I love knitting, but I like to try to branch out when I'm making Christmas gifts. Pyrography is the art of burning images into wood (it's a fairly common folk craft) and I first tried it out this past summer. I decorated a cheap ikea cutting board for myself using a Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner pen, and my family's reaction to it was so positive that I decided they needed fancy cutting boards, too. Eventually I found two really nice chopping boards that fit in my budget (when I'm buying art supplies I like to factor in the cost of potentially buggering it up and having to start from scratch), and then the fun began.

I chose to decorate the boards with food sources the recipients could find in their own back yards. I wanted one side to be a meat and the other a vegetable, for separate cutting zones (food safety is serious shit, yo). For my sister and her boyfriend I chose apples and chickens. I have been known to make the hour plus drive to their house just to pilfer their amazing apples, and the neighbours' chickens certainly sound like they're in their yard. The same neighbours keep bees as well, but I felt that was a bit of a stretch in the meat category.

My parents got blackberries and deer. Their property used to be about 85% blackberry (it has since been cleared, to the benefit of less invasive plant life), and is now about 100% deer habitat. The deer are much maligned, as it turns out they will eat literally any plant to death, no matter how much research goes into deer-proof gardening. However, the next best meat option was the occasional rat, so we went with deer.

I found images I liked, modified them for simplicity as needed, and traced them onto the board using carbon transfer paper. Next, I filled in my tracing with the pyrography pen, using different nibs and techniques for texture. The whole process was relatively simple, and I only burned myself five or six times. I think I have some sort of cognitive block when it comes to don't touch hot things. If you're interested in trying pyrography you'll be glad to know that minor mistakes can be removed with fine sandpaper, but, alas, most marks are there for life. Embrace your flaws, I guess. Finally, I oiled the boards with a beeswax salad bowl finish. Wood cutting boards are quite food safe as long as they're kept well oiled so they don't become too porous. I love the final result and the boards seemed to go over really well on Christmas morning, which is the best part of all.

What do you think?

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