By Emma Chaplin
Owena from Baulcombes Barn brought three Bluebell House members along to Ringmer Community Orchard for a very special reason. Baulcombes regulars Ash and Sue, along with Paul, have developed a keen interest in pyrography, also called poker wood, or wood burning, which is creating art in wood by burning a design with a hot tip.
I was hugely impressed. It's a wonderful piece of work, with beautiful apple designs. The lettering must have taken a lot of work to be so accurate, neat and well-spaced.
Ash told me about how it come about:
"Last year Ben, Bluebell House Occupational Therapist, asked us if we'd mind creating a sign for Ringmer Community Orchard, after Flourish asked if it might be possible, having seen one we'd done for Baulcombes. "
"It took about two and a half months, which is nine or ten sessions. We all had pyrography machines and worked on it together, three at a time. We bought the wood online. We wanted something to last. This is birch ply. It's nice and thick, which is good for pyrography. "
"It's the first time we've tried something so big. We have tried pine in the past, but it was too soft."
"In terms of the apple designs we chose, it was a joint effort. Sue drew the designs on paper. We all chose the font. Natalie from Bluebell House printed the letters off for us. We wanted it to stand out. Paul did all the measuring to fit the letters in. We traced the lettering because we found that using graphite paper didn't work."
"We did the burning together. Then we put on about three coats of varnish - and the varnish does pong! You've got to be careful about breathing it in. We kept it in a separate room."
"The last piece we made was a 5th birthday design for Bluebell House."
"We've really enjoyed it and us doing pyrography has inspired other people to do it at Bluebell."
Owena took a look at the sign to see if she could put it up there and then, but, looking at it, we all felt it needed some extra bits of wood to fix it properly to the gate without putting holes in the sign in a way that would spoilt the design. So that will happen at a future date.
Owena had bought some art supplies for Emma to present as a thank you from Flourish to Sue, Ash and Paul for all their incredible hard work.
Katharine and the Orchard members will be hugely delighted to have such a wonderful sign.