Published by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd, East Sussex UK
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 87
Pyrography Designs by Norma Gregory is the latest addition to the number of books currently available on pyrography. Full of patterns, it focuses its instruction on how best to utilise the designs, working with either solid tip or wire-style pyrography pens.
There are various suggestions for adapting designs to suit the size, shape and purpose of the project at hand. Considerations such as balance, layout and perspective help to produce a cohesive and attractive whole, especially when combining individual patterns together. This is illustrated with the example of a field mouse combined with a stylised corn stalk. The instructions for realistic mouse rendering are exhaustive, and could be applied to a variety of animals.
Aside from explaining the sequence of work involved in tracing designs and burning the outline before shading, the author also discusses the use of water colours. A colour wheel and some examples of mixed colours are provided as a basis for experimentation.
The bulk of the book, eighty pages in all, is devoted to patterns. Subjects include common European field and farm animals such as mice, hedgehogs, deer, otters, rabbits, squirrels, geese and badgers. More familiar to our rural landscape would be the sheep, lambs and cows. The animal theme continues with a cockerel, ducks, various birds, fish, frogs, a lizard, shellfish and other sea life.
Architectural details such as quaint farm buildings, fences, a sundial and garden steps help to create the landscape inhabited by some of the above mentioned animals.
Plant life is depicted with patterns of herb bouquets, including chives, rosemary, sage, comfrey, dill, marigold, fennel, lavender, garlic, chamomile, pepper, and foxglove, as well as wheat and grass stems, various berries and mushrooms. Flowers such as pansies, roses, anemones, magnolias, honeysuckle with roses, daisies, lilies, fuchsias and rosehips are also depicted.
Not all the patterns provided are of specific objects. There are box top and picture frame borders in Christmas, Maritime and Victorian themes, and patterns of flowers, links, knots and chains.
The book closes with a photographic gallery of finished items such as breadboards, spoons, rolling pins, boxes and cupboard doors.
Aside from the great care and attention to detail with which these patterns have been produced, they are outstanding because they include all the necessary shading required to produce a realistic three dimensional representation of the object. The author goes to great effort to explain the effects and treatment of light on shadows, to overcome what she believes is one of the greatest stumbling blocks for many beginning pyrographers with minimal drawing skills.
Photos: Black & White
How to use the designs
Tracing the designs
Making your own carbon paper
Adapting the designs
Transferring the design on to wood
Types of wood
Enlarging and reducing the designs
Finishing off the work
Other sources for design ideas
A gallery of pyrography