked to her name here, Carol has a very special piece on display in the E-Museum--don't miss it. Following are excerpts from her biography:
Carol St. Pierre received her fine arts degree in painting and
illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence,
In a recent e-mail to the International
Association of Pyrographic Artists (IAPA) mailing list, Robert "Harp" Corrigan
announced to IAPA members his exciting plans to build a harp on line starting now in
Harp anticipates his ambitious project will take about three months from start to finish. Although he does not have the technical capability of running a streaming video of the entire process, he plans to upload regularly scheduled images from his East-Wood Products studio with captions to explain every step of the process.
The project is a Celtic lap harp, about 3 feet tall, with a stave-back soundbox. It will be made of maple, with a spruce-ply soundboard, 22 strings (3 octaves), and a full set of Robinson sharping levers. Once he has the instrument completed, Harp says "I plan to use my pyrography to etch some Celtic designs on the soundboard."
Harp says, "I'm really excited about this project. I think it's going to be a lot of fun to do. It'll be a bit of a challenge for sure, but--hey!--that's what makes life interesting." Look for the official announcement on the main page of Harp's website linked here.
Teddy Bear with Flowers by Jaime, age 11
Flemish Art collector and decorative painter Peni Powell
wrote recently "proud as punch" to show the very first
pyrograph that her 11-year-old granddaughter Jaime had just completed.
Peni recounted that Jaime used some of her stains and watercolors to
finish it up before they varnished.
Jaime is very creative and has painted with her "since she was a little bit," Peni wrote, and added that Jaime has been working in Filmo Clay and is quite good at that, too. Jaime, who besides her gift for things artistic, is also a very good student, completed her first pyrograph in only a few hours. Peni laughingly says, "Maybe we have a new pyrographer in our midst--wouldn't that be great?" I couldn't agree more. You can write to Peni Powell and granddaughter Jaime at the e-mail linked here. Way to go, Jaime!
Spirit Wolf Reflections
You've most likely seen richly grained burl veneers on fine furniture. They are made from the wood that comes from a large, rounded outgrowth that sometimes occurs on a tree trunk or a branch. Canadian pyro artist Lynda Eaves, however, likes to either slice burl or smooth one face of a big piece of burl to create a canvas for her pyrographs of Canadian and other wildlife, especially endangered species.
Twin Wolves Lynda and her husband not too long ago
made a choice for health reasons to move from Birmingham, Alabama in the
United States to Lynda's homeland, where they have settled in a little
cabin on 35 acres of land in Arthur, Ontario.
Lynda and her husband not too long ago made a choice for health reasons to move from Birmingham, Alabama in the United States to Lynda's homeland, where they have settled in a little cabin on 35 acres of land in Arthur, Ontario.
They have bravely chosen to lead a simple life and work at things that interest them most. Ever since she turned from her portrait work to woodburning back in 1997, Lynda has focused on endangered species; however, when she got to Canada, she discovered those wonderful Canadian hardwood burls, such as yellow birch, Birds Eye maple, and B.C. red cedar, which she has so much enjoyed using for her woodburned wildlife art. Besides her Northern Lights Studio website, Lynda has other sites linked from there where her work is shown. Look for the Lynda Eaves' Salon in the E-Museum, too.
Author Bob Ferris is Now On Line
From The Dalles, Oregon, American pyrographer Bob Ferris, author of a popular how-to book on woodburning (The Art of Woodburning) that was published in 1976, has recently arrived on the internet scene and joined IAPA. After woodburning for many years, it seemed only natural that Bob would 'branch out' to bark burning, as evidenced in the handsome example displayed here.
Tree of Life
Besides doing pyrographs of western figures on wood from his days working in Hollywood films, Glen Merryman has more recently taken inspiration from the wildlife in Kodiak, Alaska where he currently lives. He now enjoys doing pyrographs not only on wood but on Bears' Bread as well, which, it turns out, is one more name for conk. Linked to his name here is his very friendly website.
Many of you are aware of the role in the E-Museum of the Café
Flambé, which is the icon for IAPA meetings and group
interaction, that is, essentially a link to the forum utilized by IAPA
for our day-to-day communication.
What is less known is the Bulletin Board in the 'basement' of the E-Museum--that part of the E-Museum set aside from the beginning as the designated place for studios and classes. The Bulletin Board was up and running some time ago; however, it is about to be assigned some new importance.
IAPA Secretary Fred Barnett has generously agreed to take on the important task of gathering data on classes, instructors, and shows where our members are showing their work, to post to the E-Museum Bulletin Board. He will maintain a current listing as a resource for all the members to make known classes they have heard of or are teaching, and shows where their work is on display. If you have information you would like posted there, please e-mail Fred and let him know.
It's been a great few years for pyros. Many friendships have been
forged around the world. That's a pretty exciting end to this century,
which holds such great promise of good things for the beginning of the
new one. Although science and technology have made the internet
possible, and although the internet is the medium that has made the
difference for all of us by allowing us to find each other and share our
passion for this particular art form, we always know that, in the end,
arts are what make the world go 'round and that our work, like that of
so many other artists in the visual, audial, and performing arts, is
what crosses all boundaries and reaches out to all in the most direct
and most human and spiritual of ways.
There was so much to 'show and tell' for this newsletter that I ultimately had to forego elaborating on many things, such as Nicole Manzo's new and first website, Bob Morris's recent efforts at pyrography on paper now displayed on his website, Fred Barnett's new astronomical pyrographs newly on his website, Sue Walter's trip from Australia to Canada and her new work on a photo site as she embarks on her second pyro career, and many newcomers to the IAPA members list in the last few months.
There are also quite a few more stories to tell discovered by the E-Museum's research department, but not enough time and space for all of it to be told for the time being. The research department is already working on still another famous artist's work for display in the E-Museum. There are more projects in mind for IAPA, too, but it is still premature to elaborate. It will all have to wait for other issues.
As you read this, it will be January 2000. Let's all look forward, "minds and spirits ablaze with the possibilities," (to use Jennifer Ferraro's words) of making the New Year-Century-Millennium wonderful. May every blessing be yours now and always.
The AuthorKathleen 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, January 2000 marks the beginning of the fourth year of articles on pyrography for the WWWoodc@rver E-Zine, started January 1997, and the third 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.
© 2000 Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.