Among the many fine qualities my kids possess is the ability to remember my random “Gee, that would be cool”s and translate them into a Christmas present. I was chewing the fat with John much earlier this year and said “Gee, I think woodburning might be cool.” The UPS man delivered a big box a few days before Christmas, and there it was, “With love from Honor and John.” Included was “Pyrography Workbook,” which tells me everything I need to know to get started. The hundreds of glossy examples of the pyrographer’s art are pretty darn intimidating, showing as they do photographically realistic wolves, owls, elephants and lions. I never knew that nature study was why I wanted a woodburning kit. It isn’t, and that’s not just sour grapes because I know I’ll never achieve those artists’ virtuosity.I’m humbled: woodburning is hard.
It’ll be awhile until my technique is good enough to earn a Cub Scout merit badge, let alone burn a rearing stallion onto a block of walnut, but hey, I like the learning part. The toughest part is finding untreated, unvarnished wood. But as my intention all along had been to play around decorating humble household items, I found a good bulk price in wooden spoons. Not any wooden spoons: wooden spoons with flat handles. Here’s my first attempt, and it’s OK to laugh:
I had fun! I didn’t burn myself or anything other than the spoon. The kitchen smelled like summer camp. I know I should learn something practical, like plumbing or car maintenance — you know, something home – related but actually useful. But what I’m really contemplating is a run to Ikea to see if they carry untreated wooden hangers.
I promise not to take up lanyard braiding. Well, maybe.