Hundreds of years ago pyrography as we know it today was vastly different from the simple art form that it is now. The basic method was to get a metal poker and nestle it into the hot coals of a roaring fire. The poker would heat up to a glowing red. When the correct temperature had been reached the artist would then take the poker carefully out of the fire and apply it to the timber of their choice.
The Pyro (fire) Graphics art form is limited only by what can be burnt. As one of the very first art forms invented, primitive man combined fire and wood to make drawings by rubbing a charred stick against a textured surface, or by chewing a charred branch and mixing it with salvia to make black paint. These forms are evidenced in the preserved cave galleries where primitive man first displayed his art on walls
In the 1600's and 1700's Europeans would heat small metal rods, or "pokers" in a fire to make drawings. Since these rods would soon cool off and could no longer be used to burn, artists would have several metal rods in the fire to be able to continuously burn, which is the origin of the saying: "having more than one iron in the fire". Since then many devices have been made to make fire writings, but modern artists most commonly use an electric metal or wire tipped pen to burn designs onto wood, paper, leather, bone or gourds. Many skills are involved: designing, drawing, painting, carving, wood work and finishing, even computer skills are used for graphic art design and pattern making.
Over the years the method of pyrography has changed dramatically but the basic technique and method has changed little. Now there are very easy to use electric tools that quickly heat to specific temperatures for different types of timbers and effects. There are wires that are particularly good for conducting heat and so are very conducive to this kind of work. Pyrography is an incredibly valuable art form because of its attractive finished product. The artist is able to decorate specific timber items with simple, easy to execute designs and yet the end product is very professional.