March 8, 2019

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Burning the ALICO

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The board is Oak plywood, 2′ x 4′, the largest single piece of Pyrography I’ve done so far.  It took 18 days and no I didn’t keep track of the hours. The original photo was taken in 1920 by Frederick Gildersleeve, used here by permission. It will go on display in the upcoming Woodworking Exhibition at Cultivate 7twelve Gallery in Waco, the month of April. Message me if you are interested in the details for purchase.

February 11, 2019

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Solo Show at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center

There are less than 10 days to see my show in Fort Worth. FWCAC

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is shutting down, but there is plenty of Art to see. The reception has been wonderful and many people have walked through and enjoyed the show. WESTERN ROOTS

The FWCAC is sandwiched between the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and the Kimbell Art Museum, in the building formerly known as the Modern Art Museum.

January 26, 2019

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ALICO building

I don’t often share a project in progress here on the Blog, but this project is something special. Several months ago at Cultivate 7twelve Gallery there was a display of old photographs by Frederick Gildersleeve. He was an award winning, Guinness Book of Record holding, photographer, who lived in Waco and documented much of Waco history. This one photography of the tallest building in Waco known simply as the ALICO caught my attention.

One reason this photo is interesting because Mr. Gildersleeve stood on the roof of the building across the intersection to take the photo, no small feat in the days before hand held cameras.

Secondly this photo is interesting because in the 70’s the ALICO was given a facade upgrade and these wonderful old columns cannot be seen any more. Not to mention the old cars and people on the street dressed in their Sunday best regardless of the day of the week. A by-gone day and disappearing era captured on film.

The photography now belongs in a collection at Baylor and is used by permission.

day 8

This is my largest most detailed piece of Pyrography to date, at 4′ x 2′. You can follow my progress on Instagram at Wood_Burning_by_Marsha or on my Facebook business page Wood Burning by Marsha. This photo is after 8 days work, only 16 floors to go.

January 11, 2019

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Western Roots

I have a solo show at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. Check them out here   FWCAC

The show runs now through February 20. Please come by and take a look there is so much to see. Many wonderful artists and craftsmen.

November 18, 2018

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A Huge Honor and some Huge News


Wood Burning by Marsha Waco Mammoth ornament

What does McLennan county have that no other county in Texas has? Mammoths of course. Not much of Christmas theme, but this ornament is representing our county on the Texas Christmas tree in Austin and I wanted it to be entirely unique. Fiona Bond, of Creative Waco is tasked every year with finding an artist willing to take on this great honor. I’ve never burned a Mammoth before, and never burned on this paper before, and never stuck paper inside a hand blown globe. So to say it was something of a challenge is an understatement.  Our wonderful State Representative Doc Anderson was at Cultivate 7Twelve for the hand off and a photo opp.

Doc Anderson, Representative McLennan County

Doc Anderson, representative of District 52 and Marsha Wilson of Wood Burning by Marsha 2018

A true supporter of the Arts, Doc enjoyed the Waco historic Gildersleeve Photography now on exhibit at Cultivate 7twelve, through the end of the month.

My big news is an interview with Lindsay Liepman, anchor at KXXV 25, ABC news.

Interview in progress

Marsha Wilson interview in progress with Lindsay Leipman of KXXV 25, ABC news 2018

She was insanely nice and easy to talk with, she really knows how to put her subjects at ease then ask a frighteningly deep question.  This interview will air on the first Monday night in December as a part of her “Texas Voices” segment.


October 14, 2018

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Special Announcement


Greg's signature



Greg Peters is a four time Emmy award winning animator for Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hanna Barbera. He lives and works in Waco. Now he has agreed to work with me, which means we can legally offer all of the characters he has worked on for sale as burns on wood along with your caricature. Picture your favorite cartoon character and you riding in a car, or eating dinner as a family. Now that would be something to hang on the wall.


September 25, 2018

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St Cuthberts Mill Paper

I was contacted by Ade Timmins of Dudley, UK to review a pack of sample papers from St Cuthberts Mill. St Cuthberts Mill of Wells England “has been making paper since the 1700’s”.

Ade is an outstanding Pyrographer and friend. When St Cuthbers heard that he was using their paper for Pyrography, they were intrigued. They asked him to approach other Pyrographers and get them to write reviews.  Here is mine.

They provided a sample pack of seven types of paper recommended for “Watercolour, Gouache, Acrylic, Pastel, Pen & Ink, Pencil, and Charcoal”

Table of Paper types

Only the two pieces labeled HP were smooth texture, the rest had considerable tooth or rough texture.

I chose a series of beetles to burn on these seven pieces of paper hoping to achieve a degree of uniformity without having to duplicate one single image seven times. I used the AiTool, portable soldering iron, a solid brass tip style burner, on High (480 degrees). Using mostly the small ball tip and the calligraphy tip.

back of paper

Back side


All seven pieces and styles of paper  burned acceptably well, with minimal warping and very little show on the reverse.

My first attempt was on the Millford piece. I was using the calligraphy tip, one of my favorites, and in order to darken the paper as dark as possible I damaged it. I over- burned it and the top layer came away.


The darker part on his head is where I re touched it with some ink. After the surface has been damaged it will not burn dark. After that I switched to the small ball tip. The problem was that the calligraphy tip was not riding over the rough tooth of the paper. The ball tip will press the surface down as it goes and with it I was able to achieve a much darker tone, his legs for instance. However, not a smooth, shiny texture, more of a dimpled effect.


Textures (1)

Ball tip results


Textures (2)

Calligraphy tip results


For the remainder of the rough samples I mainly used the ball tip, working in tiny circles to press and burn the image.

On the two samples of smooth tooth, labeled HP on the chart, I switched back to the calligraphy tip and was able to burn faster and to achieve a much more polished, glossy result.  This is all a matter of taste and preference for the results. Because beetles are known for their shiny hard exoskeletons I was a bit disappointed in the rough paper. However, it would make lovely tree bark.

group display

This was a very wonderful opportunity to try these samples and learn more about paper.

Individual pictures to follow for those who want more.

August 16, 2018

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A new Burner

This is big news, to me anyway.  I’ve been using the same wood burning tool, the Walnut Hollow versa tool for 10 years. The only change I’ve made was to upgrade to a temperature control unit when my kids gave me one, to replace the on/off version I started with.  Last week Miyuki Nakajima approached me on Facebook and asked me to review the AiTool. Then she sent me one for free, cool!!!

Here is that review.

AiTool Wood Burning Pyrography Pen Kit

More Specifically the 947-III Portable electric soldering iron.

I was approached Miyuki Nakajima who wishes to start selling these machines to accept one for free and review it for them. Miyuki found my Wood Burning by Marsha Facebook page and knew that I used the Walnut Hollow burner. As this tool is very similar, she thought I would be an appropriate tester.

It arrived very quickly, in only four days well padded and wrapped, in a padded blue travel pouch. Here is the technical description of what I received: 

Unpacking (1)

【37 IN 1 WOOD BURNING PEN KIT Selected high quality embossing stamps(5pcs), wood burning tips(10pcs), carving tips(10pcs), soldering tips(5pcs) and Hot knife to meet your multiple needs】 Plus two pencils, a set of plastic alphabet stencils, and a wire stand with a small sponge inside it. I was wondering what the sponge was for, the instructions explained that it was to clean the flux off of the soldering tips when it is wet. I’m guessing it could be used while wet as a place to put the tips if you remove them when hot also. Of course the instructions tell you to allow the tool to cool completely before attempting to remove the tips. As do the other machines (but I never do.)

TipsThe first thing I did was examine the tips. Many are shapes I have not seen before. 6 tips are silver Stainless Steel which fit over a heated sleeve and are held in place by a collar (not pictured). 26 tips screw into the end like the more familiar Walnut Hollow and Plaid brand burners. 10 tips are brass, five of those being what I call stamps, designed to be used like ink stamps, held in one spot. 15 of screw in tips are Stainless Steel, five of these also being stamping shapes. And the final screw in tip is a collar and knife blade for heated cutting of plastic.

The body of the tool is blue Bakelite andOn the stand 2 comfort grip, on/off switch, temperature gauge, and power indicator light.  I really like the temperature gauge being on the tool instead of on the cord as is the case with the versa tool. It makes the cord, which is a heavy gauge and should last a good while, less clunky and much less likely to get caught on things like the edge of the work surface. Also the temperature gauge is marked with numbers,” 220 | | 250 | 300 | 350 | 400 | 480”. There is no explanation as to this arrangement of numbers and they are seriously tiny, a bit hard to read on a tiny dial. However they are an improvement over the WH’s four color sections on their temperature gauge. The tool is a little longer than the WH which means your fingers are further from the heated tip for more comfortable burning, but I know there are people who are not comfortable being so far back from their tip.

The stand was a disappointment as they usually are on the solder type tools. With very little force the burner can be dislodged and fall. The AiTool did not hold onto the stand I had fixed for my Walnut Hollow as the groove was even more narrow on the tool itself, which meant I had to rest it upon the stand that came in the pack.  

The AiTool heated up quickly and cooled quickly. I tested a small round tip on all of the 6 numbered settings and will provide a picture of the results on wood, leather, and Bristol Board paper. test resultsThen I experimented with a couple of the tips to compete a lighthouse burning on Bristol Board paper. I did not like the tips so I decided to see if my Walnut Hollow tip would work and it did. It screwed right in without any damage. Me not liking the tips was no surprise, because I usually customize my tips anyway.

I did not feel any discomfort from the machine getting hot while I was using it, but I didn’t use it very long either.. Also the body of the tool is more slender so it will be easier for some people to hold.

I am willing to use this tool for a while and see how it works out. From what I understand it is $26.98 on Amazon and I think it compares very well with the other tools in this price range.

July 23, 2018


Quite an Adventure

Two months ago I was fortunate to have one of my pieces of Pyrography accepted into an art show in Laguna Beach, California. The show was called “The Second Half” and was organized and held by the Las Laguna Gallery. I was thrilled and honored. Here is the piece that they chose, “Forever Friends”.Friends Forever in Las Laguna GalleryLaguna Beach is only 45 minutes away from Carlsbad, California where Tim and Lisa live. Tim and Lisa, the parents of Rebekah Hagman are the sweetest people you could ever want to meet. This wonderful couple have been to Texas several times to help in the remodel and hard work that has shaped Cultivate 7twelve into a very fine gallery. They are also a huge fan of my art.

Lisa in particular was interested in my horse piece Midnight run. When I told them I would be coming to California to visit the gallery there, they graciously offered to host me for my entire stay. This was their payment.

Midnight run holding it


As you can see, its not a small piece. Originally I took “Midnight Run”, carefully sandwiched in cardboard as my carry on luggage. I carted it through DFW airport, in and out of Chick fil a, into the bathroom, everywhere I went. I was careful not to forget it, thinking to myself the whole time “You know, you are going to forget to pick that back up.” It would not fit in an overhead, nor under the seat, so it rode standing in front of my knees, resting on my feet the whole way to California. Upon disembarking I collected my checked bag and looked up the parking lot of my rented car. I hired a taxi to drive me the mile instead of walking. He wasn’t very happy with such a short run, but that is the breaks. Standing beside the rented car (thank you Turo it was $35 a day) I read the instructions to unlock the car on my phone. Tired and a bit overwhelmed I finally got the car unlocked and my luggage in the trunk, I sat down to check my GPS before heading to Carlsbad. It was only when I got almost the entire way there that I realized I had not put “Midnight Run” in the back seat.

I checked and rechecked, pulled over and looked in the trunk….. No dice. I was only 5 minutes from Tim and Lisa’s house so I forged ahead. She refreshed me with the warmest of greetings and a meal (enchiladas make almost anything better). I explained my dilemma and drove back to the airport parking lot. I searched high and low, mainly low, underneath every car there. No dice. Heart broken and tired, accepting defeat I wrote it off and went about enjoying the rest of my trip.

Here were are two weeks later and Tim and Lisa are now the proud owners of “Midnight Run” the second version. Hopefully it is even better than the first run.

Midnight run Tim and Lisa