This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
Leather is a material that lends itself admirably to pyrographic decoration. Among the numerous articles which are made up and sold for this purpose are cushions, glove-boxes, blotters, collar-boxes, and photograph frames, the colour of the leather being a pretty light or dark brown. They may be obtained with suitable designs ready printed upon them, and only requiring to be burnt in. In etching on leather, great care must be taken to keep the point comparatively cool, and to put in the strokes with a light, sweeping touch. Too heavy a stroke, or the slightest halt whilst the point is in contact with the material, may burn a hole. The lines burn a very rich brown, and, by the aid of the shading attachments, some exquisite tone effects may be produced.
In working upon a piece of unmounted leather, it is first necessary to have it well stretched over a board and fastened down with drawing pins. Unless this is done, the heat of the point will most likely draw it up in places. The kind of leather to be used will naturally vary according to the purpose it is to serve. For fancy articles the best effects are undoubtedly obtained on a light brown calf, which has a fine smooth surface and is easy to work upon.
To trace on a design it is only necessary to moisten the leather slightly, and, having fastened on the design, go over it carefully with an agate point. The impression should not be too hard, or the marks will be deep and render it more difficult to burn.
Pyrogravure on velvet or velveteen is becoming very popular, especially with ladies. Only such material as has a fairly thick pile should be selected, so that the process of burning is not attended with the serious risk of destroying the threads which form the structure of the fabric. There are certain tones of velvet which show up the delicate etched line to great advantage, chief among them being old gold, olive green, pale gray, light fawn, and salmon pink. Burning upon old gold gives a particularly handsome appearance.
Working on this material will be found quite easy, for the point glides smoothly over the surface without any of the jumps or hesitation which sometimes occur when burning a piece of hard wood. The best tool to use for velvet is the one known as the "Claw," which has a very line, curved point, and is capable of making thick or thin strokes. Unlike leather, velvet has to be worked with the point at full red heat, but the point must be used very lightly and quickly.
A great obstacle to working on velvet or velveteen is the difficulty of drawing upon such a soft and yielding surface. To transfer a design in the ordinary way with tracing paper is almost an impossibility, and the most practical way is to go carefully over the back of the design with a sharp pointed piece of charcoal, and then press it down on the stuff. This will leave an impression sufficient to follow with the "poker" point.
All the objects mentioned just now for leather are also to be obtained covered with velvet instead, with designs already lithographed upon them.
Points must always be well cleaned after burning, to free them from any corrosive matter. The simplest way to do this is to put a little knife powder on a piece of wash-leather, and rub the point with it until all the deposit has been removed.
Glass admits of decoration by burning with the point, but it is scarcely to be recommended for the purpose, owing to the rather poor results obtained, and because it quickly destroys the platinum points. The following hints, however, maybe found useful should anyone wish to attempt something in glass burning; -
The same outfit as for wood is used, but a stronger, point than usual should be employed, as it has to stand intense heat. The design is fastened under the glass so that it can be seen through it. The point is kept at white heat, and, when drawn over the surface, it etches the lines. Only subjects of a bold character should be chosen, and if the background is to be left plain the design should be well shaded. Ordinary glass is used, but care must be taken that it is not too thin.
W. D. Thompson.
Decorative Motive from an Old Chinese Porcelain Vase.
Some Books Of Permanent Value For The Art Worker's And The Art Lover's Library.
By Professor E. Lanteri.
"IT would be difficult to overrate the value and excellence of this work, into which Professor Lanteri has put everything that is needful for the young sculptor to knew," wrote the late Onslow Ford in his Preface to the first volume. For our own part, we have more than once referred to both volumes in terms of unqualified approval. In point of mere criticism there is little more to say; but as "Modelling" is emphatically one of the works to be included in our category of "Books of Permanent Value for the Art Worker, and Art Lover's Library," we can do no better than point out more in detail the Professor's method of instruction. Incidentally, we would remark that in availing ourselves of the kind permission of the publishers to select such of the blocks as might serve our purpose, we have been tempted to show our readers the dainty little pencil portrait of the author, which his friend and compatriot, Professor Legros, contributed as the frontispiece of the first volume. Of course, it has nothing to do with the subject in hand, except as a striking likeness of the author; but we fancy it is a model of a kind that will delight thousands of young people who "draw a little," and occasionally practise on their family or friends.