Word of the Day: Pyrogravure

Kids, hide your toys. Traci Bautista is about to give moms and dads a reason to go digging for your wooden blocks.

I like to joke, but all kidding aside, Bautista has great ideas for printmaking, including using this common toy to create unique stamps. Her new book, Printmaking Unleashed: More Than 50 Techniques for Expressive Mark Making is now available. While browsing it, I came across a term that I hadn't seen before: pryogravure. It might be new to you, too. Bautista explains, "Pyrogravure is the art of decorating wood with burn marks made with a heated tool. Turn kids' wooden blocks into handmade stamps by inscribing them with doodles and heat tools."

This art journal page by Bautista has been stamped with pyrogravure blocks, stencils, and found tools.
Learn even more techniques in Traci Bautista's Printmaking Unleashed Kit, available here.  

Pyrogravure Wood Blocks on Fabric (from Printmaking Unleashed)

Draw Designs in Wood Blocks: 
Attach the desired nib and turn on the heat tool. Place the hot tip of the tool to the wood and draw the design. Doodle into the wood with the tip of the heat tool.
Paint Block: 
Apply fabric paint to the textured wood-burned stamp using a foam pouncer in a soft dabbing motion to make sure paint does not get stuck in the crevices.
Stamp Block: 
While the wooden block stamp is still wet, press it onto a fabric surface like super muslin. Repeat the stamped pattern until you are satisfied with the look and feel.

Web Extra: Pyrogravure Tips and Ideas from Traci Bautista
• Make sure the carving tool is turned off and cool when changing tips, and work in a well-ventilated area.
• Draw a pattern or design on the wood with a pencil to use as a drawing guide.
• To achieve a better quality print, make sure to place a piece of felt or a towel underneath the fabric to provide a better cushion for stamped images.
• If your design has tiny intricate marks, place your fabric over the top of the painted wooden block and burnish with a spoon or barren to help transfer the entire print.
• Use a smooth fabric like muslin or drill cloth for an even print. Fabrics with a lot of texture like duck cloth may not print the design clearly.

Want more? Get your copy of Printmaking Unleashed here; and watch a cool video (below) of this artist in action.

Warm regards,

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