The first Exhibition of Pyrography on Leather, Wood and Paper opened in Sarajevo


The first exhibition of pyrography on leather, wood and paper in Bosnia-Herzegovina was opened on Wednesday at the premises of the KreArtivci Association in Sarajevo.

Association president Leila Popara says the exhibit featured around 150 exhibits and is the only exhibition in the region.

“The works were created over a period of five months as part of the ‘Creative Pyrography’ project, which was realized with the assistance of the Municipality of Stari Grad Sarajevo,” said Popara.

She added that some of the works taken by students in their other courses were also exhibited.

The exhibit is open until January 18th from 3pm to 8pm at the premises of the association at Nova br. 1 Street a Skenderija settlement in Sarajevo.

Pyrography or pyrogravure is the free handed art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as pokerwork or wood burning.

The term means “writing with fire”, from the Greek pur (fire) and graphos (writing). It can be practiced using specialized modern pyrography tools, or using a metal implement heated in a fire, or even sunlight concentrated with a magnifying lens. “Pyrography dates from the 17th century and reached its highest standard in the 19th century. In its crude form it is pokerwork.”

A large range of tones and shades can be achieved. Varying the type of tip used, the temperature, or the way the iron is applied to the material all create different effects. After the design is burned in, wooden objects are often coloured. Light-coloured hardwoods such as sycamore, basswood, beech and birch are most commonly used, as their fine grain is not obtrusive. However, other woods, such as maple, pine or oak, are also used.

Pyrography is also applied to leather items, using the same hot-iron technique. Leather lends itself to bold designs, and also allows very subtle shading to be achieved. Specialist vegetable-tanned leather must be used for pyrography (as modern tanning methods leave chemicals in the leather which are toxic when burned), typically in light colours for good contrast.

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