The Slow and Steady Art of Pyrography

Technology and all of its wonderful offerings has pretty much changed the art world {sometimes for the worst}. As a fine artist - I was so amazed at the ability of ink jet printers to print "painting replicas" on canvas. I paid thousands of dollars to "replicate" my fruit paintings - only to sell later {the originals} for a fraction of the cost of the canvas.

That was over fifteen years {and hundreds of shows} ago. How can an artist compete with mass production as well as our "perspective" clients need for cost effective handmade products.

My disgust over my "starving artist days" became a turning away from the art work altogether. I wanted to create art- but how can I make a living knowing that those brick and mortar stores can create art cheaper and faster than I ever could. So I quit showing art and began looking towards other things for a living. Until one day....after buying a wood burning {for kicks} and a friend asked me to make a russian doll set...

Beatrix Potter Inspired doll set

It took forever to burn, paint , and finish {and... I still have not finished it!}. Then I decided to burn more little pieces and then I thought to try and see if they will sell. My first shows were so small {and maybe a little cheesy}! I only had a couple of folding tables and just sprawled out my "littles". So, to my surprise, after a few shows I learned what people liked and what they didn't and decided to do more and more pieces.

Some of my "little" birch wood burnings

My weekend work was becoming more than just a hobby and I started to make actual money doing art (although still not alot!) My "littles" were now getting bigger- signs, portraits of horses, and pallet wood sunflowers. I was selling, but not enough {even still} to quit my "day" job. My "normal" job then was marketing for a company - writing blogs, managing a weekly storefront, and growing their social media presence. The CEO did not "believe" in social media and the storefront only brought the company in $500/ week {which he deemed "unprofitable" and a "waste of time"}. Soon, the marketing was dissembled altogether {me along with it} and I had to concentrate on growing my own business. So I began small and made a website, did more shows and started to grow my audience.
Pyrography or pyrogravure is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as pokerwork or wood burning. The term means "writing with fire", from the Greek pur (fire) and graphos (writing).

Wood burning or pyrography is a slow process and takes an unbelievable amount of patience to get just right. I think I make it worst by painting and burning over again and again until I "like" it.. The act of taking a small "pen sized" burning tool and forcing it onto wood into an image is incredibly tedious work.

So, here I am in year two of my "wood burning" journey and beginning my own story. I am so thankful to those who have supported me in shows and are following me. My current ambition is creating small monogram wood plaques and hoping to "build an alphabet" monogram display for future shows {I will write of that progress in future posts.}.


My name is Angela Johnson and I am a weekend {and weeknight} wood burning artist {graphic designer "computer geek" by day}.

Support my art and get a handmade item shipped to you every month! Click on my Patreon link to learn more by clicking >> here.

Follow me on my Instragram page by clicking >> here, or on my personal Facebook page by clicking >> here, or if you prefer "pinning" you could check out my Pinterest page by clicking>> here!


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