Thirteen-year-old Haley Stone surveys her piece of wood, turning it first to the left, then to the right, eyeing the guitar she’s just etched into it.
She smiles, satisfied.
“I’m enjoying this,” Stone says, as she reaches for a stenciled sheet of paper with her name emblazoned on it.
Seated beside her is brother Brent, 15, who is working on his own wood masterpiece, the design of a deer already clearly visible. “This is fun,” he concurs. “I’m really having a good time. I like designing stuff.”
It’s exactly what instructor and local craftsman George Edwards was hoping when he began the three-day pyrography class Monday, offered courtesy of the Sampson County 4-H.
“They are enjoying themselves,” Edwards pointed out, “and they are learning. It’s fun to watch them.”
In his class are five students, all armed with wood-burning tools and special colored pencils designed to accent the designs they are burning into assorted wood pieces. Tuesday’s lesson was a continuation of Day 1, where they selected a design that closely matched their interest.
For brothers Jackie and C.P. Davis it was their own version of the Confederate flag. For younger brother Jack, it was a fish.
“I like to fish,” said 13-year-old Jack, “that’s why I selected a fish. It was a little hard to do at first, but then I got the hang of it. It’s actually a lot of fun.”
Both his brothers agreed, noting, like the Stones, that pyrography could very well become a new hobby.
“I was really amazed at how quickly they caught on,” Edwards said. “They’ve done a great job; I’m really proud of their work.”
Work with wood, Edwards said, gave the students the opportunity to be creative in a unique way. They started by stenciling their designs on the wood then, using the burning tool, they highlighted their work. Some then used the colored pencils to shade the pieces to their liking.
That was Day 1 and 2. Day 3 offered them something a little different — wooden paddles they turned into collegiate designs, complete with their favorite school mascot.
“I like this a lot,” Jackie said, adding just a little more red to his flag. “I’m really glad I decided to take part in this class.
Edwards, too, is glad the teens got something out of the crafts lesson. “They want to do more of this. I’m just happy they’ve had a good time and that they’ve learned something they can turn into a hobby, maybe even something more.”