Art camp! Art camp! Claudia McGill is at Art Camp Claudia McGill! Art camp! Art camp! (These are the words to our camp song, in case you would like to know…not much of a song but it gets the point across.)
Today the topic was – woodburning. Or pyrography, as it is also called.
I have a little woodburning set but have never used it – my husband did, when he made a sign for my garden. I’ve held on to it, thinking of childhood memories of woodburning projects, but not until today did I get to it.
Before I tried it out (after decades apart, I felt the technique and I needed to re-acquaint ourselves) I got a couple of books from the library on the topic. They depicted a very pictorial approach to the medium – shading and realism and that kind of thing. I had a more rustic view of woodburning projects – a sign for Art Camp Claudia McGill to put over the entrance? but really, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I really didn’t want to purchase a wooden blank of some kind, box, plaque, etc., and decorate it. And I didn’t want to make a sign for camp, either, to tell the truth…
So when I set to work today, I was still confused as to what I’d be making. But I got a piece of scrap wood and fired up the woodburning tool. Though it came with several points (including an Exacto knife attachment that would allow you to cut plastic stencils) I stuck with the standard point; I think it is referred to as a chisel point.
I practiced on the scrap wood and got the hang of things pretty quickly. Let me tell you, that little tool heats up fast and furious. It’s necessary to move slowly over the wood, and the longer you linger in one spot, the deeper and thicker the line. The varied surfaces on the point also allowed me to make different marks. I also recommend working in a well-ventilated room – the process creates a bit of smoke.
I liked the look of things, but I needed a project. Then – I thought of – stick ladies.
You may remember my painted stick ladies, made from wood picked up on my walks. Luckily, I had a pile of prepared sticks ready to go. I grabbed some and got to work.
In each case, I started with the nose and created the face. It gave me a good starting point.
I made a nice little group of ladies. Each one is plain on the back with her features on the front. I also tried to used fatter sticks, as it gave a better surface to work with.
I will make more of these ladies. Since I had a hard time getting started, I didn’t have the opportunity to do as many as I would have liked – they are addictive, once you get going.
So, the woodburning set is a success. And just as much fun as I remember from about 50 years ago.