1st Gallery

G'day & Welcome to my site  

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I am a self-taught Pyrographer living in SE Queensland in Ipswich, Australia, (inland near Brisbane, about an hour from Toowoomba, or the Gold Coast).

Steve's Pyrography Logo

Source of photo: Me ! 

Using a needle pointed nib, I burnt the name of my website onto a piece of Mountain Ash.  Approximately 3000 dots, but I do not intend to count the dots on every piece I do....I prefer to listen to music whilst wood-burning!

I usually use a 1mm ball point to burn lettering, (see the Jewellery Box at the top of the page), however, whilst the needle point does take a long time, it does allow a finer font to be burnt.

Timbers with prominent grain can make burning curved or straight lines, with the needle point nib,  a little bit of a challenge, as the grain tends to direct the nib away from where you want to go. This means it can take longer to complete the lettering than using a broader point nib, say a 1mm ball point.

However, the potential to produce timber pieces with personalised messages, or name plaques for a project, with names and symbols and flourishes on a bespoke timber gift, is open for exploration!.....and I like a challenge :-)


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Renee Wigley, of DM Art and Photography Studio (Deans Marsh in Victoria), took the wonderful photo of Michelle (Earthen Ripples).    The earthy tones and the light vs. shadow are the essence of pyrography, and thus was the inspiration for this latest artwork.

Michelle and Nick love to share their knowledge of natural building, and are building their own cottage as a way to teach people about natural building and the connection to nature it creates.

This photo was taken during the building of their cottage.

The frame was pyro-carved with my version of tree bark. I had a look at some of the fruit trees in our back yard, to see what the branches looked like when a riser grows after the branch has been pruned. Thus the inspiration for the corners of the frame.                                                 The border was created to separate the main picture from the frame, otherwise the overall effect would have been too 'busy'.

An adage in completing portraits is "finish the face first, as this will be the hardest".   I should have listened, but I was engrossed in doing the frame, then the darkest part of the shadows, then the foot, dress and back wall......the face and hands were the hardest, mainly because the whole picture is slightly smaller than an A4, thus the lines and features are delicate and very small, especially when the pyrography nib is large in comparison (it felt like drawing a small picture with a wooden spoon!!).

In trying to burn on timber the fine delicate features of the face and hands, resulted in my sanding back and re-doing these about 8 times!! The dress (only re-done 4 times!) was a matter of reproducing the pattern of the material with reality vs. artistic licence.

The facial features however, had to be as accurate as could be (given my limited talent/experience with portraits), so starting with a picture this small was going to be challenge.

Especially as the light shining on Michelle, with her head looking to the side, reduced the detail of her face, so I had to try to convey the correct features (or lack thereof due to the light) without looking as though it was not finished.

Equally so was the issue with the hands - the smaller the picture - the more crucial will be each line and shadow.

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I had pyro-carved the tree (burnt and carved the timber with a solid pyrography nib) for a previous project. However, the first burning was 'flat' to look at, it did not give the impression of a round tree. 

So this time I shaped the edge of the timber in a curve down to the edge and started again. The overall shape of the timber piece is how I received it, I did not add the bottom curve. It's nice to have a picture that is not the standard shape.

The grass is done with the edge if the pyro-carve nib, which has a very sharp edge, thus allowing for the thin blades of grass to be shown.

This is a composite picture with many different elements to form each part of the picture. The carved tree is total imagination. The Moreton Bay Fig has different shapes from different trees. The house is a combination of different buildings and the background is the valley near the Blue Mountains.

So you don't have to get the perfect photo with all the elements....collect many photos and put in the favourite parts of those scenes...as well as a healthy portion of imagination :-)


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This Ukulele is a wedding present, from friends of the Bride & Groom. The picture has special significance, as this is the location of their engagement. 

This is a Ukulele kit, with unfinished timber, thus allowing some freedom for the decoration of your choice.

Source of Photo: Friends of Erin & Evan

The rectangle space between the bench and the park bridge, is where the (strings) bridge will be placed. This meant that the bench had to be slightly smaller than as it appears in the original photo, in order to fit into the space remaining and the shape of the Ukulele.

The decorations around the sound-hole, and around the side of the Ukulele, are taken from the design of the wedding invitation.

The usual method of shading was not going to produce enough of a variation in tones, due to the timber used for this ukulele kit. Therefore, I used a needle point tip, and used a 'pixel' method of burning...& thousands of varied temperature dots later, I finished the image!!

There has been a measure of 'artistic licence' with some of the detail...some of the bushes would be hard to reproduce, and using the 'pixel' or stipple method, I have come as close as I could without detracting from the primary focus of the picture...the Bench. 

The 'pixel' or stipple method is time consuming, but with this sort of timber, it allowed me to produce better shading, more detail,with darker tones & more contrast...far more detail than ordinary shading would have provided.

It was indeed a pleasure to be able to contribute towards this special gift, and I thank Joshua & Krystal for allowing me to burn this image.

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This piece of timber was part of an old coffee table project, ideal to achieve the medieval affect.

Each Jouster was photographed, by family, at different stages of their event, at the Medieval Festival, held at Musgrave Park in Brisbane 2006. (Australia)

The sample pictures combined to make the final choice of the the horses position, so it demonstrates your freedom to choose from the different photos you take, in order to create the scene you want

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Australian Stock Horse National Youth Show 2016

The Stock Whip is normally supplied as a finished item, meaning the shaft is sealed/'varnished'...ready for use.

In order to apply lettering to the shaft, this 'varnish' needs to be sanded back, and when sanding close to the leather and cord, I reverted to a scalpel blade to scrape off the sealant.

The lettering was applied using a needle nosed nib, thus the letters consist of very fine dots, in order to produce cleaned lined edges.

If I were to use a 1mm ball nib, it would not have taken as long to do each whip, but the effect would have been a 'rougher' look to the letters, which has its place, but not, I felt, on a whip that is a prize or an award.

The needle nosed nib still gives the lettering texture, but also produces a very neat appearance.

Thanks indeed Amanda, for the opportunity to contribute towards the National Youth Show.

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Jewellery Box Lid - Box made Ken James Custom Creations

This is part of the lid of a jewellery box that Ken made for his Niece.   The timber is Tasmanian Oak, which when sealed, will transform from the light colour above, to a rich honey colour.   'Harper' was burnt using a needle point nib, so it took a minimum of 100 dots to burn each of the small letters!   The needle point nib allows the burning of fine fonts, far more so than the 1mm ball point that I usually used.  

It is indeed wonderful to be able to contribute towards this special gift.


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These photos were taken, by me, at one of the EKKA Shows, at the Brisbane RNA Showgrounds in the pavilion that showcased different horse breeds. I had finished burning the Appaloosa, when I changed the theme...so within reason, some changes can be made after starting. 

WJ Brother in Arms - the Appaloosa also known as Arnie, was inducted into the Australian Appaloosa Hall of Fame in 2015.

Arnie is almost 26 years old and in good health.

Silky Oak is a highly grained timber, but soft enough to be able to carve as I burned to form the bark, the details in the feathers and to give the impression of a rough surface to the underside of the 'leather' pinned to a 'tree'.

This item has been sold. Many thanks to David Linton: Furniture and Timber Works, Maleny Qld.  

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2009 was the first year the Brisbane Ekka (Royal Queensland Show, Australia) has a class for Pyrography

I incorporated the 'defects' in the timber to portray scars incurred from surviving life in the wild. The timber is Tasmanian Huon Pine, a beautifully grained and fragrant timber, ideal for all types of shading and detail.

Here are the 'defects' in the timber that I incorporated into the Lion's head to give the impression of scars fro a tough life in the wild

 This item has been sold. Many thanks to David Linton: Furniture and Timber Works, Maleny Qld.  

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Chloe: Cattle Dog Cross - This is a gift to a friend for their 50th Birthday.

Source of Photo: The owner of Chloe 

I chose to alter the direction of the eyes to give a more interesting expression to the face. The edge of the timber was burnt using a butane blowtorch. It gives a blacker colour than burning with the metal tip and still allows some of the grain to show through.

As for the extra light areas in the photo, I chose to burn the detail of the fur instead, as it didn't feel right not to show the detail of the fur, which is evident upon closer inspection of the photo.

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Entja: Friesian gelding - This is a gift to a friend who has been a wonderful help and support with our horses.

Source of Photo: Ann Jeffree

The mane was burnt with a knife edged solid tip. I thoroughly enjoy being immersed in the checking of the detail and then letting the hot tip flow on the timber to create the tumbled windswept hair. 

Some colours do require a measure of 'artistic licence' between the shade burnt and the actual colour of the subject. It is the balance of realism vs. creativity. The colour in this photo is not as rich as the original artwork; to show more detail of the mane made the body too light.                                       

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 I promised this one to Mum 

This picture was taken whilst participating at the Abbey Medieval Festival at Caboolture, about 2 hours north of Brisbane QUEENSLAND, in 2007. 

Wimballan Harker's Geordie is our Gypsy Cob Stallion, and we were invited to participate with the Shuvani Romani (Gypsy) Re-enactment Group

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Jewellery Box Lid

Mitch, with guidance from his Grandfather, spent many hours making a multi-level jewellery box for his girlfriend. 

I am proud to have been able to contribute towards this special gift.

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Ridge: Gypsy Cob Stallion from Windenvale Gypsy Cobs: This is a gift to friends who have helped us immensely and also with our horses.

Source of Photo: Windenvale Gypsy Cobs

Poplar is a soft timber ideally suited to pyrography (or woodburning) with varying grain, however, it allows relief burning & carving to give texture in the mane, the fine hairs on the forehead and the condition of the timber posts. Horses are a favourite subject due to their structure, mane, eyes, facial features, expression and nobility

Here's a bit of a side track from Pyrography...I bought some sassafras veneer, and designed and made this Key Holder for Adie, for an anniversary present. 

The nails that hold the keys are horse shoe nails. The timber is a piece of Jarrah that I  'rescued' (re-assigned for my purposes!) from the garden shed that had been there for a long forgotten project .

I suppose an obvious question would be, "why didn't I burn the features of the horses onto the veneer"....The veneer can be quite brittle, and not entirely flat. In order to get some of the detail of the horse, meant I could penetrate the veneer, which can lead to cracking, which makes it even harder to adhere to the timber, as the veneer tends to curl up when the glue is applied, and  I had to carefully roll it back down onto the timber. 

There quite possibly are easier/better ways to do it, but it was my first foray into the world of veneer. (That's my excuse and I am sticking to it :-) 

Once the veneer is glued to the timber, then yes I have a flat surface, but the glue can interfere with the burn and it then looks obvious as to what has happened.

The more sites promoting this art-form, the better the chance of inspiring budding artists to explore this wonderful medium.