“The ABCs of Woodburning”




  This book was designed with the beginner in mind. It explains how woodburning works from the features to look for when buying your first burning system to how the size & shape of the pens determine which ones are best suited for the different techniques used to do feathers, fur and foliage. How shading is used to make your burnings look more realistic is explained in detail but using the pens just for texture with little or no color is covered too. No one can cover every possible question but I’ve included all the things that experienced artists take for granted but first time students often wonder about ( like how to get a pattern traced on the wood ~ there’s 4 pages about that ).

In addition to woodburning techniques I’ve added hints for sealing, painting, finishing and even framing your burnings…. plus information for those working with leather or gourds. A pattern is a big help so I’ve included patterns for the chipmunk, horse, tiger and the kitten on the cover as well as a chickadee, rooster, quail and owl. Since all patterns limit you to someone else’s designs there are also instructions for making your own patterns and advice on how to do portraits of your pets instead of generic cats and dogs. Bonnie Gibson did a review of the book in her newsletter ( see it at http://www.arizonagourds.com/March2017 ) and this was the part she liked best. The easiest way to learn is to copy and let another artist work out the problems but throughout the book I encourage you to personalize your work whenever possible to make it unique and one of a kind. My goal is to provide you with inspiration as much instruction.

The book is paperback, 112 pages with lots of photos and sells for $19.95 plus shipping

You can order by contacting me at    orchidwdavis@gmail.com

Bird Carving with a sense of humor

humorous bird carvingAll bird carving doesn’t have to be serious…….. here’s my carving of a “Rednecked Georgia Cracker Bird”

But here too I had to use reference material. I don’t drink beer so I had to walk down the side of the road at least a dozen yards before I found an old Coors can I could copy.  Couldn’t use a real one, everything had to be carved out of wood.

He’s carved for the “Strange and Unusual Birds” contest we had at our carving show back in the mid-90s . Being politically correct wasn’t such an issue back then and anyway I was from South Carolina so it was my duty to poke fun at Georgians whenever possible.

He’s wearing an Atlanta Braves baseball cap, an NRA belt buckle, smoking an unfiltered
cigarette while eating a supersized McDonald’s french fries. The tattoo on his left wing is
a heart with “Mom” in it. and he has , of course, a beer belly.

They’re the only species that never suffers from loss of habitat. They build nests out of
roadside trash and use old beer cans for a foundation so there’s always plenty on hand.

Burning and bird carving is fun… don’t take the fun out of your work… enjoy it !

Gourd Pyrography to Delight & Dazzle: A Workshop with Orchid

gourd necklaces with pyrography and painting by Orchid W DavisIn April, Orchid will be leading a workshop for the Marion County Gourd Artists on making beautiful gourd necklaces.

Orchid has a talent for making stunning gourd necklaces.  I have looked closely at her tiger gourd necklace and it is beautiful right down to the beads and leather. (As a fan and guest blogger I can write this!)

I must admit I haven’t seen anything like the necklaces that are going to be made in this workshop.  When I asked if there were turquoise stones in the turtle necklace on the left (pictured above) Orchid said the real technique she’ll be teaching is how to burn and paint the gourds to look like they have gemstones.  This seems like a kind of Orchid-alchemy.

The class is on April 19 , 2014. The class fee is $10 and you need to bring your burners and graphite.  Orchid will provide 2 patterns, a gourd cutout ready to burn and leather cord. If you decide you don’t want to make a necklace, then bring a pin back or magnet for your refrigerator.  More information can be found on the Marion County gourd artists website.  Be sure to register here.

My Wrendition of a Carolina Wren: The Creative Process

wren-silhouette333A couple of months ago I met a lady who fearlessly decided to catapult me into the 21st century and onto the Internet via the website you see before you.

After posting a couple of simple things — for example, a story about my first time woodburning a tiger — she then suggested it might be interesting to show how I arrive at a new artistic creation.

Since I’m presently designing a logo for her and trying to incorporate it into her business of making Native American Style flutes I decided to combine some of my current goals and document my efforts in her behalf as an example of the creative process.       Read more …

Another version of the tiger: A Gourd Necklace


woodburned gourd tiger necklace

Click image for larger version

A tiger burned then painted on an oval section of gourd   2  3/4 inches wide and 3 1/2 inches tall was easier and faster to do simply because there was a lot less of it than the original which was done on basswood plate 12 inches wide.

Also, because gourds are pretty unpredictable, I tend to make their patterns bold, simple and easy.

I taught this a few years ago in Sarasota and was absolutely delighted with the beautiful quality of the necklaces (plus the fact that everyone finished                  by 5 o’clock).

One of the things I try to do in every class, and will be sure to do in my new book, is to have two or more versions of a subject. The same design can be easy or exhausting, depending on how much detail you include, the size of your art and how friendly the medium you’re working with.

The same design can be easy or exhausting, depending on how much detail you include, the size of your art and how friendly the medium you’re working withWood is my personal favorite and not just because of it’s workability. I’m not perfect and one of the things I love most about wood is that after I’ve spent hours (or maybe days) on a piece if I slip up and make a little boo boo I don’t have to toss it out                             I CAN SAND IT OFF !

Gourds, plywood and leather are all used for pyrography with often beautiful results but if you make a mistake you’ll find these materials hold a grudge. When using them I advise trying anything new on a piece of scrap first. It’s no guarantee of success but at least you’ll have a better chance.

Creating References for Woodburning and Carving

Owl by Orchid W Davis

A good close-up of a Great Horned Owl that shows his eyes, and feather detail. You can almost tell what he’s thinking.

Having reference photos to help you prepare for woodburning or carving is essential according to Orchid.

Read the full article on Creating References for Woodburning and Carving or click on the page “Reference Photos

Orchid W. Davis: My first woodburned tiger

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I remember woodburning this Tiger because it was against my will.

I was in Blue Ridge, GA  teaching a woodburning class. One of my students walked into the room and became enthusiastic about burning a tiger.  He had seen some of my reference photos.

I didn’t have a tiger pattern at the time and told him to go ahead and start from the photo.

That night I stayed up til two in the morning burning my version of the tiger you see in this post.

Was I tired the next day!

But the student appreciated my efforts and his final tiger piece was one of the best pieces of wood burning created in that class.