Ana Alves is a self-taught female pyrography artist from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, where she lived until she was 29 years old. After she got married, Ana moved to the city of Cacém in the district of Sintra where she currently lives with her husband and her daughter. Ana has always loved art and enjoyed drawing and crafting, she used to make dolls and paper clothes as a child to play with. She studied at the António Arroio School of Art because she wanted to be an architect. Due to life circumstances, she eventually gave up her studies and got a job. Ana worked in administration in the construction industry for 16 years but eventually became unemployed when the company was hit by the Portuguese crisis and closed down. She always needed to do something to put her hands to work and started crafting jewelry that she sold to family and friends. This kind of craft didn’t satisfy her demands so she and her husband started browsing the internet for other ideas. It was her husband who suggested her to try pyrography.
Ana bought a very basic device and started exploring the art of pyrography on wooden boxes. Her first attempts weren’t good but Ana realized very quickly that the more she practiced pyrography the better she got. After one year of working with the basic device she finally decided to buy a professional pyrographer which brought even more improvement to her art. For Ana wood is a special canvas because the same design may come out differently on different types of wood. Some types of wood are easier while others are trickier. It takes knowledge to control the temperature of the pyrographer correctly according to the type of wood being used. Woods with too much resin can be tricky because burning on top of the resin can easily ruin the whole artwork.
As a self-taught artist Ana had to learn the art of pyrography through trial and error and a lot of practice to perfect her skills. Her husband Paulo is always a great support and a constructive critic. Although their crafts are different, they work as a team supporting and helping each other. Ana gets her inspiration for her art from ancestral cultures like the Celtics, Vikings, Anglo Saxons and the medieval cultures. She loves historical figures and, since Portugal has a lot of that kind of history, it is another great source of inspiration. In the year 2015 Ana and her husband started attending medieval fairs on a regular basis and they ended up attending dozens of them throughout the year, exhibiting and selling their work.