Woodburning with Style: Pyrography Lessons and Projects with a Modern Flair



This is not your grandmother’s craft. It’s Simon Easton’s brand of woodburning. Hip. Edgy. Modern. He’s transformed a classic craft into an art form that expresses contemporary style. The beautifully-photographed guide teaches readers how to draw with fire – otherwise known as the art of pyrography, or woodburning. Using a simple tool that’s a cross between a pencil and a curling iron, even new crafters can easily decorate any wooden surface. They’ll learn how to make basic marks, like wavy lines and dots, and how shading and repetition creates richly textured patterns. The author examines the methods for burning tribal and celtic designs, animal prints like zebra and leopard, as well as delicate floral and leaf motifs. Easton calls his creations “wood tattoos,” because each finished piece has a distinctive story to tell. The end result is cool – the kind of decorative items you’d be proud to display on a mantel, hang on a wall, or give as a personalised gift. Projects include instructions for making funky bangle bracelets, a beautiful wall clock and the kind of decorated plate you’d find for sale in a high-end boutique. Other projects include easy-to-make coasters and key rings, a door sign and more. Easton also inspires readers to create their own personal touch. The photos of his gorgeous work are enough to make anyone want to try their hand at this surprisingly easy craft.

Reviews

Woodburning with Style is the perfect book if you're just learning. Not only will it teach you about the equipment available, it covers decorative techniques, lettering, portraits and more, before providing a chapter of inspirational projects and photographs to really get your imagination going. - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement Magazine

It's packed full of useful tips and projects and basically everything you need to know about woodburning. Beautiful photos and a lovely writing style that will appeal to anyone!Go buy!!!! - Ruth Cunliffe, Crafter and Editor of Tip Top Toppers.blogspot.com

Woodburning with Style is beautiful in its own right and could happily grace any coffee table whether you are into pyrography or not. The presentation style is very accessible, a comprehensive guide for beginners and more experienced pyrographers. Chock full of tips and techniques that walk you through 'how to achieve a look' but not so structured that you would not be able to develop your own style. - Aviya Glass Blog

Even new crafters can easily decorate any wooden surface and discover how to easily embellish objects with rich texture, patterns, and motifs. - Chip Chats Magazine

Easton's teaching style imparts guidance while letting you find your own creative niche with the art form. If you are a beginner, this book will have you wanting to learn more, and if you are an experienced pyrographer you wlll be inspired by Easton's designs. - Decorating Digest Magazine

Interview

As a child, I took a brief stab at woodburning. My brother had received a kit as a birthday present and was willing to share.I don''t know what happened to that artwork of my youth, but wow, woodburning (formally pyrography) has come a long way.A few weeks ago, a new book arrived at my desk. One look at the cover and I was hooked on woodburning all over again. Now, it''s classy, even contemporary.

After browsing through "Woodburning with Style" by Simon Easton, I bought a woodburning kit the following weekend.The way Easton presents his subject matter is simple and well presented in words and pictures. He starts with the basics: what tools you need and how to use them safely. Then come simple projects, with how-to photos and tips all along the way. He gradually sees us through making coasters, key rings, clocks, door signs and plaques. Planning, drawing, using patience, trying new objects, patterns and subjects.

The book wraps up with color techniques, eye-catching Celtic patterned border plates and appendices: types of wood, texture and pattern samples and resources.Thank goodness for "resources," because I was wondering where to get those bangle bracelets shown off on the book cover. I''m planning on turning some out for Christmas presents this year.Recently I purchased a couple of wood blanks in a local crafts store and sat down with Easton''s book to give it a try. What I learned is I have a long way to go, and eventually I''ll have to spring for that pricey pen.But all this inspired me to contact Easton by e-mail about his terrific new book and get the scoop about woodburning as art.

Were you born into pyrography?

I first experienced pyrography at a young age but I certainly don''t consider myself to be young now! I remember using a pyrography kit in Design and Technology lessons at school to make a games board when I was 11 or 12. I then didn''t touch any woodburning equipment again for another 15 years or so.

Did you take a lot of art classes?

I have always loved art and design subjects, and I worked in a wide range of media during my studies at all levels. These included fine art, ceramics, photography, graphic design, printing, sculpture and many more. I eventually realized that I gained the most enjoyment from working with solid materials such as wood, glass, metal and plastics. I studied (for) a bachelor of arts degree in three-dimensional design in which I focused more on wood and metal. All of the designs that I produced featured a decorative or textural element, and pyrography has been the next step in my hunt for ways to adorn a wooden surface.

Why this book? Why now?

I decided to buy myself a pyrography kit back in 2007 for purely recreational reasons -- to give me something to do when not at work which was creative and rewarding. I really enjoyed using it and started making a massive range of different items and designs. I joined the UK Crafts Forum (craftsforum.co.uk) and started to learn about ways to promote and sell handmade items. Within a year, I had a website, was selling online and was exhibiting at crafts fairs. I became a moderator on the Forum and offer my experience to others starting out.I received an e-mail from Fox Chapel Publishing out of the blue one day, stating that they had seen my pyrography work and liked my individual style. I was asked if I wanted to write a book on the subject and I leapt at the opportunity, as I''ve always dreamt of being an author since I was a child.I believe that my style adds a new contemporary take on the art of pyrography, both complementing and adding to the talent of other woodburning artists producing great designs today. I also think that there is a substantial rise in the appeal of handcrafted gifts in the current economic climate: I believe that people are looking to get more for their money, and unique or personalized handmade designs are definitely becoming more popular due to this.

You''ve also received awards for your woodturning, silversmithing and pewterware work. What''s your favorite? Did one lead to another?

It was a real honor to receive recognition for my designs from both the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, but the most rewarding success for me was my involvement in the "onetree" project which stemmed from a single oak tree felled in 1998. All parts of it were saved and distributed to artists, craftspeople and manufacturers to make a huge range of beautiful and useful pieces. All of the work formed a major touring exhibition across Great Britain in 2001-2002, accompanied by a book with a foreword from Prince Charles.My design for a turned wooden oak bowl with a spun pewter insert was accepted for inclusion, which was a real honor as I believe I was the only student to successfully submit a design.(Editor''s note: For more information, visit onetree.org.uk)

What''s your next project?

I''m working on updating my website (woodtattoos.com) as well as a number of commissions for customers. I''m also in the early stages on development for further books: I''m working on a visual reference book of designs I''ve come up with, and I would also like to make a further book of pyrography projects for budding woodburners to experiment with.

Anything else you''d like to add?

Pyrography is such an individual art and I hope that my book helps people of all ages and skill levels to pick up a kit and enjoy using it. People can get in touch with me through my website or at facebook.com/woodtattoos if they would like to keep updated with my latest creations.

(Karen Gallagher, Staff Writer The Daytona Beach News Journal )