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How I Got Started As A Pyrographic Maniac
Boards and plywood are easy to find or purchase and they make excellent surfaces to create an unlimited variety of artwork. When I first started woodburning this was the only materials I used. The first couple of years I worked strictly with old, found boards, I call weathered wood.
My first burning pen was not a pyrographic tool at all. I found an old soldering pen in the shed where I was renting. The tool had been abandoned in a box. I decided to plug it in one day, to see if it worked. To test the heating element, I applied the tip to the bench surface to see if it was burning hot. That made a mark and (my inner child) soon had burned my name into the bench top. Next thing I knew I was hunting for something I could burn on. I wanted to take my new find into the garage and sit down to continue experimenting.
There was a woodpile in the back yard where we stored wood for the stove in our garage. I gathered a few pieces of old boards from the pile to carry to our garage. I had set up a makeshift art studio there. I could work in this area without dragging my paint and other messy projects into the living quarters. That fall and winter I created most of my christmas gifts with the soldering pen and wood from the pile. I used any and every board I could find. I even asked permission from some of my neighbors to dig in there woodpiles. I was living in a small town where many of the residents had woodstoves and therefore, woodpiles.
My passion for woodburning was sparked by a fluke and to this day I feel that it was a divine intervention. Those experiments cost only the time I had to invest which was perfect for my situation, as a college student. It was not long before I had friends and family requesting all sorts of work for me to make for them. I gave a lot of it away but I also started selling some of the things I created. That was a good thing because after a few months the soldering iron was fried and I was forced to spend $10 on a real woodburning pen.
This was back in the early 70's (before the home computer evolved) so I do not have photos of those works. I did find one of my first pieces in my Mother's Christmas decorations a couple of years ago. I intend to go back and photograph the pieces I know are still in existence. I have family and friends from that era who have my artwork displayed. Those pieces are signed and dated and I am very thankful for that. A teacher from highschool insisted we put our mark on all of our work and I urge all of you to do the same. The memories triggered when you view artwork that you produced in years past, are worth the effort of signing and dating everything you do.