• The Disruptive Designer



This technique caught my eye in a craft book, which spoke about the art of burning into wood. Accessing the tools I decided to investigate the potential this could have on canvas, felt and embroidery with the aim of creating detailing, depth and adding an alternative visual aesthetic to the artwork.

The hand tool is electrically connected to the mains to add heat to the end. A temperature dial allows for control of the heat ranging from 200 - 400 degree. A series of tips of differing shapes allows for patterning when burning.

Not having attempted this before, I did not know how the materials would react to the heat and the tips when contact is made.

Initial samples varied the heat, tips and materials by simply pressing and drawing/mark making. Visual judgement was made on duration of contact based on the reaction between tip and material. Initial findings showed a similar burned aesthetic for the wood and canvas, with a deep brown change in colour and a tactical change, indent in the wood and brittleness in the canvas. The fusible chest felt however I thought had more scope for design manipulation, in both depth, tactile qualities and colouration control.

The canvas needed a high temperature in order to react while the felt responded differently between the ranges, with more subtle control at the lower end and more aggressive reaction at the upper end of the spectrum. The images below show the tonal and depth qualities the tool can make when applied to a white felt and the potential relationship this can have with embroidery. With more control, practice and experimentation it would be interesting to see where this could lead and what role it can play in the design process.