Turning and Burning
March 16, 2010
Entry Details

# 918
Molly Pursell
Sunrise, FL
Dimensions (inches):  
  Width:   19
  Height:   3.25
  Depth:   19
Materials:   Norfolk Island Pine, Acrylic Paints, Lacquer

I turned this piece off the end of the lathe. After the turning was finished I stippled the edge of the piece, burned on the owl, and sketched on the trees and moon. I had finished the trees about halfway when I took a break from that to pierce all over the piece. I pierced with a dental tool that my Grandfather has. After I finished the piercing I completed the trees and moon. I painted the eyes yellow and white, and the moon white with acrylic craft paint. The piece was then sprayed with three coats of lacquer.

I burned the owl darker than I would normally because the source of light (the moon) is coming from behind him which causes the front of the owl to be dark and obscure. I left the face and especially the eyes lighter because that is where I wanted the eye to be drawn to. It was a challenge for me to try and picture how the owl's feathers would look with the moon shining down on them, and then shining through the individual feathers.


I left a gap between the tree branches and the owl because I didn't want the wing of the owl to become lost in the confusion of the leaves. I did pierce right up to the owl because when the piercing goes right to the edge it gives the piece a three dimensional feel, as if the owl is about to fly off the wood.

I enjoyed burning the moon. There wasn't much to do on it other than a little shading that I copied from a photograph of the moon. It didn't look like much until I added the paint. I just used simple white acrylic craft paint, but I added a little water to it to make it thinner. I dabbed some of the paint on with a paintbrush and then rubbed it into the wood with my finger. This gave it a very smooth, chalky look. The paint also made the places where I had burned stand out and accent the moon very nicely.


My Mom took this while I was working on the tree branches. I am eighteen years old and I have been burning for four years. My grandfather taught me how to burn a few simple maple leaves, and from there I have taught myself. I really enjoy it, and I love taking on challenges like this contest to stretch and grow my abilities as a woodworker. This project was the first time I have combined all three of these elements (burning, turning, and piercing), and it is the first time I have ever pierced.

Judges Comments
Andi : Fantastic details on the pyrography! I'm undecided with regards to the piercing, though. I like the design motif as a whole, but the large cells of the piercing are a bit distracting to my eye.
Graeme : An incredible amount of work and very well done.
Molly : Review of the close up photo of this piece shows great use of a variety of burning tips, and techniques to achieve various textures on both the owl and trees. It is an excellent example of how to produce depth and detail. I particularly like the texture of the trees.

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