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Celtic Pyrography – The Trials of a First Large Scale Piece.

Some of you who follow me on Facebook will have noticed that I took up pyrography in January and have done a few pieces and even sold some too. In today’s article, I show you round the first celtic piece I created from conception to completion.

I generally don’t do things by halves, and this enormous celtic circle is no exception. It is about 12″ square and consists of multiple cords, all twisting around each other to create the pattern.

Part way through the burn.

It started off on the computer as a quarter circle designed in Adobe Illustrator where I worked out all the over and under places and then copied that quarter 3 times, reflected it and rotated it accordingly to fit the piece of plywood it was going on to.

Plywood?! I hear you cry.

Yes, plywood. But it is a special baltic plywood using different woods compared to the stuff you get in builders merchants. The birch ply is lovely and light in colour, wonderfully smooth to burn onto and takes oil and lacquer very well indeed.

 So with the initial design done which was about 2 hours (remember this was my first go!), it was printed off and then transferred to the wood with Saral graphite paper, which is a bit like carbon paper, but erases like a pencil.

celticCircle_002 For the burn, I used only a medium shading tip on the pyrography pen, which I now realise was a mistake. Although the shading is lovely, the actual lines of the cords in the knot are not as sharp as I would like them to be.

The full burn took about 6 hours for the piece to look like it does on the left, and I wish I had left it like that, as the next steps I went through nearly ended up with the piece in the bin!

Now, with my wood turning, I regularly use a propane gas burner to add some colour to the pieces I turn, so I thought I would try it on hear too. Wish I hadn’t!

celticCircle_003 The scorching went well to start with, with the wood turning slowly darker, but then! one part of the wood went too dark. Naturally, the rest had to match, so darker became the whole piece, and ended up like the picture to the left.

To brighten it up a bit, I rubbed some bright gold gilt into it which caught the light nicely in the evening sun.

But then, following some advice from, amongst others, a gentleman on Facebook called Steve Wright who is a fabulous pyrographer, I decided to cut the board square, and the difference is awesome.

celticCircle_005The picture to the right shows the burnt piece, cut square on the table saw.

Now is the time I should have left it as it was and seen satisfied with my mistakes, but no, I had to go ahead and, in my opinion, make it worse!

At this point, there were lots of comments on FB about it, so I ploughed on in an attempt to make it look better in my eyes.

celticCircle_004I decided to burn between the cords to darken the entire piece down. Not a good idea, looking back on it. It should have been left…but I blew it. I think.

Before that though, I used metallic gold, silver and bronze enamel paints to highlight some of the cords.

Still, I’m not too disappointed with it. It was afterall, my first ‘proper’ go at celtic pyrography and I learnt some valuable lessons. One of which I knew already as being ‘less is more’!

There are some of my pyrography pieces for sale at my shop at both in the real-world physical shop, and the etsy shop too, with more to come, including a range of gorgeous celtic love hearts.


One thought on “Celtic Pyrography – The Trials of a First Large Scale Piece.

  1. […] been playing with celtic designs recently, as you may have seen in a previous post and whilst that piece was very complicated, the Love Hearts I designed this week are much more […]

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