Pyroteam Picks Issue 6 ***Gourd Art Edition***

I decided to do this issue a little differently and focus on just one of the many types of pyrography, gourd art. As you’ll see, even within this subset of a subset there are a wide variety of gourd art mediums, and as rare as pyrography is as a whole, what the following artists are making is even harder to find and worth paying attention to.

To see an item’s listing on Etsy, click on its photo.

Electric gourd lamp by Barbara's Handcrafts

Electric gourd lamp by Barbara's Handcrafts.

This gourd art made by Barbara Whitbeck of Barbara’s Handcrafts is not only a working electric lamp by night, but also a detailed decorative artwork by day. It not only provides mood illumination, but it also affects the space around it by casting interesting shapes (notice them on the wall in the first photo).

Electric gourd lamp by Barbara's Handcrafts

Electric gourd lamp by Barbara's Handcrafts.

This is the same gourd. I chose it over the many other gourd lamps in Barbara’s shop because I liked it as much whether its light was on or off, though it wasn’t an easy choice. Take a look in her shop and you’ll see why.

Barbara also has gourd bowls, hair clips, keychains, magnets, and even gourd bells in her shop.

Gourd clock by Christine Chan Art

Gourd clock by Christine Chan Art.

This gourd clock is made by Christine Chan Art. What stands out about Christine’s work is her compositional and technical skill on a 3D surface, as well as her attention to detail. Notice how she fills the space on the surface of the gourd, making the negative space as interesting as the shapes of the flowers and bird. And look closely at her colorization. You’ll see slight variations in value and temperature that give depth and texture to what would otherwise be flat shapes. A couple of examples are the individual flower petals that are a little lighter, and the change from warm to cool across each leaf.

Christine also has gourd bowls, lamps, magnets, nightlights and purses in her shop.

Pyrography gourd by Arabesque

Pyrography gourd by Arabesque.

The detail on this gourd by Tricia Newell of Arabesque is intense. There are leaves falling off of the trees! Equally as impressive is her skill in shading. There is very little fully charred pure black, but there are many subtle shadows. It’s also worth mentioning that this is a perspective drawing on an organic, 3D shape, which is an ambitious endeavor.

Tricia also sells gourd bowls in her shop.

Gourd purse by JRA Gourd Art

Gourd purse by JRA Gourd Art.

The first time I saw a listing for one of these I wasn’t sure I read it right. Yes, it really is a gourd purse. This one was made by Jenn Avery of JRA Gourd Art, and there are photos of how it’s used on its listing. What I like about Jenn’s pyrography is how varied it is (some of her gourds have lots of color, others have none at all, some are carved, etc.), and yet she still manages to show so much skill in each style.

Jenn also has gourd bowls, carved gourds, ornaments, pendants, and vases in her shop.

Gourd vase by Praisin' Art

Gourd vase by Praisin' Art.

This gourd vase is made by Kristin Johnson of Praisin’ Art. If you look at her shop as a whole you’ll notice that she has a very distinct style, and her works seem to flow with creativity. What I like about this vase is its complexity and cohesiveness of design. Just look at how many different colors and shapes it has on it, and yet they all mesh, something that isn’t easy to accomplish.

Kristin also has bowls, lamps, ornaments, and purses in her shop.

Picks of the Week Issue 5 (3-5 – 3-11-2011)

Welcome to the fifth issue of the Pyrographers of Etsy Picks of the Week where we feature some of our best work! My name is Chris, and I’m Captain of the team and curator of these posts. Every Tuesday (well, maybe not every Tuesday) I reveal my five favorite works by members of the Pyro Team picked based on their quality and originality.

MotherSpoon's woodburned rocket birdhouse

MotherSpoon's woodburned rocket birdhouse.

This birdhouse by MotherSpoon looks like a lot of time and effort went into both designing and burning it. It has a refined composition with repetitive elements and yet enough variety to make every part of it interesting. In fact, I could have just as easily used a photo of the back of it for this post. Its strengths are its intricacy and skillful rendering.

mulberrylanefolkart's woodburning of a horse

mulberrylanefolkart's woodburning of a horse.

This woodburning of a wild mustang has a different feel to it from most woodburning plaques. Instead of leaving the edges blank, mulberryfolkart has added a vignette that gives the composition a sense of completion. Without the vignette the horse wouldn’t have a solid place to exist in and would appear to be floating. The frame is a nice touch as well because it holds everything together visually.

The burning itself has a good range of values, especially in the darks, and its strengths are in the shading and how it has a minimal amount of outlining.

Parizadhe's woodburned cork bulletin board

Parizadhe's woodburned cork bulletin board.

My girlfriend and I like to collect cool ceramics (such as cups and dishes) because they make mundane activities a little more exceptional. That’s what this bulletin board by Parizadhe reminds me of because it can make something ordinary and everyday like note taking more fun.

RivdomArt's woodburning of Gandhi

RivdomArt's woodburning of Gandhi.

I absolutely love this tribute to Gandhi, one of the greatest people ever to have lived. Not only is the woodburning skillfully done, but the text is surprisingly clear as well. (For those who don’t know, wood grain can make it difficult to burn text clearly.)

What I like about the pyrography is its range in value from wood white to charcoal black, and how RivdomArt added a little background behind Gandhi’s head to preserve a highlight. Also, the dark, rustic border gives the wood contrast and holds the portrait and text together.

jerryswoodworks's woodburned beer keg tap handle

jerryswoodworks's woodburned beer keg tap handle.

One of Jerry‘s strengths is his extremely good craft. Some people’s work have lots of minor flaws that can be distracting when trying to appreciate it, but the perfect shape and smoothness of this handle make it easy to focus on the details such as the woodburning at the top, which is geometric and simple, but actually has a lot of textural detail in it.

Picks of the Week Issue 4 (2-5 – 2-11-2011)

Welcome to the fourth issue of the Pyrographers of Etsy team Picks of the Week where we feature some of our best work! My name is Chris, and I’m Captain of the team and curator of these posts. Every Tuesday I reveal my five favorite works by members of the Pyro Team picked based on their quality and originality.

jerryswoodworks's Woodburned Pen and Pencil Holder

jerryswoodworks's Woodburned Pen and Pencil Holder

This pen and pencil holder by jerryswoodworks is well turned and burned, and the flowers and lightness of the wood give it a springtime feel. The petals are boldly drawn with simple, graphic lines, and the texture of the background gives it detail and color. It’s a functional artwork in that it corrals writing implements, but it’s also a cure for a case of desk drabness.

RavenWolfArt's Woodburned Cat and Mouse Spoon

RavenWolfArt's Woodburned Cat and Mouse Spoon

What I like about this spoon by RavenWolfArt is the relationship between the cat on one end and the mouse on the other trying to get as far away from the cat as it can. You’ll have to visit the Etsy listing to see the mouse’s body, but look close and you can see its tail wrapped around the handle, just out of reach of the cat. It’s a piece of a story on a spoon, which is what makes it different from most woodburnings.

NessysNest's Woodburned Gourd

NessysNest's Woodburned Gourd

NessysNest listed three amazing gourds on the same day last week, so choosing just one wasn’t easy. This one, though, stood out because of the crazy-cool bird imagery. What I like in particular about this gourd is that it’s made just by burning and carving, and yet it has a very full range of colors and values, not to mention a wide variety of textures.

Something else I want to point out is the high quality of the photographs in NessysNest’s shop. It’s important to have photos that match the quality of the artworks themselves in order to give them the recognition they deserve.

prarieharvestarts's Woodburned Box

prarieharvestarts's Woodburned Box

Prarieharvestarts‘s idea of woodburning on an antique box and keeping the original burned text and graphics is a great one. And what was the box for? Cigars. That get burned. In other words, it all fits. And the composition is very well done in that the path leads the eye from the text at the bottom to the house at the top, and then leaves it to explore the landscape.

Parizadhe's Woodburned Spoons

Parizadhe's Woodburned Spoons

Parizadhe seems to do a little bit of everything subject wise, and I was very excited to see that she had done Cthulhu, a character from the pulp magazine Weird Tales just like Conan the Barbarian (one of my favorites). The shading on these spoons has a distinct grunge feel, and the small differences between the three make it a very nice set.

Picks of the Week 1/29 – 2/4/2011

Welcome to the third issue of the Pyrographers of Etsy “Picks of the Week” where we highlight the outstanding work of our team. Picks will now be released every Tuesday (as opposed to “sometime over the weekend”) to give me a few days to research and write thoroughly. Thank you to everyone on the team who has been helping to advertise these posts!

RivdomArt's woodburned spoon

RivdomArt's woodburned spoon.

First up is RivdomArt‘s elusive woodburned spoon. I’ve been wanting to write about it for awhile, but every week it seems to have a different “listed on” date. So, even though the current listing is for 2/5, I’m including it in this weeks Picks.

What stands out about this spoon is how finished it looks, in the sense that its composition feels resolved, and its shading looks complete, which isn’t easy to accomplish with a three-dimensional object. Please see the spoon’s listing on Etsy for a photo of its backside to get a better sense of what I mean.

I would be hesitant to put it to real use in the kitchen because of how well done it is, but I also think that the point of having handmade objects is to replace the ordinary with the unique in order to make the mundane more interesting.

jerryswoodworks's woodburned beer keg tap handle

jerryswoodworks's woodburned beer keg tap handle.

In time for the Super Bowl, Jerry listed a bunch of these beer keg tap handles, of which this one is my favorite. The combination good craft and simplicity of design make it elegant (which is an odd thing to associate with beer). Specifically, the geometric pattern at the top is very sharply and evenly burned in. For those who don’t do pyrography, burning in large areas of flat color (with the exception of pure black) is extremely difficult. Please see the handle’s listing on Etsy for a detail photo of the pattern.

I can see a set of these in a bar replacing the ugly branded handles that they all seem to have.

NessysNest's woodburned gourd

NessysNest's woodburned gourd.

I haven’t tried burning on a gourd yet, but I can’t imagine it being easy because there isn’t a flat surface to be found. That said, they’re also three dimensional, and (like RivdomArt’s spoon), that makes composing the pyrography very challenging.

What I like about NessyNest‘s gourd is that it has something to look at from all angles. In fact, I wasn’t sure whether to use a photo of the front or back for this feature because both are equally well done. On that note, please see the gourd’s listing on Etsy for a photo of the back.

It’s clear by her skillful shading that NessyNest is an experienced artist with an attention to detail and a comfortable command of the woodburning tool.

MamasHouse's woodburned chopsticks

MamasHouse's woodburned chopsticks.

With these chopsticks, MamasHouse is showing us one more creative and useful thing we can do with pyrography. It’s another one of those ideas I don’t think I could have easily come up with myself, of which our team seems to have a lot of. And these are only one out of many chopstick designs MamasHouse has in her shop, so head over there and check them out.

Something else I want to mention is that the photo MamasHouse chose for this listing is very minimal with a largely pure-white background, and because of that it stands out from other listings in the search result clutter. It made my eyes stop, and made me want to click on it to see what it was.

Parizadhe's woodburned mandala

Parizadhe's woodburned mandala.

I actually tried not to feature Parizadhe again, but of course when I saw this I knew I had to. What I do when I’m preparing to write picks is search Etsy for “Pyrography Team,” then open a tab in my web browser for every listing I’m considering featuring. Because of the quality of their work, and how prolific they are, I usually open a bunch of tabs for jerryswoodworks and Parizadhe, then close all but my favorites, then narrow all of the tabs down to five.

Something I’m thrilled about is that every week new artists are turning up in the search results, which means that our member base is growing and more of us are tagging our work with the team tag (Pyrography Team).

But back to Parizadhe‘s work. The unique thing about this mandala is that it is rendered in pointillism (lots of dots), and the shading she accomplished with it is spot on. For example, take a look at the flower in the center and notice how it looks like the petals are translucent. It’s something that I don’t see a lot of pyrographers attempt, and for good reason: because it isn’t easy.

It’s these little details that take this work to the next level. In other words, it has good composition and craft, but it also has much more. The time in took to make it (the handmadiness of it) can be seen in all of the dots, and the overlapping petals and the way the Celtic knot flows over, under, and around itself and the other elements shows the attention to detail of an experienced and skilled artist.

That’s it for this week. Keep using the team tag on your listings and maybe you’ll see yourself here next Tuesday!

Picks of the Week 1/22 – 1/28/2011

Welcome to the second Pyrographers of Etsy Picks of the Week! For some reason I gave last week eight days, so this is the first Picks for a real seven-day week.

RivdomArt's Woodburned matching Heart earrings and pendant with flower design

RivdomArt's Woodburned matching Heart earrings and pendant with flower design.

First up is RivdomArt‘s pendant and earrings set where woodburning is essentially used as a patina for the earrings. A patina, for those who don’t do jewelry, is an alteration of the surface appearance of metal.

RivdomArt was able to carefully control the color and darkness of the wood to give the pendant and earrings a slightly grungy feel that has much more impact than unfinished wood would have. There isn’t enough wooden jewelry out there, which is a shame. Let’s change that!

Question though: Is that snow?

wildwood's Medieval Knight Returns woodburned plaque

Edge of the Wildwood's Medieval Knight Returns woodburned plaque.

The complexity of this plaque by Carey Lynn of Edge of the Wildwood is crazy, and her use of hatching makes it look complete even without shading. The composition is very tight but organized, and there are fun details to be found everywhere. Take the squirrel near the top left for instance, whose tail bends sharply to complete the wreath around the knight.

scenicswitchplates's Imagine Your Pet Here... Woodburned on a Custom Single Toggle Switchplate

scenicswitchplates's Imagine Your Pet Here... Woodburned on a Custom Single Toggle Switchplate.

scenicswitchplates has many ready-to-ship woodburned switchplates in her shop, but this one stands out because it’s a listing for a custom woodburning based on a photo the buyer sends her. More examples of her custom work can be found on the listing, but I think this one of a cat is particularly well done.

Parizadhe's Savage Tribal Wooden Pentacle - OOAK Hand Drawn Pyrography

Parizadhe's Savage Tribal Wooden Pentacle - OOAK Hand Drawn Pyrography.

I always look forward to seeing Parizadhe‘s new work. As hard as I’m trying to mix up who I feature each week, I have a feeling that some team members will have recurring spots in these posts, and Parizadhe (aka Greenwood Creations) will definitely be one of them.

Not only is the composition of this plaque very well done, but the shading completes it and gives it clarity and a sense of depth. It has a very distinct Celtic feel.

AdriftArtStudio's 16 Pyrography On Driftwood Scary Beads

Adrift Art Studio's 16 Pyrography On Driftwood Scary Beads.

It’s funny how I started beading only about two weeks ago, but now I can’t help noticing a listing like this. Never mind the risk to Adrift Art Studio‘s fingers while making these tiny beads with a hot tool, but, honestly, isn’t this just an all around cool idea? Plus jewelry supplies are huge on Etsy.

Picks of the Week 1/14 – 1/21/2011

Welcome to the first Picks of the Week!–what will hopefully be a continue series highlighting the weekly listings and relistings of Pyrographers of Etsy team members. Anyone can curate a Picks of the Week, just let me know what week you want and I’ll set you up. And don’t be intimidated by WordPress either. If you need step-by-step instructions for how to make your first post, I’d be happy to oblige.

A couple quick notes: I don’t think its appropriate for curators to include their own work, and it’s probably best to keep the number of highlighted items to a minimum (I chose five). Also, be sure to include the tag “Pyrography Team” in all of your woodburning-related listings in order to stand a chance of being included in one of these posts.

It wasn’t easy, but I managed to narrow down all of our work from the week of Friday the 14th. Click the images to see their listings on Etsy.

Parizadhe's Steampunk Gears Spoon Set

Parizadhe's Steampunk Gears Spoon Set

First up, the work of our team Captain Parizadhe! Her work can be found in two Etsy shops: Greenwood Creations and Greenwood Occasions. Steampunk is huge on Etsy, but usually as jewelry. I never would have thought to do it as woodburning. Notice how rather than burn in the gears, Parizadhe burns the space around them, which is much more difficult and time consuming. They look great!

lindakellyart's Original pyrography grapes and vines gourd design folk art

lindakellyart's Original pyrography grapes and vines gourd design folk art

Color and texture are what stands out about this gourd art by lindakellyart. It looks like something that would be fun to touch, and the color palette is limited enough that it looks thought out (the colors have a distinct feel together). I also like lindakellyart’s explanation on the gourd’s Etsy listing about who it would be good for (everyone, but “especially you wino’s”).

jerryswoodworks's Broken Heart Wine Bottle Stopper

jerryswoodworks's Broken Heart Wine Bottle Stopper

This wine stopper stands out from the rest. Jerry found a way to use an imperfection in the wood as part of the composition of the burning, and it looks very well done. Be sure to check out all of the other wine stoppers in his shop!

cchanart's Chinese Goddess Gourd 5

cchanart's Chinese Goddess Gourd 5

cchanart’s Chinese Goddess Gourd 5 is amazing, as is everything else in her shop. It’s delicately crafted and demonstrates a perfect blend between pyrography and painting. My favorite details are where she blends the leaves into the background rather than giving everything sharp edges. Take a look at the closeup images on the gourd’s Etsy page.

greenwomancrafts's Celtic Ogham staves made with corresponding woods

greenwomancrafts's Celtic Ogham staves made with corresponding woods

I had to look up what these were, so for anyone else like me, here’s a page with an explanation of Ogham Staves. With these staves, greenwomancrafts uses pyrography for practical reasons (it’s more durable than paint), which is different from how most of us use it. These staves also seem to be for the wood lovers among us: Each staff corresponds to a specific species of tree, and greenwomancrafts actually used the correct species for each divination symbol.

That’s it for this week. I welcome feedback and I’ll try to have something for next week unless someone else wants to take a stab at it.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales!

Starting in just two days the team will be having a Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale! Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and Cyber Monday is it’s online equivalent. This year Black Friday falls on November 26th, and Cyber Monday on the 29th. Some sales may be up as soon as Thanksgiving Day.

The team is encouraging its members to have Free Domestic Shipping and other sales. Sale items can be found by searching Etsy for the terms “Pyrography Team” and “sale,” and by visiting team shops. We have a directory of team shops on this blog as well as on the team page.

Attention team members: Coupon Codes went live Tuesday. More info about how to use them on The Storque.