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27 Sept 2022

Tipperary pyrographer creates stunning pet portraits on wood

CRAFTS: Mary Black describes creating unique wooden gifts and fostering a creative community in Tipperary town

Dog by Mary Black

PICTURE PERFECT: Mary Black's favourite commissions are pet portraits

While creating a portrait of a perfect likeness is a difficult art to master, one Tipperary Town native has a business that can create skilled portraiture using the distinctive medium of woodburning.

Pyrographer Mary Black founded Insypre Crafts to trade her unique and personalised creations.

Mary uncovered the craft while searching for different creative outlets online.

“I discovered the art of woodburning on the internet and decided to give it a go to see what it is like and I just loved it,” said Mary.

Mary employs two different methods to create her products, with one being using a hand-held heated pen with varying nibs to create her highly detailed portraits.

Another method Mary uses is a laser cutting machine that helps to form some of her intricately designed keepsakes.

“If somebody sent me a picture of handwriting I can run that through my computer and it burns an exact replication, creating a gift that is perfect for parties as it is so personal,” said Mary.

Inspyre Crafts’ most popular product is the pet portraits, followed by personalised chopping boards.

Not only content with establishing her own thriving crafts business, but Mary is passionate about providing a medium for other crafters to sell their products.

Late last year, she founded Tipperary Town Food and Craft Market held in Marian Hall as a way to unite the crafters in the locality.

“I had gone to other craft markets around the country and I thought we should and we could have one in Tipperary town. It is a way to showcase not only my work but other crafters, as there are so many fantastic craftspeople around.”

Crafters rarely get the medium to sell their product and the market is now an important amenity for the community and encourages more creatives to get established.

“It’s so important, especially with rates in shops being so high. People may not be able to afford to have their own space to display their work, so it is nice to have a space where people can come together.

“It’s also a community thing, people can come in, have a look around and have a chat while looking at the wonderful artwork

“I have gotten to know them so well, people I would never have met otherwise, they are all so lovely.”

For anyone interested in trying their hand at their own craft, Mary believes having a look online can help choose the most suited medium.

From felting to sewing to woodworking, endless tutorials are available online to provide an education and perhaps form the basis of a new business.

“Do some research on whatever it is you like. YouTube is a great resource for people, Pinterest can be another one. When you have something you love, even something you never thought of doing, give it a go and practice makes perfect.

“When I started out, I wasn’t the best but you improve over time and you get there eventually.”

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