Art Angle is a new column by Jason Myerson. Interviews with Ottawa artists about their craft and the creation of a business. Their stories are a curious mix of personality and of the professional.
“Get excited and enthusiastic about your own dream. This excitement is like a forest fire—you can smell it, taste it, and see it from a mile away.” — Denis Waitley
I first saw Lindsey’s Carcass Pyrography wood burning work while standing in the back of the line at a local butcher shop. The detailed artwork, playful and intricate designs all burned into kitchenware, made it the perfect addition to the shop. As the line grew shorter my focus was pulled closer to the detail of the artwork. Even the cards hanging from the wood burnt products had the touch of torch that made the whole experience feel authentic. The name came ringing in with my order of meat—Carcass. I commented to the butcher how perfect the product and name went with the shop, and he smiled. When I asked who made this beautiful work, he said with a quiet admiration, “That’s my love, Lindsey Leach.”
When I was first introduced to Lindsey, it was a fruitful conversation. We chatted in a group of like-minded people and the conversation rolled around the table, ideas blooming like wildflowers. When I asked Lindsey how she came to pyrography, she explained, “It was a gift. No, literally.” She first bought the wood burning tool as a gift for her partner, though after his lackadaisical attempts to express much interest, the tool was left untouched. Although, it wasn’t long before Lindsey found herself drawn towards the torch. She started by burning on wooden boxes, making fun and simple designs for friends and family before realizing that she couldn’t stop. She loved it: getting lost in the form and function, while the hours burned in parallel. When Lindsey was then gifted a professional burning kit, her creativity embraced it with the output of obsessiveness that envelops all artists, and her skill level flourished.
“Some people don’t realize how long it actually takes.”
Fuelled with a new found passion, Lindsey decided to put her skills to the test in the open market by first displaying them in the store front of the butcher shop. The test was a success, and as the supply dwindled down, Lindsey realized her long hours after full-time work were starting to pay off. Soon custom orders sprouted in the time she had taken to restock the store. Custom orders meant finding the right piece of wood, prepping, sanding, drawing, and finally, wood burning. A steady hand in a busy time speaks of her commitment to the craft.
“I look at a variety of pictures taking what I want from each angle and perspective, then draw free hand with pencil directly on the wood.” Lindsey works directly with her customers to collect the details for her drawings. However, for artists like Lindsey who are new to entrepreneurship, it’s difficult to name a price for what they are committing to spend the majority of their lives honing. In Lindsey’s craft, there are those touting as handmade wood burners as the perfection of their laser machine tells of their lies. Whenever we seek craftwork, but see only price over expression, price over time taken, or price over people, we miss a quality of character.
The natural work of one-of-a-kind and the uniqueness in the handcrafts inspires the personalized appreciation of one another in that very light.
When drawing was the first way to communicate stories, wood burning wasn’t far off with the discovery of fire and, like stories, brought us closer together. Early humans first used ash and soot to make art. Further through time we learned to use the heat itself with metal rods plunged in flame before burning designs on leather or gourds. Since then, the ancient art has caught on to become the skilled craft of Pyrography. Lindsey Leach is a bearer of that torch, and carrying also the ability to bring people together with her beautiful hand-burned kitchenware, that tells of a story.
Lindsey plans on offering wood-burning workshops so you can create your own story. You can stay updated with Lindsey Leach’s creative pyrography designs on her Instagram page @carcasspyrography, and send your custom orders to firstname.lastname@example.org.