Oktoberfest Vendors have been a long-standing tradition throughout the Oktoberfest festivities hosted by the German American Friendship Society of Pinellas County. 2018 Oktoberfest attracted a wide variety of vendors offering handicrafts, home-baked treats, imported goods and more.
My original plan was to interview several of the vendors and publish their stories. But, as usual, once the Oktoberfest whirlwind swept me into a never-ending motion, I was not able to stop in the Fest Hall for long enough to do so. Luckily, I found time to talk to one lady vendor, who impressed me with her pyrography artwork.
"Pyrography or pyrogravure is the 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." Source
About Wood Burning Art
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."
Carolyn was married to a man who was a wood burner since he was 9 years old. He was also a great wood carver. All thanks to his grandfather who was instructing him during the winter months when there wasn't much else to do on the farm.
Carolyn has never done any wood crafting before. But when encouraged by her husband, she tried it one day and realized the she, too, was able to do the wood handicrafts. Until recently she only did the wood burning. Now she is carving, too.
As a vendor, Carolyn has been coming to Pinellas Park Oktoberfest since 1974!
Thank you, Carolyn, for your loyalty - and for all the beautiful art pieces you make and share!
Interesting facts about pyrography/pyrogravure/pokerwork/wood burning:
- 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.
- Pyrography is also popular among gourd crafters and artists, where designs are burned onto the exterior of a dried hard-shell gourd.
- The process has been practiced by a number of cultures including the Egyptians and some African tribes since the dawn of recorded history.
- Pyrography is a traditional folk art in many parts of Europe, including Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Flanders, as well as Argentina and other areas in South America.