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by Kathleen Menéndez

Pyrography News From Around the World

Newsletter No. 13, Page Two of Three

Far and Near


Page One:
Tayseer Barakat

Page Two:
Introducing Dan Allnutt and Fran Rehn
Book Review: How to Woodburn Wildlife: A Burning Class in a Book by O. W. Davis
Christian Maraschin, Decorative Artist

Page Three:
The Tagua Craze Continues! A Gallery of Tagua Works by IAPA Members
Update on the Corroboree--It's Sporting a Plinth!

Introducing Three New IAPA Members

Dan Allnutt--Western Themes

Dan Allnutt Woodburning

Image courtesy of the artist

Dan Allnutt tells how he got started in pyrography: "I am a self-taught "artist". I received a woodburning iron when I was just a young boy living on a ranch in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Nine years ago, while shopping at Tandy Leather, I noticed a basic woodburning iron just like the one I had as a child--I couldn't pass it up, and I started practicing on wood scraps."

Dan's Style. "Over the years, rather than take instruction, I wanted to "discover" my own style. The theme of my woodburnings centers around the old west of the late1800's, and I would hope my rustic woodburnings would appear, themselves, to have been done around that same period.

Imagine a cowboy, sitting in his bunkhouse with just the simplest of woodburning irons, and some old pine boards as his medium to reflect the world around him--this is what I hope to communicate with my woodburnings."

The Crystal Lake Mill
by Dan Allnutt

Pyrography on pine wood, 17.25 in. by 23.6 in. (framed)

Image courtesy of the artist

Covered Wagon
by Dan Allnutt

Pyrography on pine wood, 12.5 in. by 15.25 in. (framed)

Image courtesy of the artist

Dan's Website. See more of Dan's work on his brother Frank's website. Look for Western Art.

About joining IAPA, Dan says, "I look forward to meeting others who share the same love of woodburning that I have found, and I also look forward to learning about wood carving as well. At some point, I would like to integrate woodburning, wood carving, and leather work in works that are in keeping with the old west theme.

Meet Fran Rehn

Fran's beginnings in pyro art. When Fran Rehn wrote me recently, I was just about bowled over with her enthusiasm when telling me her own pyro story!

Fran remembers that her pyrography career started in 1993 with birthday money and a trip to Michael's Craft Store. Little did she know the importance that trip to the craft store and purchase of a pyro pen kit would have in her life. As it turned out, not long afterwards she fell ill and found herself facing three months of disability--and (the good part) lots of unexpected time.

Happy Pooch
by Fran Rehn

Pyrography on wood plaque

Image courtesy of the artist

"Pyrography became my cure!" By the time she completed her medical treatment, Fran was on to a new career in woodburning. She "got a business license and started right in." "Since the beginning," she says, "I have 20 ribbons won in three competitions. I've burned about 300 works...and love every one!"

by Fran Rehn

Pyrography on wood plaque

Image courtesy of the artist

Her heroes and her website. From her research on the internet, Fran decided: "My goal is to produce works of the caliber of Sue Walters' and David Kreider's. My absolute favorite technique is the elusive Photo Realism. All the books I bought mentioned it, but didn't go into much detail on "how to". So, I taught myself. I know I have many years of practice ahead!"

"I have a website, http://www.rehnbeau.com, called Warm Touch Studio. She adds hopefully, "Maybe someday, people will see my site and feel as I do about Sue and David."

Barrel Race
by Fran Rehn

Pyrography on wood plaque

Image courtesy of the artist

Looking for New Opportunities in Montana. Fran's enthusiasm didn't end there, though. This is what she had to say next: "We're planning to relocate to Kalispell, Montana shortly and I can hardly wait! The exposure to wildlife, scenery, rodeos (horses in particular), and rustic, homey feeling of Montana just seems to fit pyrography to a tee! "

Fran's next comment struck me as particularly telling of her positive spirit. What is daunting to many pyro artists, Fran sees as full of opportunity. She said: "I've checked local galleries and didn't see a single pyro! And, there are lots of opportunities to do custom home decorating for some of the rich and famous who 'hide away' in Kalispell. (Tiger Woods just bought a hunk of land there!) Besides outfitting the local ski lodges with wall hangings, I could do custom kitchen cabinet decorations for residents to enjoy...eventually."

"Those are my goals anyways...self-fulfilling prophecy I hope! I'd love to entertain the thought of giving classes, too, someday."

About joining IAPA. By the time you read Fran's words about her wanting to join IAPA, like me you're going to want to hug her! "Becoming a member of the IAPA would be one of the proudest moments in my newest career. Are there patches, t-shirts, or other material available to members for advertising? So...Please consider my sincere request for membership in the IAPA. This sounds like the perfect place for me! The local woodcarvers loved me, but my stuff just didn't fit in. There were only two categories I could enter...compared to their hundred or so. The art world says my work is a craft, yet the crafters call it fine art! I feel lost! Until NOW!! There IS a place for us pyros after all!!"

Book Review

How to Woodburn Wildlife
by O. W. Davis

Book cover image: Pyrography and color on wood plaque

Taking treks through the wilderness used to be a pastime for Orchid Davis who loves wildlife. But when she left a career as a commercial artist to do nothing but carve and later pyrograph the wildlife she so loves and enjoys, she found her niche. Now when she goes hiking in the wild, she has the excuse that she is doing research for her art work! Her book How to Burn Wildlife: A Burning Class in a Book has quite a stunning cover portraying a bob cat, one which Orchid has had the privilege of seeing on her own property on more than one occasion.

This 46-page book has a number of helpful color pictures throughout and a goodly number of black-and-white ones to explain what Orchid is describing. This is not so much a step-by-step how to book as it is the lecture part of a class session with general ideas about how to approach a project, what to look for, what to think about, technical considerations, creating your own designs, and more. To illustrate points she is making in the accompanying text, Orchid's book displays certain pictures for the purpose of comparing one step and another in a project or one technique and another, or contrasting without color and then with color, or the wrong way and the right way, etc.

There is the usual amount of helpful auxiliary information about tools, tips, supplies, organizations, and schools. In addition, she dedicates a page to talking about presenting your work to best advantage when selling to maximize its profit potential. It also has patterns for the projects (small and big) that she illustrates in the book.

Orchid uses acrylic color in subtle washes in most of her work and she shows examples of pieces that are burned only and then how they look with color added. As she explains, a piece already has a lot of color before she starts painting by virtue of all the nuances of cream to tan to deep brown to velvety black that she achieves with just her burning tool. For this reason, all those who prefer burning only will also find this book helpful.

Although this book is not aimed at someone who has never touched a burning tool or a paintbrush, Orchid has more detailed pages on how to do eyes, fur, and feathers--the favorite topics and most frequently asked questions of wildlife art students. Orchid's style is one of a soft burn, which makes for that soft fur look for which she is so well known.

Orchid's book, which is available through The Caning Shop, is another fine addition to the collection at the E-Museum Bookstore exhibit.

Christian Maraschin--Decorative Artist

Knife with Moth
by Christian Maraschin

Pyroengraving on a knife handle of boxwood

Image courtesy of the artist

Welcome to Another New IAPA Member--from France!

When French pyrographic artist Christian Maraschin of Haut-Rhin began to work in this medium in 1992, he soon found it had become a passion, especially once he started experimenting with burning on some of the more challenging materials such as bone, horn, leather, and ivory. Each of these has its own particular requirements in terms of both technique and burning temperature.

Knife with Moth, detail
by Christian Maraschin

Pyroengraving on a knife handle of boxwood

Image courtesy of the artist

As far as working on wood is concerned, Christian's wood of choice is boxwood, the wood he chose for the knife handle. He describes it as "incomparable" because it offers many qualities that allow for very finely detailed pyroengraving--as evidenced here on the beautiful large moth.

Flowers in Monochrome
by Christian Maraschin

Pyroengraving of flower motif on leather, 10 by 9 cm

Image courtesy of the artist

Notice in Christian's monochrome work on leather above how he has achieved a wide range of shadows and lights. He says that it is possible to achieve subtle nuances of colors--even reds and purples--by skillfully manipulating both the pyro pen and the heat to take advantage of the leather's own tannins.

by Christian Maraschin

Pyrography on deer antler
Diameter 35 mm

Image courtesy of the artist

by Christian Maraschin

Pyrography on boxwood set in horn
Diameter 40 mm

Image courtesy of the artist

Christian's animal motifs are not meant to be strictly realistic so much as decorative. He works them on small areas (of about one and a half inches) like the ones shown above on exotic materials destined to become articles like bolo ties and belt buckles. The hound is burned on polished antler while the deer motif is burned on boxwood set in an irregular ring of polished horn. Detailists will appreciate just the right border on it, which adds the final touch for a very unusual and handsome piece.

Below you will see the artist and his display table at an exhibition. Notice the antlers and the variety of other items of interest there plus some pyroengraved letters at the front--they make the French word PYROGRAVURE, which you will see when you link to his website. Although distinctly pyrographic, his floral works on both wood and leather are reminiscent of motifs used to decorate porcelain.

The Artist at an Exhibition of His Work

Image courtesy of the artist

The Artist as Collector

In addition to his own work, Christian has acquired a very carefully chosen collection of old and antique works. Viewing it in his second gallery is one more reason to visit his website PYROGRAVURE.

by Christian Maraschin

Pyroengraved tinted flower motif on English Sycamore

Image courtesy of the artist

Working with color. Christian accomplished the subtle translucent colors on the above piece by using tinted satin finishes containing small amounts of pigments.

More examples of Christian's work are on display in his E-Museum Salon. As you will see, his own goals parallel those stated at the entrance to the E-Museum.

Christian's Website and Project

Although still in its beginnings, Christian Maraschin's PYROGRAVURE website has obviously been prepared with both great care and vision. Not only has he given it a very sophisticated presentation, he is constructing it in three languages--French, English, and German--to open it to more visitors. His vision for it is his desire to research and document the medium and display work by other artists who want to participate in his project. Like almost every pyrographic artist we have encountered thus far, Christian has found little documentation on this art form in his own country. He invites you to help him change that.

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2001, Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.