The Remakery is run by a team of hardworking and dedicated staff, volunteers, and workshop tutors, without whom we simply wouldn’t exist!
In this brand new edition to our News section, we’ll be talking to one of our wonderful team members each month to give you a bit of insight into the names and faces behind The Edinburgh Remakery.
This month we sat down with our Pyrography expert, Federica, to talk about the thoughts and inspirations behind her stunning Pyrography work.
For those who don’t already know, could you briefly explain what Pyrography is?
Pyrography is the art of decorating wood by burning it with a hot coil or an object similar to a soldering iron.
How did you first get into Pyrography and how long have you been doing it?
I first encountered Pyrography early in 2012 when I moved from Berlin to Edinburgh. At that time I was volunteering for the Grassmarket Community Project, wanting to participate in community engaging activities. At the wood workshop I was showed how to make candle holders out of reclaimed timber rescued from old churches. Coming from a Sculpture background, I was fascinated by the versatility of the material and the possibility to create patterns etched into wood.
It was love at first sight and I quickly moved from transforming small objects like reclaimed timbers into clocks and trays, to restoring and decorating chairs, tables and eventually scenographic sets for theatrical companies. It has been over four years since I first laid hands on a pyrography kit and since then I’ve managed to open up a sustainable artistic business, hire a studio and offer classes to the local communities, thanks to the vital support of the Princes Trust, Remade in Edinburgh, Starter for Six, Good Story, the Grassmarket Community Project, Business Gateway, Tribeporty and many more wonderful local organisations.
I enjoy sharing my personal knowledge as much as possible with others by giving workshops through social enterprises like The Remakery.
What are your favourite themes and designs to work on?
Over the years I have been surprised at how much I enjoy reproducing and etching. I went from intricate baroque to the linearity of art nouveau and the freedom of abstract art, experimented with illustrations of trees and houses to architectural drawings and portraits.
At the moment I let the pieces of furniture dictate what illustrations to choose, based on the shape, colour, era and function of the object. I sometimes follow trends as well, and Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. I use it for almost everything.
If there is a particular theme that I identify with it’s probably Edinburgh and Scotland. I have made hundreds of pyrographed pieces of the Edinburgh cityscape, highlighting fascinating corners, and the dramatic skies against the dark facades of the old town. I am a great fan of the city, and never tire of her timeless beauty and wonderful green oases.
What are you inspired by?
Scotland is my biggest form of inspiration; the opulent flora and fauna, the geological formations, the ruins, the human settlements with their lively history and culture, the dramatic weather and more.
What do you do when you’re not practicing Pyrography?
When I’m not doing pyrography, I’m thinking about it! I spend most of my day thinking and planning how to source more furniture, where to store it and how to promote it.
I also spend a great deal of time collecting inspiring images, a huge variety of paints, brushes and other art materials. I have another job working in an art gallery in Stockbridge, but besides this I like to spend all my free time working with wood and furniture. From morning to night, I prioritise art above most things.
I also run a life drawing class at the Safari Lounge every Thursday night, called Safari Life Portrait which is open to the public. It’s a rather fresh project which I started with an artist friend of mine wanting to bring more creative vibes to Abbeyhill.
How did you get involved with the Edinburgh Remakery?
I love the serendipitous way I came across Remade in Edinburgh a few years ago. I was passing by the old hub in Guthrie Street and noticed their sign, after a few minutes I found myself speaking with Director, Sophie Unwin, and IT Specialist, Sotiris Katsimbas, on the importance of upcycling and positive change. From that day forth I’ve had the immense pleasure of co-running workshops with Remade and now at the buzzing Remakery, offering long-term upcycling classes for local schools and even selling some of my works through their shop on Leith Walk.
I admire and cherish this Social Enterprise like no other, and I am very excited to work alongside a team of such wonderful people.
Why do you think that it’s important to recycle and reuse items instead of buying new pieces?
There are many reasons I prefer to upcycle rather than waste, the first of which is quality. A lot of the pieces that people throw away or donate to charities are made of good timber, which is hard to find in any modern shop unless it’s a very expensive piece. Wood gets better with age and I love to work with old pieces that have a history. Old pieces preserve the magic of a life that has been lived, something which can’t be found in newly built objects.
Upcycled pieces also have individuality; they’re most likely to be a one-off pieces, just waiting for someone to love them again.
What do you hope to be doing in 5 years’ time?
I hope to be making as many artistic furniture pieces as possible, having found my passion after years of meandering in the wide world of the visual arts! I would love to take it to the next level, possibly creating a national upcycling brand one day.
Thanks for speaking to us Federica!
Want to learn more about Pyrography?
Book a place on the next Pyrography class with Frederica here.
You can also find some of Federica’s amazing Pyrography designs in The Edinburgh Remakery on Leith Walk now!