A New Website Section by Trimingham Resident

Mike Lawrence

Creator of the Backinbirdland Blogspot and Contributor to this Website of the Natural History Page



“Writing with Fire”

Also known as woodburning, although pyrography can be used on various materials, it is the art of burning using a heated element. I use a heated wire tip set-up, with various interchangeable wire tips to create the desired effect and detailing.

As you can see it’s pretty much like a soldering iron with different changeable tips, and with this unit I can control the temperature that the tips burn at, which in turn gives me more control of the finished piece of art being burnt ( a electric current passes through the wire tips creating a burning element)

I use hardwoods to burn on as the tips can be too severe on softwoods and create what looks like burnt blob marks rather than detail, imagine a ink pen on blotting paper and this same spread effect is similar when the tip is applied too hot/on too soft wood. This is where controlling the temperature comes into its own, I can start by lighter detailing and work up to darker burn areas when needed. I will also use white paint to create highlights if it is needed.

Here you can see the 3 types of tips I have used on this Kingfisher piece.

Since taking up the art of pyrography earlier this year (May 2020) I have become addicted to creating pieces of art using this technique, from wildlife portraits to military aircraft to movie poster/scenes. Work is available to purchase and commissions are considered. Here are some completed burns’.



December 23rd 2020


Alfred Rethel: Death as Assassin

On this woodburning piece I was asked to portray the Skeleton from Alfred Rethel’s wood engraving. The piece of art by Rethel is also known as “Dance of Death: Death as Strangler”.  The piece refers to an event in Paris in 1831 with the first outbreak of Cholera.  Rethel was influenced by images of death in a lot of his work.

All through this ‘burn I kept myself to working in sections. I would map out where the lines and detail would go and then carefully burn it in. This was a real tricky piece to work on and I wanted to keep it as close to the original design as possible.

It was important to take my time and be careful I didn’t bleed the burn lines into the next row. I have no idea how many squares and lines are burnt into this study, but I do know it took me 15 hours to complete. I burnt it on a nice thick piece of oak which was pale enough to make the detail stand out.

The completed burn