| Aug 06, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - August 6, 2009 Pyrographer joins local artisans’ guildby Julie Druker

Pyrographer Rysha Colp, new to the Land O’ Lakes Artisans Guild, shows her work for the first time at Art by the Beach in Sharbot Lake

On August 1 & 2, 11 members of the Land O’ Lakes Artisans Guild (LOLAG) participated in the Art by the Beach show, an eclectic presentation of art and craft work held at Oso Beach in Sharbot Lake.

Paintings, pottery, wood turning, photography, weaving and fabric arts were all part of this year’s goodies for sale.

Showing for her first time with the guild was new member Rysha Colp, a pyrographer who creates realistic images of animals on basswood panels, walking sticks and wooden necklaces.

Using the tools of a pyrographer, scalpel-like instruments with pin-like tips that heat up and are attached to a dial by which the heat can be adjusted, Rysha creates drawings by burning into the wood.

She begins with a basswood panel that she purchases and sands down until it is silky smooth. Using a pencil, she roughs out a simple drawing of her image. She then build ups the image in layers, beginning with lighter tones and eventually darkening it down. She will often add small touches of oil crayon to her images to heighten the contrast and also to bring out the eyes.

Eyes are an important part of each image, as Rysha explained. “My favorite part to do is the eyes and people often comment how realistic my images look because of the eyes. I don’t do plants even though I love them. In pyrography they kind of leave me cold so I stick to either animals or people.”

Though she has been working in this medium only since October 2007, she won a first place award in the Ottawa Wood Show that year for the first pyrography piece she made. The next year in the same show she won 1st place in the intermediate category. Obviously her art background has helped her get far very fast.

Rysha, who currently resides in Ottawa, graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1982 but has since acquired a degree in psychology and worked in animation for a number of years.

Her current work also includes figurative life drawings, which she plans to explore in the medium of wood by delving into low relief wood carving. Similarly she is currently trying to perfect a line of wooden mobiles. She explained, “I’m still looking for the perfect ratio of the wing span to the body so that the mobile will hang and move correctly.” Other future explorations include burning into heavy watercolour paper, an experiment she’s anxious to explore.

Rysha recently became aware that Irish ancestors on her mother’s side were wood carvers and her grandfather and great grandfather on her father’s side worked as lumbermen in the mills of Nova Scotia. Thus it is in her blood and perhaps the reason she has finally ended up working and excelling as an artist in wood. She is definitely an interesting addition to the local artists’ guild here.

Rysha will be showing her work next at the Women’s Art Festival at City Park in Kingston on August 16.

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