Friday, 22 February 2013

Fighting Hares

Hi all, I managed to finish my latest pyrography project this week. The two Mad March Hares picture can be seen below.
I am quite pleased with the results and even went out and purchased a frame for it. If you are going to do any pictures with your pyrography iron, I suggest taking advantage of charity shops. They have everything from photo frames to more elaborate offerings that look like they should be surrounding a Rembrandt. Anyway, the one I chose cost me two quid and I reckon that's a bargain.

Regarding the picture itself there are two things of note. The veneer I used is 'steamed beech' and with hindsight I think the picture would have worked better had I used 'white beech' which is, as the name suggests, a lot lighter.

The composition was another issue when I was doing this picture. When it was still just a pigment of my imagination, I pictured a background behind the hares that consisted of fences, gates, trees, hedges and perhaps a ploughed field. and a tractor being followed by a flock of seagulls. However, after I'd completed the hares and the foreground I decided to keep it simple. The hares are the main focus of attention and a background would make the whole thing look too fussy.

If you are thinking about doing an animal study with your pyrography iron, I think the most import thing is to make sure all the fur marks you make are in line with the way the fir would grow on the animal. The direction of growth can be used to define the anatomy and looks silly if you get it wrong. It is also worth noting that you do not have to put in every hair, in fact, if you tried to do that with a pyrography iron it would not only take you months, but could also spoil the whole picture.

Now I have an admission to make. Those of you who follow this blog will know that I use a spoon tip for nearly all of my pyrography work. However, in this picture most of the marks were made with a small skew tip, which gives a very fine line. Below is a picture of two tips. The one on the left is my well worn spoon tip.

The small skew tip is ideal for the hairs on fur and much finer than those that can be produced by my spoon tip. The skew tip is actually made for a 'Razor Tip' pyrography machine,  but as far as I can tell they work just as well in a Peter Childs machine.

I'm not sure what my next project will be so be prepared for a surprise, and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Moths and Coasters

Hi all,
I was hoping in this post that I would be able to show you how I got on with the Mad March Hares, but I spent too much time working on my latest book. Plus, the weather became nice enough to venture into the garden again, so something had to suffer and this week it was my pyrography. I did manage to do a bit, but rather than show you something half finished I thought I'd wait until it is completed.

I also realised that it's been a while since I showed you any of my wife's pyrography. You may recall that she only took up the hobby last August and she has taken to it like a gannet to a gurnard. In fact, she's putting me to shame at the moment.

Here is a set of coasters that she has just completed.

As you can see she likes colour, but there is a lot of fine pyrography work amongst the paint. I also think that she has a good eye for colour because the pallet she chooses blends together well. Nothing is too gaudy and nothing clashes.

As well as producing the coaster she also did some of her pyrography magic on a large trinket box. She did moths around the sides and a large moth on the lid. She also put some dandelion seeds on it to give the box a bit of character and it works very well.
One of the good things about us both doing pyrography is that we can inspire each other and discuss the best ways to achieve certain results. For example, when my wife started doing some pyrography she preferred a wire tip. However, I encouraged her to persevere with a spoon tip and now she uses it almost exclusively. I also think that we are using each other to raise our own standards because we are keen to impress each other with our  latest projects.

With that thought in mind I'm really hoping that my Mad March Hares aren't a disappointment. Please watch out for my next post if you would like to see how I got on.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Mad March Hares

Hi All,
At the end of my last post I said that I was going to attempt something that was out of my comfort zone; well I'm very sorry, but I chickened out. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for it, so I will leave it for another day. I don't think you should force yourself to do anything with your pyrography iron that isn't providing you with that vital buzz, because it undoubtedly be reflected in your work

So instead of doing something new, I went back to a subject that I'd tackled before. If you are a regular reader of this post about pyrography you may recall the hares that I did on a wooden box. Anyway, I decided to try the same subject again but this time a bit smaller and the pyrography would be done on a piece of steamed beech veneer and then framed.

The easy thing about this project was that with the drawing already done. All I had to do was find the sketch on my computer, do a save as and then re-size it. I then printed it out, transferred the image to the veneer and did the pyrography work on it. Besides it being smaller. the only other change I made, when compared with the original, was the addition of some grass at the bottom. All of the pyrography work was completed with my usual spoon tip.
I think it is important that any sketches or designs you do for your pyrography should be copied and saved. You may think at the time that what you are doing is a one off, but you may just want to incorporat that design into another work at some stage. I certainly don't throw away any of my sketches, no matter how good or bad. I keep the hard copy in a folder but also scan a copy into my computer.
Anyway, with March being only a few weeks away I decided to stick with hares as my theme and did a sketch of two Mad March Hares having a bit of a dust up. They don't exactly set the world on fire at the moment, but I expect they'll look much better when burnt into another piece of beech veneer.
 In my next post, hopefully I can show you the finished item

Friday, 1 February 2013

Do Not Disturb

Hi all,
After finishing the personalised plaque for The Pennine Way I seem to have got stuck in a bit of a rut. I looked through the wooden blanks that I had in stock and found a small wooden pot that I ordered some time ago. It was one of those things that I added to get the most out of the postage. My order was going to cost me £15 no matter what I bought, so I took it right to the wire by buying this pot.

Anyway, this pot is very small, 37mm in diameter x 27mm tall, so it wasn't suitable for anything big. Eventually, because I was suffering from the personalisation bug, I decided to just put some initials on it. I used my own actually and now keep my spare rubbers in it. Before you start smiling to yourself, the rubbers are for my electric eraser. I have taken a picture of the box to provide a photo for listing on
My next foray into personalisation was a, "Do Not Disturb" room plaque. I am currently writing my ninth book and sometimes it becomes difficult because of continual interruptions. Wouldn't it be nice to have one of those log cabins down the end of the garden, I bet if I had one of them I could show JK Rowling a thing or too.

I scanned the blank plaque into photoshop to give me the right size and then I added the text. I played about with several fonts before choosing one called, Papyrus. I chose this font because it looked modern, but most of all I chose it because it wasn't formal. That meant that if I made a slight mistake anywhere I could adapt it and nobody would be any the wiser. Doing the same thing with a formal font like Times New Roman would be more difficult.

After sorting out the font sizes and the positioning, I printed off a copy and transferred the design to the plaque and burnt in the letters using the same technique as I described last week. The only thing I would add is that when using a spoon tip to do letters always keep the convex side on the top and move the pyrography iron in a circular motion. With the convex side on top, it is natural for the tip to move in a circular fashion.

It is difficult to explain here but if you do the top of an "O" with your prography iron, do not try to do the bottom of the "O" without turning your work upside down. A lazy Susan is ideal when doing lettering because that makes it easier to follow the natural flow of a spoon tip.

After I'd done the text, I sketched straight onto the plaque, a couple of brushes and a tube of paint and then burnt them in.

The good thing about this, Do Not Disturb sign is that can be adapted to suit anybody who needs a bit of peace and quite.

For my next pyrography project I'm thinking of doing something well out of my comfort zone and I'll share my progress with you soon.