“The creatures that share our planet are not separate and distinct from us. They are us. Our treatment of them and the environment reflects our attitudes about ourselves. There is no us and them. There is only One. Dualities are an illusion, definitions of something that is intrinsically undefinable. In viewing my art I hope to inspire a connection and an awakening that fosters the awareness that we are all responsible for and deeply connected to and an inseparable part of the natural world around us.”
Pyrography is a metaphor for life, the creation of art using a natural process and surface is a reflection of the cycle of life itself. The burning of the wood- destruction or death – gives birth to new life – in an image. It is only in working with the natural surface of the wood that true harmony is revealed.
Unlike most pyrographers Sharon works with the grain patterns of the wood using not only the movement of the grain but also wormholes, knots, and missing bark to enhance the image As in the traditional Japanese art of Sumi-e, it is Sharon’s goal to capture the Life Essence or Ki of the subject. Each burning is an intimate portrait revealing personality, emotion, and timelessness. It is her goal that the viewer connect at a deep level with not only the subject but the wood and so realize the interconnectedness of us all in the never-ending circle of life.
Each piece of wood is unique. Its own history told within each line of grain and ring marking the passage of time. The grain pattern itself whispers possibilities for a painting. The burning instruments range from the open flame of a blow torch to various heated metal surfaces, soldering irons, and burning blades. Transparent pigment washes are used in conjunction with natural oil based wood stains to enhance the image while allowing the grain and character of the wood to remain prominent.
The pyrographic process itself is a highly sensitive experience. The smell of burning wood relaxes the mind and body. Fast burns contrast with slow burns trailing whisps of smoke. Texture created by the burning adds a tactile aspect to the artwork. A delicate dance between the artist, materials, tools and process ends in the final orchestration of image.
“Every slice of wood hides an image within its grain waiting to be revealed.”
Sharon C. Bechtold