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Pyrography, writing with fire

Updated: Jun 12

The term "pyrography" comes from the Greek words "pyr," meaning fire, and "graphos," meaning writing. Also known as wood burning, pyrography is an artistic technique when decorating wood with burn marks - it's just that simple - with a heated metal pen. "Writing with fire" has a rustic and natural look and can be used to personalise gifts, home decor or in my case a wooden canvas. I just had to decide on subject matter which wasn't that difficult as the surface of the wood was the inspiration of a tree which led to woodpecker or kingfisher but I settled on the Hoopoe bird.


A Hoopoe has a unique look and a unique call and again, another memory from childhood. They are chestnut brown in colour with white and black striped wings and tail and their repetitive "hoo hoo hoo" was unmistakable - we had a couple that were regular visitors to our back garden.


I sketched the initial idea on paper and used pencil to transfer to the wooden board so that I could have some guidelines while burning the lines. Making marks was the easiest thing to do but it was unforgiving! I had to concentrate to control the pen and the weight of my hand would make the differences between light and dark lines. I decided to add a bit of white acrylic paint to emphasis the unique markings of this bird.



The piece "Hoopoe of the Bushveld" 2023, Pyrography & Acrylic on Wood Canvas was entered into the Open art exhibition at the World of Glass in November 2023.


View of the open night of the exhibition at the world of glass
Godfrey Pilkington Gallery in the World of Glass


Other Open Art Exhibition entries:


"Moment of Clarity" 2022, Acrylic on Canvas (NFS) read more...



"Beyond Thin" 2019, Digital Artwork (NFS)​

Beyond Thin 2019 WOG

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