"If you can follow a line with a crayon, you can do this art."
INMAN — Picking up a new art skill may not be as hard as you think.
Artfully Creative Studio, 110 S. Main St. in Inman, is adding wood burning to their repertoire of classes which include sessions on photography, crafts, painting and more.
"If you can follow a line with a crayon, you can do this art," said instructor Gail Wolfe.
Participants will learn how to use a wood burning tool with a heated tip to burn lines onto a piece of wood.
"This is a fun, fun art," Wolfe said. "It's an excellent coping skill for people, because you can absolutely destroy something and still make it pretty."
The wood burning classes will begin July 20. Over the course of four weeks, participants will create designs of a rose, an elephant, a panda and a personalized sign.
"Each night is a different thing," said Artfully Creative Studio owner Sue Krehbiel. "If you can't make all four nights, just make the nights you can and pay by the night."
Wolfe encourages students to attend all four classes because she will teach a different technique each time.
"The rose is an introduction to following lines and shading," Wolfe said. "The sign is an introduction to using stencils, the elephant teaches shading for shape and the panda works on fur."
The lines of a rose emerged quickly as Wolfe wielded a wood burning tool to follow the pattern she had traced onto the wood using carbon paper.
"That's your whole art skill, right there," Wolfe said. "If you can trace, you can do it. If you can draw around the edges of a stencil, you can do it."
One of the attractions of wood burning is that the materials needed are inexpensive and easily found.
"I've used everything from red oak to balsa," Wolfe said. "If this wasn't simple, I wouldn't be doing it."
Wolfe has created pieces to give as gifts and has also had pieces commissioned.
"If a person asks me to do something and wants it for outdoor hanging, I waterproof it," Wolfe said. "It cools very, very quickly. By the time you've finished burning and have everything lined up, you're ready to varnish."
The intricacy of the design and size of the piece of wood determine how long it will take to finish a piece. Small pieces can be completed in under an hour.
"It's just one of the simplest things I have ever done in my life. I love it and it has helped me get through many stressful times in my life," Wolfe said. "I learned it at church camp when I was 10 years old. I didn't pick it back up until about 15 years ago. I thought, 'I'm going to try that again and see how it goes.'"
Wolfe soon found wood burning gave her a creative outlet and she mixed India inks to add color to her pieces.
"I like the India ink because it lets the grain show through. Paint won't," Wolfe said. "I use black, white, yellow, cyan and magenta."
Those wishing to take the wood burning classes must be at least 10 years old. Class size is limited — to register, call 620-727-0257. Wood is provided for the first class but students should bring their own pieces to the other three classes. The four one-hour classes will be held at 3 p.m. July 20, July 27, Aug. 3 and Aug. 10. The cost is $20 per class.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.