News ID: 321972
Published: 1113 GMT May 30, 2022

Pyrography: A calming craft revived in Iran

Pyrography: A calming craft revived in Iran

Iranica Desk

Wood burning, or pyrography, is an art whereby your hands decorate wood with the controlled application of burn marks to create simple or intricate designs. The craft, which was long forgotten in Iran, has been revived once again. The beautiful and valuable artworks produced by Iranian young artists can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Born in 1989, Masoumeh Pourbakht is an Iranian pyrography artist who draws arabesque motifs and miniatures on ney (a type of end-blown flute).


Please tell us about yourself and how you got acquainted with pyrography.

I have been doing oil paintings since I was nine, but I got into wood burning art six years ago. I did not take any training classes for it. My brother was playing the ney, and he asked me to draw a design on his ney using a soldering iron, and I did so at his insistence. After that, everyone who saw the ney liked it and asked me to do the same for them.


What do you know about the history of pyrography in Iran?

A large number of the ancient Iranian wood burning works are related to pyrography on leather, dating back to the Seljuk Era (1037-1194 CE). Using hot sticks, they drew various designs on leather and used the artworks to cover valuable books, especially the Holy Qur’an. In later periods, wood burning art became more common and it was used for decorating wooden dishes and sculptures.


Would you please explain how pyrography works?

First, the wooden surface is smoothed and then the design is drawn on it. Most artists put stencil on the wood piece and burn its inside. Others copy the designs on the wood surface and then burn their lines using a soldering iron. But since I’m familiar with painting and calligraphy, I draw the designs myself. I am interested in Islamic motifs and miniature. I also draw poems related to the motifs.


What are the differences between pyrography on wood and on ney?

Pyrography on ney is much more difficult because the surface of the instrument is very slippery and has a lot of curvature. That’s why I hold my breath to have better control over the process.


Is it a hard and tedious craft?

No, it’s very enjoyable. Focusing on the work refines your mind and frees it from negative thoughts. I do it whenever my mind is tired; it really works like yoga. Working with wood is a very calming experience. The calmness reaches its peak when the smell of wood rises during the work.


What recommendations do you have for women?

I recommend that they use their power, skills and knowledge in any way they can to participate in social activities. They should learn various skills and try to be useful for their community. It would help make them feel satisfied with their lives.



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