Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am a work-at-home mom of two boys with a wonderfully supportive husband. I’ve been creative my whole life but fell into the belief that a living couldn’t be made from the arts so I tried my hand at many other jobs. None of them really stuck so I am happy to have this opportunity to be home for my kids and do what I love. I am proud to say one of my pieces was published in Pyrography magazine last year!

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

There are several steps for creating my pieces. The first step is usually creating the design or image that will go on the wood. Most of this is done by hand and some is done on the computer. The next step is making sure the wood is prepared by cutting it to size and then sanding it. Sanding is important to ensure a nice, smooth surface for an even burn. I then transfer the design onto the wood with graphite paper. The next step, the burning, is the most fun! Then, depending on the piece, a finish is applied to the wood to seal it. Most bookmarks don’t take too long and I can get several done in one day. Other, larger or more detailed pieces, like lazy susan’s, clocks, or signs can take a couple of days to complete.

Describe your work-space and what your top tools are.

I wish I had a dedicated work space but unfortunately there are several spaces I use throughout the house to do my work. The garage is where I do the cutting and most of the major sanding. The designing, drawing, and burning is done in the living room, so I am still part of the family if I’m working when they’re home. Product shots are taken in another room that has the best natural lighting. Light sanding, assembly, and applying finish is done in a workroom in the basement. This room is where I store my wood pieces, both unfinished and finished and where I package pieces for shipping. Some days I can be seen moving between all the floors of the house to get the work done.

I have a couple of burning machines. They use tools with attachments called pens. Each pen has a different tip that heats up and allows me to create different looks, texture and shading in my work.

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

Yes! I love doing special orders. Customers have great ideas and creativity and it can be a lot of fun to work with them on their project. I do as much back and forth with clients as they need to get it just the way they want it. Many special requests have become some of my favourite pieces and it’s nice to know the piece I have created means something to them and will be treasured for years to come.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

No, not for myself. But I do make things for my family. I created a special clock to celebrate my husband’s 10th work anniversary, and a medieval growth chart, and bookmarks for my kids. I do have one piece on my wall that was originally for sale in my Etsy shop but I loved it too much to let it go. So, in a way, I guess I did make that one for me.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

When I discovered and started wood burning there were no classes available and very few books on the subject. I knew nothing about it and learned by trying and experimenting on my own. I later joined groups on Etsy and Facebook and learned by observing what other artists were doing and talking with them about techniques and burning in general. There is constantly something new to learn or a different technique to try so I will always be growing in this craft.

Find Maya’s burnt masterpieces at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can follow her social channels online!

Instagram: @mayabki

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