WWWoodcarver E-Zine, Pyrography News, No. 5

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by Kathleen Menéndez

Pyrography News From Around the World

Newsletter No. 5

Mixo Sydenham Organizes International PyroBANK

In an ongoing effort to bring pyrography to the general public and the art world, Mixo Sydenham has transformed his original Pyro Café Down Under into an interactive project called PyroBANK. Mixo's on-line PyroBank is a database of Australian and international pyroart, while simultaneously his real world PyroBank will serve as an Art Vault for the sale and lease of those same works. He is launching this initiative there in Australia by displaying the real pieces at the Inaugural Victorian Pyrography Exposition in Warragul, Victoria, opening the 26th of March 2000.

Hi! My name is Nagual and I'm on my way to Australia!

I'm going to be in a show and meet new friends. I hope I'll see you there!

by Burnt Offerings Studio
Linda and Opie O'Brien

Gourd guiro musical instrument sculpture
Gourd decorated in mixed media,
including pyroengraving

Click here on the PyroBank link to get more complete information on this project and e-mail Mixo right away to find out how you can participate in this exciting new endeavor aimed at assisting you in placing and selling your work in a global market. Act quickly if you want to take advantage of the inaugural exposition.

Sue Walters Returns to the Art Scene

After a two-year sabbatical, Sue Walters from the State of Victoria in Australia, is back and more dedicated than ever to her work in pyrography. Thanks to the internet, she never really left, however. In fact, in the last two years she has been refocusing her plans and meeting other pyrographers around the globe, and now she is ready to take on the world. During that period 'away', she even wrote an article for the Australian Cultural Network on how she made the transition from burning on wood to burning on paper. Towards the end of her sabbatical, Sue made a pyro study trip from Australia to Canada and since her return has displayed her new inventory on an internet photo site as she prepares to embark on her second pyro career.

Sue writes, "I started doing pyrography as a hobby back in 1988 after my Mum bought me a set-temperature pen as a gift. I was working as a horticulturist in Melbourne, Australia at the time and kept excitedly experimenting with that pen off and on for a few years before upgrading to a variable temperature burner, which I found less limiting."

Cat on a Chair
by Sue Walters

Pyrography on rag paper

"I enjoyed it so much," Sue recounts, "that I decided to seriously pursue a career in pyrography (after returning from a lengthy extended camping trip around Australia), beginning by working up an inventory for sale at markets (fairs) and by doing commission work for customers. I then began to design and make burnt wood souvenir products for the Victorian tourist industry, which did prove very successful but didn't exactly feed the creative juices. So, during that time, I also began working and experimenting with the finer applications of pyrography on wood and turned my attention to the possibilities of burning on artist's paper, as well."

Man's Shoulders
by Sue Walters

Pyrography on pine wood

"My business flourished until two years ago," Sue writes, "when I had to unfortunately give it up to become a full time carer for a sick relative. But, as they say, 'every cloud has a silver lining,' and I spent what time I could refining my work on wood and paper."

Nesting Birds
by Sue Walters

Pyrography on rag paper

"I am now at the point where I can once again resume my career as an artist," Sue continues, "but have become so thrilled at producing fine art pyrography, that I am now dedicated to not only continuing this, but to also helping establish its worthiness as a wonderful art/craft medium and to expanding its known boundaries. Its unique qualities of richness, earthiness, and antique feel continue to capture me as they did from the very beginning."

"A recent trip to Canada," Sue concludes, "has given me the wonderful opportunity to see first hand the exciting woodcarving of the North Americans, and has further sparked a desire in me to push my woodburning further forward than ever before, particularly in the field of wildlife. With this, I plan to actively expand my work on paper and continue to pursue all the challenges that [working on paper] has to offer."

Sid Huttner's Lucile Project

Sid Huttner, Head of Special Collections, The University of Iowa Libraries, intrigued by the immense popularity of a 19th century literary work Lucile, launched The LUCILE Project, which is a quest to locate and acquire at least one good example of each publication of that book.

Written by Owen Meredith and first published in Great Britain in 1860, Lucile, according to Sid Huttner, is a romance in not very well rhymed iambic pentameter couplets. The melodramatic plot is rendered in a convoluted style that would be almost unreadable by today's standards, according to Sid Huttner; nevertheless, Lucile was published in the United States in more than a thousand variations, including many very elaborate bindings, in the 78 years between 1860 and 1938, after which 'she' abruptly disappeared.

Sid Huttner's interest in Lucile, therefore, is not in 'her' literary value, but rather in the unlikely phenomenon itself of 'her' immense yet seemingly unwarranted popularity and because this work, published with such proliferation and in such an enormous variety of presentations (apparently because it happened to be in the right place at the right time), encapsulates 19th century publication. The E-Museum's interest follows Sid Huttner's yet more narrowly, i.e., those publications of Lucile that were bound in leather and decorated with pyroengraving.

Book written by Owen Meredith

Pyroengraved split suede book cover
from the H. M. Caldwell Co. edition

In addition to The LUCILE Project webpage linked here, a list of Sid Huttner's URLs for pyrographic-specific editions of Lucile can be found in the E-Museum Antique Hall along with other examples of Lucile pyroengraved covers. The cover shown here can be found on the H. M. Caldwell Co. page of Sid Huttner's website.

Harp Corrigan's Project Is Underway

Announced in the last issue, Robert "Harp" Corrigan's on-line project to build a Celtic lap harp is already well along. All the steps completed so far are posted on his website and you can still follow the entire process by linking here to his East-Wood Products Studio website.

Bob Boyer Announces a Pyrography Museum and Art Gallery

In a recent e-mail to the International Association of Pyrographic Artists (IAPA) mailing list, Bob Boyer of Leisure Time Products, Inc. (the Detail Master pyro tool and the book The Amazing Art of Pyrography), in River Grove, Illinois announced the recent opening of his Pyrography Museum, located at 971 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling, Illinois, 60090, U.S.A. The new museum, dedicated to pyrographic art work and old pyrographic equipment, is one room in his new fine art gallery called Artistic Expressions, Ltd., and admission is free.

Included in the collection of old pyrographic equipment housed in the new museum is the first set built by the late great pyrographic artist Cyril Brown of Birmingham, England, U.K., who, Bob says, was one of the first pyrographers to build an electric temperature-controlled unit with a wire-tipped pen. The collection of pyrographic units also includes some obsolete models of more recent vintage. If you have an old pyrographic tool you would like to donate to his museum, Bob says he will put it on display with full accreditation.

Pyrographic art work already on display in the museum includes realistic bird and animal carvings, as well as burning on wood panels, paper, plastic, gourds, tree fungus, leather, and buckskin. Bob adds that some of the work is from pyrographers who would like to sell their work. If you are interested in displaying or selling your work in the new museum, Bob asks that you please send a photo of the work beforehand so that it can be juried for acceptance. He says that because of the large response he is already receiving from the message sent to the IAPA group on line, he may decide to limit the number of pieces to two per pyrographer. He notes that, for those who wish to sell their work, the museum will not take any commission from the artists' asking price but will rather add that same amount over and above it to help support the museum. For that reason it is best, he advises, to be realistic about the price.

Bob also announced his new museum and art gallery in the January-February 2000 issue of Chip Chats magazine, in his feature column there. You can e-mail Bob Boyer by clicking here on his name.

Mystery Corner: The Pyramid Box

by Carlos Espinosa Vega

Quadrangular-pyramid cabinet shaped from cedar wood and leather, incrusted with leather and gold stamped by using pyrogravure techniques

Journalist Rafael Bernardo's feature column on the Habanos Millennium Party, linked here, is by his own account "a fun story for...[his]...readers, especially cigar lovers and woodworkers, Cubans, etc." We pyrographers are included in that "etc." At any rate, the fact is that the pyramid in pyrogravure and its special contents went at auction for US$130,000. Click on the link to discover the secret of this unique cabinet and its hidden treasure.

Kids Corner: A Woodburning Project

On the Michaels Art and Craft Store website is an easy woodburning project, linked here, that was designed by the Walnut Hollow Co. for children. The Michaels site looks like a nice one to explore. This particular project has an attractive design that would appeal to any age.

Basset Hound Pal
by Dallas Nyberg, Australia

Pyrography on leather

Here is a link to Dallas Nyberg's new website. Although a long-time exhibitor in the E-Musuem, Dallas, too, has been out of the picture for a while, but is back on the scene once more. Leatherwork has always been Dallas's expertise; he tried pyrography on it in the 1990s and found a second calling. After that, he tried burning on wood and more recently on paper and gourds, as well. Keep watching Pyrograffiti for an announcement of a new book by Dallas due to be published in the near future.

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, January 2000 marked 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.