I was sent a copy of Michele Parsons’ book, “Leather Pyrography a Beginner’s Guide” to review. I’m fairly new to burning on leather, so I was excited when Fox Chapel Published contacted me about this book. This blog will cover my review of the book and the skill level I think the book is good for.
Full Disclosure: But first, I need to provide a full disclosure. I did not purchase the book and, other than the value of the book, I am not being paid for this review. While I do provide a link to the book (below) on Amazon, I do not receive compensation of any sort from the sale of this book.
Afterwards Michele covers the basics tools for pyrography and leather working. With the pyrography portion she covers the basics of the burners; their seminaries and differences. Then she covers pen tips for both wire and solid point tips. The pen tips are grouped into general categories and she explains how she uses them. I do want to point out that she includes both wire and solid pen tips in this, so people using soldering iron or craft burners have an idea of which pen tip to use.
Burning Techniques is a very helpful chapter that covers a lot of information. For example, Michele talks about burning temperatures and different temperature ratings for some craft burners. She also discusses common burn stroke mistakes and ways to prevent them.
The chapter on color and finishes provided some great information. One of her tips was how to use leather resist and dyes to create contrast between the leather and the pyrography. This is something I plan to try!
The chapter on color ends with test panels, and her findings on the test panels. Each test panel is broken down into squares that are filled with different burn strokes or color. Then she coats the squares with different types of leather finish or sealant. I would have to say that I had no idea how many finishes there are. This photo only shows a fraction of her test panel. An added benefit is that she also tested to see how colors and finishes handled sun exposure, so she did a lot of work that can benefit the reader!
The majority of the book explains how to create the different projects. Each project gives you a skill level, a supply list, and a large full color picture. Then she provides a number of pictures with easy to follow explanations to create the item from start to finish. So transferring a pattern, burning in the design, fixing any mistakes, add color (if used), and sealing the work.
Another thing I found interesting was how she showed you various ways to use the same basic pattern to create different items. I liked this because you are not trying to learn more complex pyrography while also trying to learn more complex leather crafting. Plus it gave you a matching set of leather items that would be a wonderful gift set!
Another aspect of her projects that I liked is that the photos are large enough to easily see what is going one. Each photo has written instructions that I thought were easy to understand. If there are little tricks she has learned over the years, she shares them in a TIP box.
There are two advanced projects in the book. One explains how to craft a fringed pillow, and the other explains how to create a 3D quail. The advanced projects brings me to another aspect of her book that I liked; she used as many pages as she needed to fully explain the projects. I have seen some books where each project, regardless of its difficulty level, is given the same number of pictures and print space.
The book ends with a chapter on patterns. Michele not only includes the patterns for the different projects, but she also includes a wide assortment of other patterns. This way if you don’t like the image she used, you can easily switch it out for another. All of the patterns come in two formats; line drawing, as shown here, and a shaded version. This way you have the simplified line drawing for transferring to the leather and the shaded version as a guideline for burning the design on the leather.
This is a great book for pyrography artists of ANY skill level who wants to get into working with leather. I think Michele presented several projects very suitable for beginners in both pyrography and leatherworking. Her advanced skill projects will give you something to strive for.
Novice. This is a person who has never tried pyrography, is just getting into it, or has very limited experience in the art form.
Beginner. This is a person who some experience in pyrography. They are starting to gain an understanding of the basics.
Intermediate. This is an experienced pyrography artist who has mastered the basics, but is still working on becoming proficient in the more advanced burn styles of pyrography.
Advanced. This artist can replicate almost anything they see with little to no instructions.
Expert. An artist of this level can replicate anything without instructions.
I think that this book is perfect for those interested in creating functional art using leather. I thought her instructions were easy to follow along with. Plus the pyrography art for the beginner to intermediate projects were within a beginner’s ability to create. I was very impressed with the number of photos that were large enough to easily see what they are.
If you are interesting in learning the basics of leather working and adding pyrography to the project this is a great book to have on hand. I’m excited to try crafting some of Michele’s projects!
Until the next blog,
Dec 27, 2019
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