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by Kathleen Menéndez

Pyrography News From Around the World

Newsletter No. 20, Page Three of Three


Page One:
- Salvatore Polistena's Nostalgic Imagery

Page Two:
- Gabriela Lezcano and Alejandro Veneziani: Working as a Team

Page Three:
- Wonderland Puzzle
- Special Recognition for José Pelegrina in Puerto Rico
- Abby Levine and the Big Bend Area of Texas
- George Anderson's Art Education Project
- Abdulwahab Mihoub Exhibits in Algeria
- David Wickenden Completes Portrait of the Prime Minister
- Tayseer Barakat's Ziryab Cafe
- Sue Walters On the Go!
- Dino Muradian's Adoration of the Shepherds

Wonderland Puzzle

White Rabbit,
Alice in Wonderland Puzzle

by Charles Sloane, England

Pyroengraving on handmade wooden jigsaw puzzle
Approximately 36 cms. by 28 cms., 169 hand-cut, medium-sized pieces

Special Recognition for José Pelegrina in Puerto Rico

José Pelegrina Being Presented with a Serigraph
at the Compañía de Fomento Económico de Puerto Rico

Image courtesy of the artist

Congratulations to José Pelegrina!

On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Office for the Development of Arts and Crafts, which took place at the Compañía de Fomento Económico de Puerto Rico, José Pelegrina was presented with a serigraph portrait of himself. He was one of four to be honored in this year's series of posters, which are awarded annually to four distinguished Master Crafstmen of Puerto Rico.

In the Kitchen
by José Pelegrina

Pyrography on wood

Image courtesy of the artist

Above is a recent work by José, whose story and work were featured in last July's issue of Pyrograffiti here in WOM and in the José Pelegrina Salon in the E-Museum.

Abby Levine and the Big Bend Area of Texas

Afghan Poppy
by Abby Levine

Pyrography and color on wood cutouts

Image courtesy of the artist

Artists Are Drawn to Big Bend

>From Marathon, Texas, multi-media artist Abby Levine recently wrote with an update following her Pyrograffiti segment The Folk Art of Abby Levine, featured in the May-June 2002 issue of WOM. That article lead with Abby's big colorful wood postcard Greetings from Big Bend Country. That piece was chosen as the promotional image for an annual event in Alpine, Texas called "Gallery Night" and was used on all of the cards, t-shirts, and posters advertising that event.

Shown above is a piece from Abby's latest works, obviously motivated by recent historic events (like another of her pieces entitled Homeland Security) that were exhibited at the Terlingua House Projects gallery in Alpine, which is about 80 miles north of Big Bend.

It seems the art world is really taking notice of the Big Bend area as well as of Abby's town of Marathon (and Abby!). An enjoyable article in The Dallas News The Big Bend area has become a mecca for artists tells the story of this area of the American west that is even getting the attention of the well established Santa Fe art world.

George Anderson's Art Education Project

Portrait of
The Secretary-General of the United Nations
Kofi A. Annan

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
by George Anderson, 2002

Pyrography on wood

Image courtesy of the artist

A Class Project

George Anderson of Ghana is a student in art education at the University of Education of Winneba. Readers may well remember his brother Samuel Anderson from the July-August 2000 issue of WOM, who, George says, "is regarded as one of the best pyrographic artists in the country."

For a final project in one intensive 8-week course, George chose to research for his long essay the topic: "Identification of Modern Tools and Materials for Pyrography." To accomplish his assignment, he selected pyro artists at the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art, and sent them each a questionnaire to learn their views on pyrography and how they worked in this little known medium.

According to George, pyrography as fine art is not common in Ghana and unfamiliar even to his professors who are exposed to many kinds of art works. In Ghana as in Mali, pyrographic work has been mostly traditional decorative art used to embellish gourds and drums. Fortunately for George, because people are finally now beginning to take notice of pyrography as a fine art medium in Ghana, his topic was welcomed when he chose it.

As the practical aspect of his project, George did two portraits of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan: one rendered in pyrography and color on watercolor paper and the other (shown above) in monochrome pyrography on wood.

Abdulwahab Mihoub Exhibits in Algeria

Nomad Family, detail
by Abdulwahab Mihoub

Image courtesy of the artist

Tracée au feu, l'anthologie saharienne de Abdelouahab Mihoub

(Drawn with fire, Abdulwahab Mihoub's Anthology of the Sahara)

In last May's issue of WOM, in the Pyrograffiti feature entitled Folk Art Interpretations, Abdulwahab "Houba" Mihoub showed us his works depicting life in the Sahara and in his hometown of Touggourt. By July, Houba was showing those works in a very successful one-man show at a gallery in Algiers, the country's capital city on the Mediterranean.

While Houba is essentially introducing pyrography as an art medium in Algeria (where it is very little known compared to West Africa where it is a traditional art), he is at the same time trying to preserve--through his art--the look and traditions of his hometown Touggourt and other cities in the region.

Thanks to his exhibit, which got some excellent press coverage, not only did Houba's art get a favorable critique in the El Watan Journal, but a second part of the newspaper article (written in French) was dedicated to telling Houba's own story, promoting his mission to preserve the historic sites of Touggourt, and providing some good publicity for pyrographic art.

David Wickenden Completes Portrait of the Prime Minister

Portrait of
The Prime Minister of Canada
the Honourable Jean Chrétien

by David Wickenden, 2002

Image courtesy of the artist

An Important Commission

Back in the July 2001 issue of WOM, David Wickenden's story "Fighting Fire with Fire," was an article full of good news and the promise of more good things to come. One of those things was a commission to do a pyrographic portrait of Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Pictured above is the finished portrait and one more of David's fine accomplishments.

Fireside at the Ziryab Café

Tayseer Barakat's Ziryab Café

Two highly recommended internet sites provide an insight into Palestinian art life in general, and Tayseer Barakat's motivations and goals for his café in particular. Excerpts from an engaging article by Charmaine Seitz describe the atmosphere at Tayseer's café:

Ziryab Cafe seems a little out of place on the raucous main street of Ramallah. Quiet and softly-lit, the art gallery and restaurant is . . . one of several bohemian hang-outs that have been cropping up in what is quickly becoming the social center of the West Bank. . . . Inside Ziryab, the mood is relaxed. . . . music events [are] held every Thursday and Saturday night.

Tayseer Barakat at the Ziryab Café

"'The art,' says Barakat, 'is really the reason the café exists at all.'"

The Seitz article also covers an issue that may surprise you--and how Tayseer is working to meet the challenges. The second web site offers on line an actual Radio Interview to listen to (in English!) to make you feel that you are sitting by that cozy fireplace listening to Tayseer at the Ziryab.

Pyrographic artist Tayseer Barakat was featured in an earlier issue of WOM and his work is displayed in the E-Museum as well.

Sue Walters On The Go!

The last big wood show of the year in Australia is the Melbourne Woodshow in Sue Walters' home State of Victoria. It is an enormous show and the grand final of all of the huge state shows of Australia. It also is the one with the national woodworking championship.

As many readers know from her exuberant e-mail posted October 29th to the IAPA message board, Sue returned home from the Melbourne Woodshow with one news item after another, going from good to better to best!

In brief, she took first place in decorative woodworking and third best of show, was offered a feature article on herself and her pyrography, plus her beautiful elephant pyrograph on the cover of The Australian Woodworker magazine.

Be sure you're signed up at Sue Walter's website for her next newsletter, due out about the same time as this issue of WOM, to read all the details of her latest great success and all her latest articles.

The Adoration of the Shepherds
by Dino Muradian

Pyrography on wood
After a painting by Caravaggio

Image courtesy of the artist

Peace on Earth, Good Will to All...

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Click here to go back to page two

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 end of the sixth year of articles on pyrography for the WWWoodcarver Online Magazine (WOM), started January 1997, and the fifth year of the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art, which opened its virtual doors 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 Yahoo Groups uniting_pyrographers mailing list, member list, and chat forum set up by IAPA Co-founder Mixo Sydenham of Australia for IAPA members.

2002, Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.