Pyrography is the art of using fire to create art.  “Pyro” means fire and “graph” means art.  This form of art was originally called poker art.  Hundreds of years ago, people would put metal pokers into the fireplace to heat.  They would quickly push it into wood to create designs and impressions.  The poker would cool off very fast and they would have to wait for the fire to heat it up again.  During the Victorian era, (1837 - 1901),  pyrography was very popular.  A better heating method was used by that time which involved heating a glass jar and using a miniature bellows to push the heat from the jar through a tube and onto a metal tip with a handle (poker).  The hot air heated the tip enough to burn designs into the wood.  Around the year 1890, there were large companies that carved beautiful furniture and decorative household items.  Every piece was decorated with pyrographic designs using the jar and bellows method.  To find one of their originals today is truly a treasure.  Pyrography has come a long way since the turn of the century.  Almost everyone remembers having a wood burner, which was a “soldering iron” type of burning pen, when they were a child. Now an electronic, variable heat control burning system is used.  It will reach  2,000 degrees in six seconds.  There are many different tips used for making the designs.  They come in many shapes and sizes.  This art form is very versatile because it can be done on wood, leather, plastic, gourds, paper, egg shells, tree fungus, velvet, and many other surfaces.  Every line and shade is drawn entirely by hand which makes each piece very unique.   L.K.
Laurie Knight