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Noel Coward said “Mad dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sun”, but Geoff Pullen is neither a mad dog nor an Englishman, but needs the sun for his work. Mr Geoff Pullen has been based in Knysna for the past 30 years and can be seen in Woodmill Lane Shopping Mall next to Spec Savers. Geoff claims to be the first artist in Africa to create pictures using a rustic wood burning art technic. Geoff says a Professor of Pyrography, from Boston University, saw his work in I 987 and told him that he had never seen it done anywhere else in the world. The Professor bought a couple of Geoff’s pieces and took a video of Geoff applying his talent to a piece of yellow wood, to share with his pupils back home. Geoff taught himself the art of wood burning and started creating his incredible works of art in May 1986.He has travelled all over the country demonstrating and selling his works of art. His first

Piece was of a King Fisher hovering and has since then put together a vast portfolio to choose from. There is no limit to the designs that can be duplicated onto various pieces of wood, whether it be family crests, ships, flora, landscapes, etc. In the earlier days Geoff’s canvas of choice was pine, however now days he makes use of woods such as Yellowwood, Hard Pear, Wild Olive, etc. The process starts with Geoff tracing the original design onto carbon paper using a soft pencil, this is then applied to the piece of wood being used. Then using the sun and three different sized magnifying glasses, the design is burnt into the wood using the sun as the heat source. Whilst doing this, it is important to wear protective eye wear, as the constant glare can be damaging to the eyes. The finished design is then washed off, dried and finally sanded. A coat of lacquer can be applied to protect the piece and add a lovely gloss finish to enhance the artwork. Geoff ensures that there is a definite personal touch by doing each design specific to the client making all the pieces he creates collector’s items. Many tourists are eager to have Geoff create a masterpiece for them to take back home with them and especially the wonderful animal pieces he designs. Realising the popularity of his work, Geoff has had to start posting orders out to people all over South Africa and some international clients as well. Not everyone is able to make it to Knysna to visit with Geoff to have a piece commissioned but thanks to email and courier services, Geoff can reach all eager clients wanting a unique piece of artwork. It is extremely fascinating watching Geoff at work and whenever the sun is shining he can be seen working away outside. Look for the wisps of smoke and the aroma of burning wood and there you will find Geoff bringing another masterpiece to life with nothing more than a magnifying glass and the sun. “I love showing people this wonderful art and anybody who wants to learn how to do it, I am only too happy to teach them.” He says it is a wonderful hobby and can be learnt by anyone, even disabled people can very quickly pick up the technic and spend hours setting their artistic side loose onto a piece of wood. “To sit outside and use the sun to create a work of art is the most rewarding experience.” Many of you may know Geoff, or remember him from his days as a Conservation Officer at Kenton-on-Sea. Whilst there, Geoff built a beautiful little Conservation Museum, which is now open to the public in the Kenton Municipal Offices He retains a deep love for nature and conservation and is also the Chairman of the Garden Route Steam Train Society of which you realise after chatting to him for a little while is possibly his absolute passion in life. Geoff is truly an exceptional artist, bringing to life wonderful pieces of art, making use of tools one would never think to use. Take the time next time you out shopping at Pick n Pay and pop past Geoff’s little corner. You will be amazed at the beauty of his wonderful talent.

To get hold of Geoff call 073-257 7503.