Andi started by turning a small bowl, later used for surface decoration and discussed form. She turned the bowl, removed the tool marks with shear scraping and sanded the surface to 1200 grit. She does this for pyrography and coloring, but for carving and scorching the bowl can be used right off the tool.
She used a black gesso base and paints with a nylon brush. Her special effects are obtained by mixing colors, metallic paint, interference paints and technique.
She cautioned that one must start with a vessel that has good form. Applying the surface decoration to a poor form will make it look worse.
She next did a slide show and PowerPoint presentation on her work showing an evolution from “Brown and Round” to the most incredible “Dylan’s Song”. She gets her inspiration from macroscopic and microscopic structures in seeds, plants and leaves. She talked about finding your “own voice” and the Art of Seeing.
Texturing, carving and scorching for surface enhancement:
Andi uses all these techniques in her work and sometimes uses all of them in one piece. One method she used was a reciprocating chisel where she replaced the chisel with a rounded-off nail and beat the surface to give it texture. For her, hand chisels are too slow and hard on the body and therefore she uses power chisels. Throw away the ones that come with the tool and buy Flexcut chisels. Sharp chisels are a must, for safety.
Harbor Freight has a micro-torch for about $10.00 that is useful for scorching. In some designs she carves a design and enhances it with scorching and also does the background with a random pattern of a beaten surface.
One method that works well with wood that has well-defined growth rings is to burn the surface with a propane torch and brush off the soft material with a wire brush. This gives a very nice enhancement of the growth rings. She then oils and polishes the surface.
Pyrography or get out your old wood burning set? Not really; the adult model costs $189 and up and she recommends the Detail Master. Sharpen the tips to make them more useful. The goal is to have the tip actually cut the wood in addition to burning it.
Design: Fill negative space. She uses paper templates drawn from leaves and other forms and tries not to use the same template more than once on each piece. She rolls the template design over from outside to the inside surface.
Pyrography tips: Use high temperatures – red hot. Use steady rate of speed and roll wood under tip of burner. Use fairly high pressure and burn design to a depth on 1/16″. She uses the 10A tip for outline of the template that she has lightly drawn on the piece with soft pencil, and for detail uses the 6A tip and turn temperature down but still uses high pressure.
Before painting, clean surface with alcohol, ethanol or isopropyl alcohol (91%). Try to avoid the 70% as the water content raises the wood grain.
Coloring: transparent colors and acrylic paint:
She uses Prisma color marking pens, these are clear inks. Wet wood with alcohol before applying colors. She uses several colors and blends then with alcohol when necessary. For pigmented colors she uses ZIG markers. To apply just a small amount of color she uses a brush to pick up some color from a Prisma marker and applies it to the wood.
After applying the colors she applies Krylon fixedent followed by a mat finish and then applies an UV resistant finish. Final coat is Watco Danish oil or some other clear oil. Not pure Tung oil.
She applied two colors at once by dipping each corner of her brush into a different color paint. One was a metallic paint and the other a regular color. She uses a dry brush technique. Light application of paint; “let colors show through”. Sand with 320 grit to remove raised grain. She mixed regular colors, metallics and interference paint in a random pattern.
Look at her web site for photos in addition to those below: Andi Wolfe Webpage.