Venus and the Art of Pyrography

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Botticelli’s Birth of Venus painting was the inspiration for my latest experiment in watercolor, water-soluble graphite and white Conté. Her name is Venus Rising.

This image was also the inspiration for a drawing I made a while back on birch wood…

…which I will use to explore the art of pyrography. I’m planning to experiment on a small piece of basswood first, so I don’t just dive into it and botch her up. For starters, I bought The Art & Craft of Pyrography.

I also ordered a wood burning kit, recommended for beginners and reasonably priced at $22.09 (with Amazon Prime).

While doing research I learned that certain woods, like plywood, contain formaldehyde and can cause asthma or increase the risk of nasal and sinus cancer or other serious illnesses. Apparently birch, basswood, maple and Italian poplar are better choices. To be safe, a dust mask and gloves when sanding the wood is highly recommended.

The Sawdust Connection has a great info page if you have any concerns about which woods to use/not to use and safety tips on sanding and burning. Pyrography is a beautiful art, and it’s important to know how to do it safely.

Happy burning!

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