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Pyrography Not Only Used For Wood Burning

Updated on February 27, 2014

An Art Technique Commonly Called Wood Burning

Every time I type the word pyrography into my computer I get a spell check. The word is not even recognized. If I do a spell check I get pornography, paragraph and a few other suggestions that have nothing to do with pyrographics. The more common phrase used to name the technique of drawing with fire is wood burning. The truth is, this is really not an accurate description of the technique either. Just because the most popular use of drawing with fire is used on some sort of wooden item, there are many other ways to apply pyrographics in art.

Gourd Art

Gourds are also popular subjects used to burn a drawing or design on with a fire tool. Some absolutely amazing works of art have been fashioned from gourds. After drying certain kinds of gourds they develop an outer shell that is extremely durable. The surface has a smooth woody texture which is mostly cellulose and it takes perfect to burning.

Some artists will do a mixed media using gourds, fire drawing, carving and painting to manifest their ideas. Any one of these techniques can be used in combination to create works of art that go far beyond simple wood burning.

Different gourds that are suitable for the technique can be grown in a home garden, or purchased at a market. The Calabash Gourd is one suitable for crafting. There are a variety of this type of gourd. A popular gourd from this family is the bottle gourd. The long neck distinguishes this gourd from the many others.

Vase by pepergrass

Devil's Claw mini vase (SOLD)
Devil's Claw mini vase (SOLD) | Source

Drawing With Fire On Leather

Leather or hide is another material used for pyrographic creations. In fact it is probably one of the oldest materials used to draw on. Just to note, there are some safety measures to think about before burning on leather. Chemicals used in the tanning process can be very toxic when heated. The vapor released should not be inhaled. It is suggested not to inhale any smoke while wood burning in general. One should always work in a well ventilated area when doing pyrography.

Burning On Paper

Yes it can be done and with great accomplishment. There are special papers that can be purchased for this application but it seems that a heavy watercolor paper is appropriate to use. Check out this gallery of work on paper and you will be totally amazed at the results.

Pyrography On Re-purposed Materials

I like this idea of re-purposing materials in a creative adventure. Pyrographics is one artistic medium that lends itself very well to using up-cycled and re-cycled items. It can be used to decorate furniture, musical instruments, old picture frames, cutting boards and a long list of things too huge to render here.

Next time you want to do something a little different with your art, why not give the fire drawing a go? Reach for something other than wood and experience the art of drawing with fire. Many pyro-artists burn on the vast assortment of paper products which are highly flameable. Personally I would leave those surfaces for a more experienced time. I think it would be wise to feel quite masterful at this art form before giving paper products a go.


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    • profile image

      Mark 2 years ago

      Fabulous pairing of what she is oferfed and how she responds, as if there is no breath between nature's gesture and the artist's response. There's no hesitation between the infinite and spontaneous and the immediate vitality of her interpretation. Made with so much time and effort, you can yet see that all her time is spent in love. An inspiration to us all to see past the obvious (an oddly shaped gourd) and feel the divine laughing and calling us to the dance. Thank you Susan!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Fascinating hub about something I've often wondered about. You provide some good ideas and inspiration for repurposing. I'd love to try it on gourds.

    • brandytanner profile image

      brandytanner 6 years ago from New Hampshire

      What a detailed hub. I enjoyed reading this.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      This is fascinating truly fascinating. Thank you for your splendid and detailed hub.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Thanks for this interesting hub! I have a simple "wood burning" tool with only a single, non-interchangable tip. Your hub made me realize I could probably also use it for the 'antiqued/burned-edge' effect on parchment paper, instead of the real burning I have done in the past, using actual matches, and having to very quickly extinguish the flame.

      Using the pyrography tool would certainly seem to be much safer!

      (And btw-- in my spell-checker in MS Word, you can ADD words to the dictionary, solving that problem for you.)