Wood-burning has actually been a part of my family for some time now. My grandfather was an artist, and I remember watching him free-hand draw cars, portraits, cowboys/indians (my grandmother owned SouthWest Connection, an arts/crafts store). They bought me my first burning kit when I was young, and I began learning the craft. As with many other childhood activities, wood burning took the backseat for a quite some time, but I picked it back up a few years ago. Throughout this time I lost my original burning kit, and resorted to burning designs with a simple soldering iron. This made designs very difficult. This last Christmas that all changed when I received a gift from Mama and Papa Leach. They purchased me a high quality, professional burning kit, and I'm now able to control the heat, change out different tips and really make the pieces come to life with much more detail. I'm constantly thinking up things to burn (I've always sort of been a pyro as it is). I'll try just about any scene or project, and I love the challenge of doing something I've never done before.  That's one reason I made this recent tree piece. I started by free-handing the tree onto some cedar and then used a scroll saw to carve out the shape. I then used the detail-burner to bring out the bark, shading and leaves (you can see cool time-lapse video on this page).  The tree was inspired by one on Crossridge Farm, where the Leach clan grew up. It’s where our shop is located, and also where Shelby and I got married. Wood burning is still a detailed, time-consuming craft, but I truly enjoy the creative and style I get to put into every piece.

- Dustin