"It's just happiness. It's pure happiness."
Shelly Renae Coyle can turn a scrap of wood into a piece of art. The Caldwell woman is a pyrography artist known for her detailed wood burnings and love for animals.
She started wood burning in the late 80s.
"I went to a bazaar and this artist there had portraits. They were wood burnings and I couldn't believe my eyes. I couldn't believe you could do this with wood," Coyle said.
She learned by following book instructions step by step, taking advice from other pyrography artists.
"Anybody can learn to do this, it just takes practice. I have a light box and I set up my design just the way I want it, transfer it onto my wood, put the picture in front of me, and I burn," Coyle explained.
Now Coyle teaches wood burning classes in her home studio, enters her art in competitions, and sells it online. She works closely with the Idaho Woodworking Association and says every type of wood burns a little differently.
"Pine is kind of rough to burn on because it's sappy. That gives you a different look, but depending on what you're burning, it could be just what you're looking for. Maple has so many beautiful lights and darks. Poplar has so many different colors in it and it really lends to your design," Coyle said.
But it's not just wood Coyle works with. She's also involved with the Idaho Gourd Society. Some of her most creative burnings are on gourds.
"There are so many great artists in this valley. I collaborate with them, and go work with them often," Coyle said.
Every one of her burnings has a story. The most meaningful are her pet memorial pieces.
"Generally what people do when they're happy with a piece I give them, is cry. I know that's sad, but it's a good thing because their animals have passed away. When you have an animal for 15 years, it's in your heart, it's your family. So to be able to do the burning and make them feel that good, that they cry oh my gosh, it makes me happy, it makes them happy, and that's where my love is," Coyle said.
Her work, made in Idaho, leaves a lasting impression.
"I don't think there's anything more exciting than starting with a raw piece of wood and ending up with something tangible, something that moves you, and something that's going to last for so long. It brings so much joy," Coyle said.
Coyle also donates some of her art to local humane societies to auction off as fundraisers. If you would like to sign up for her wood burning class or take a closer look at her art, visit www.pyroshellyofidaho.com.