Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pyrography by Georgianne

Roosterick Designs Navajo spindle
I’ve been pretty busy this past year burning my designs on my husband’s Navajo spindles and on my brother-in-law’s hollow forms. I’ve been promising myself that I would put a post up with some examples of my work, but usually opt to work on the designs themselves rather than write about them. I just finished three bowls for Mike, though, that are destined for an exhibit at the DelMano Gallery in January. I promised six, so have three more to complete in the next month. I need to do a few new whorls and maybe a diz or two for Rick also. I really ought to be in the other room working, but wanted to finally take a minute to post a few photos.

The word pyrography literally means “writing with fire” and derives from the Greek pur (fire) and graphos (writing). During my art school years I focused on pen and ink drawing and find working with my pyrography equipment to be similar. Rick bought me an Optima 1 Dual Burner a while back, which I love. The pens are wonderful to work with, the foam grips make holding the pen extremely comfortable, and the choice of tip style is quite extensive. I own seven different tips with which I can achieve a large range of tones and shades by varying the type of tip used, the temperature, or the way the iron is applied to the wood (or gourd). After many years of working as a layout editor and sitting behind a computer constantly, I’m enjoying my renaissance as a pyrographer (although one could argue that there is something sublime in creating beautiful layouts for publications, too).


Navajo spindles by Rick with designs by Georgianne
Rick's unique Navajo spindle design features a steel or brass tip and a no-slip easy spin nest, and the whorls are decorated with my original pyrographic and ink designs. You can find the spindles at Roosterick Designs. I really enjoy creating designs that a spindler might appreciate seeing twirl around as he or she spins fiber into yarn. Roosterick Navajo spindles are in high demand for their balance, light weight, and speed in spinning. Rick and I have been working together since 2009. (For all of Rick's art, including enamel jewelry, copper bowls, kumihimo braiding, and awesome hand-carved wood spoons, please visit his Web site.)

Woodturning by Mike, Pyrography by Georgianne


Rick's brother Mike is a woodturner from the San Diego area who specializes in hollow vessels, most of which are natural edge pieces made from unique burls, but he also turns bowls, including thin, natural edge open bowls, off balance asymmetrical pieces, hollow forms with “wings,” and sculptural forms. (For more about Mike, please read his bio.) We began collaborating about a year ago.

Our pieces have been in and/or sold through the DelMano Gallery, the Mingei International Museum's Collector's Gallery, and privately. Insanity, a piece that took me close to 60 hours to "burn," won fourth place at the Design In Wood competition.

Insanity, 4th place, Design In Wood
I don't sketch my ideas in advance, and generally don't use any rulers or draw my designs on the wood before I start. I try and get a sense of each particular piece of wood and design something to fit. Is the wood light or dark or grainy or have imperfections? I've never been one for realism, either. Instead, I've always been drawn to geometric shapes, particularly old maps and cave drawings. Often, I'll stare at a piece on and off for hours or days before I get a sense of what kind of design I should do. So many people ask if I use ink on the pieces I do with Mike, but I very rarely do. The various shades of brown are done with different heat settings. The spindles, however, call out for color and I love to experiment with color combinations.