Cross with woodburned letters

November 24, 2008


I took these pictures one morning in a flush of well being at having materials in my hands again. Despite the sadness of the commission ( a beloved family member of acquaintances of ours had passed away), having clear-cut craft work to do always lifts my spirits. There were tracings spread out all around the studio, I had my pens and inks out, and the smell of wood smoke (from burning the letters into the wood) let me fantasize for a short moment that I had a fireplace!

This cross is an example of one of our joint projects. Rende made the cross from iroko and I designed and burned the letters.

I had never burned letters into wood. The tool used for this is called a pyrograph, and Rende ordered one for me especially for this job. He gave me a large block of wood to practice on, and after several hours, the technique started to come naturally.

Iroko was chosen as an alternative to teak because it is forested in an ecologically  responsible way as opposed to teak, and it weathers well.  

It has a lot of little pits and grooves in the grain which made it difficult to letter on, but for some people this actually adds to the appeal of the burned letters. 

According to the family’s wishes, the quiet design and plain letters were very much in character with their mother and wife.
It was a satisfying job for us to do,  and I hope the family and friends of Mrs. B will derive some comfort from it when they visit the grave from time to time.

2 Responses to “Cross with woodburned letters”

  1. MadSilence Says:

    A simple & beautiful memorial. Is it meant for a cemetery? Is wood used often?
    I’ve noted a trend in American memorial art. The increasing popularity of informal, roadside & sidewalk memorials, art assemblages infused with personal meaning, ephemeral in nature.
    I’ve noted a trend in both American & European stone cemetery memorials toward increased personalization, with portraits on the deceased etc.

  2. Sarah Says:

    Hi MadSilence, yes it is meant for a cemetery, and no wood is not often used for memorials.
    I’ve also noticed the trend toward more personal markers. I used to get Letter Arts Review and they ran several articles showing modern memorials with beautifully carved letters in stone.

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