What is Pyrography (or Woodburning)?

So what is pyrography art? The word comes from the Greek “pur” (fire) and “graphos” (writing), meaning writing with fire. In modern practice, this is more drawing than writing. It is the freehanded art of decorating wood (or other materials) with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as wood burning.

The exact origins of pyrography are unknown, as wood (being organic) doesn’t survive well over thousands of years. Some believe its origins pre-date history, where cavemen would use charred sticks, to mark and burn the wood. The practice of pyrography, however, it can be traced back as far as the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), where it was known as Fire Needle Embroidery. Pyrography is an ever-changing art form, as it is always being reinvented with new tools, techniques, materials, and styles.

As a former fine artist, turned into a wood artist, pyrography was a natural extension of my woodwork. I use the technique to sign my work, write a personal message for a commission, or draw simple designs. I work mostly with figured hardwoods with lots of natural oils and tannins, burning only at very high temperatures, so I keep the drawings simples to ensure crisp, thin lines that will complement the natural beauty of the wood, rather than overpowering it.

Commissions are welcome.

Freehand wood burning on my creations


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