I chose to do another personalised plaque. This one is to commemorate the walking of The Pennine Way, which apparently, is the most popular footpath in the United Kingdom. It stretches from Edale, in the Derbyshire Area of the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in Southern Scotland. The path is 270 miles long and follows a beautiful, but equally lonely route along the backbone of England.
In recent years I have become envious of the people who are able to take on these mammoth challenges and if I was younger, even though I've never been a great walker, I would have a go myself.
Sadly, I'm pushing 62 and although that might not seem old by today's standards, I'm afraid the years of smoking, my heart attack and the subsequent medication have put it out of my reach. Having said that, I hope I have at least done it justice with my pyrography iron.
Coming up with a design for the Pennine Way was more difficult than the last two footpaths I have done because I couldn't find any strong icons along the route. However, I noted that a large proportion of the path, especially in the north is paved and along the way there are lots of the kind of steps that you can see on the plaque.
With regards to burning, the hardest part is the lettering. Once I have done a sketch of the details on the plaque, I scan it into photoshop to add the text. The good thing about Photoshop is that it gives me full control over the shape of the text.
I type it in a straight line first, then highlight it. Once highlighted, I choose warp text and arc style. Then it is just a matter of choosing a degree of arc that will see the text follow the contour of the plaque. Once that is done I print the whole thing out and transfer the design to the plague for burning.
When burning the text, I find that it is best to do the outline of each letter first. I use a lowish temperature for this because over burn on the outside of the letters stops the text from looking crisp. Once the outside is complete I then fill in the interior of each letter. This is done with lots of small stabbing movements. It's a bit like using my pyrography iron the same way as a woodpecker uses its beak, only a lot slower. To give you some idea, I have to make around 60 burn marks on each letter to fill it up. If you multiply that by the number of letters, you can tell that it isn't a quick process.
For the plaque above, I used a spoon tip throughout with the exception of the lace holes in the boots. I did them with a wire tip.
I'm not sure what I'm doing next, but I will share it with you in my next post.