Settle Designed And Executed By Miss H. K. Fobes.
Any of these trifling obstructions are liable to hinder progress. If, however, the bulb bursts it is not irreparable; it can be patched.
There are quite a variety of materials upon which pyrography treatment looks well. Undressed leather, unfinished calf, and ooze are especially well adapted to this kind of decoration. In working on leather, great care must be taken not to allow the point to remain on the material, or it will burn through at once. It is also necessary that a cool point be used. Pretty little articles, such as penwipers, clipping envelopes, card-cases, bags, tobacco pouches, and photograph frames are all of them recommended for the beginner. There are all kinds of interesting line designs for borders. A little practice is necessary to plan these so that they will come out evenly. This result is best obtained by working from both ends alternately and thus reaching the centre evenly. In working on leather, stretch it well and fasten it with thumb tacks to the drawing-board. It must then be moistened with a sponge.
There are several unvarnished woods that are well adapted for pyrography. Bass, lime, maple, sandal-wood, birch, or in fact any white wood that does not contain too much resin, are suitable. I need hardly say that much of the white wood sold for burning on is sawn and sand-papered by machinery, which causes circular scratches to appear on the surface of the wood. It is most important not to select a piece with such blemishes. Any wood used for pyrography must be so carefully sand-papered that not a dent or a scratch is left on the surface, therefore a good deal of labour is saved by buying a piece that is perfect in the first instance. A slightly soiled piece of wood, however, is of no consequence. Sizes No. 1, 1/2, and o are the best to get for sand-papering the wood. The best method of doing this is to get a good-sized lump of cork, and cut from it a small block the size of a safety match-box. Wrap a piece of coarser sand-paper around the block, and rub the wood up and down in the direction of the grain, but never in the opposite direction or in a circular manner. When the wood is perfectly smooth, go over it with the finer sand-paper. It is well to take the precaution of examining it under a strong light - not a single scratch must remain if the work is to be perfect. It is well for the beginner to choose very small articles, such as trays and frames, before attempting the larger pieces, such as book-cases and large brackets.
If the worker is not able to make her own designs, patterns can be purchased from time to time at the various artists' supplies places that carry a full line of everything pertaining to the craft.
Ivory is another material suitable for pyrography. If unpolished ivory can be obtained, better results can be had than with the polished article, as the polish frets the point and must be removed with a damp cloth. However, as it is not easy to purchase ready-made articles without the polish, this difficulty has to be overcome. All kinds of toilet articles, brushes, mirrors, powder-boxes, shoe-horns, etc., can be brought into service. A pretty addition to the backs of brushes are the monograms of the owner.
It will be found when experimenting upon ivory, that the same technique is required as when burning upon leather, and both of these are easier to work upon than wood, although beginners usually experiment upon the most difficult - of course this is not wise.
It is not generally known that paper and cardboard can be ornamented in this manner, but when the worker has become an expert, 7 dainty and beautiful results can be obtained on both cardboard and paper. It is easier to manipulate pyrography with a new point on these materials than with one that has been used on the soft surface of leather or the polished surface of ivory. Little particles will cling to the point while the work is in progress, and require constant removal. Slight pressure only must be made, so that a brown line, not a black one, is indicated on the delicate surface. Cardboard of any colour is suitable, but that which has a rough surface is more decorative in its appearance and therefore better than the glazed surface. Water-colour and crayon papers are also adaptable, and from these many attractive little objects can be made, such as pen-wipers, shaving-cases, photograph frames, and other little fancy articles. In paper work delicate and sketchy designs should be selected, a touch here and there, lettering - in fact, anything suggestive rather than full of detail - is most suitable for this perishable background. Great care is required, as while working there is the liability of the paper igniting and vanishing into smoke; and I need hardly add that, owing to the inflammable quality of the benzine, caution is essential. Never have the bottle containing the benzine more than half-full, and keep it well corked. The work should not be done in a room with an open fire or near a light. There is no danger if such precaution is taken. Carelessness in handling the benzine may, however, result in serious accident.
Chest Designed And Executed By Miss H. K. Fobes.
A great many people prefer pyrography when it has the addition of colour - this is a matter of taste, however. Stains are sold especially adapted for this work, but many people prefer to use either oil or water-colour paints. However, the stains or water-colour paints are the best colour mediums, as they can be applied as thin washes. When the article is completed it must have a "finish" to protect it. Beeswax slowly melted in turpentine and put on with a cloth gives a soft effect. It must be gently rubbed with a cloth until a smooth surface results. If a shiny surface is desired, a pyrography lacquer can be obtained, which must be applied with a varnish brush. When dry rub it down with a rubbing powder, and apply another coat of lacquer. Care must be taken not to rub too hard or the colour underneath will be injured. A mixture of shellac and alcohol can be used in place of the lacquer, and afterwards the article can be sand - papered. A great many workers like the simple method of applying linseed oil. This also requires sand-papering and rubbing quickly and lightly with a rag.
I must caution my readers upon restraint in going into this craft. It would be in extremely bad taste to decorate in a wholesale manner all the small articles in the home. The beginner usually wants to decorate everything within sight, from the rolling-pin to reproducing in pyrography the heads of her friends. Only an artist may attempt portraiture in pyrography. A classical design let into the panels of a mantelpiece or into the back of an overmantel is well adapted to this work, but three-legged stools, bread-trenchers, and sofa pillows seem singularly inappropriate for pyrography.