HANDS up those readers who know – without resorting to Google – what pyrography is the study of?
We didn’t know either until resourceful Andi Jackson informed us during a chat about her dual career.
And similar to how she started as a dog groomer on the holiday island of Crete, Andi admits the discovery of her new venture was more luck than judgement.
However, pyrography – the art of decorating wood with heat – is proving a nice little side-line to her K9 Grooming Solutions and Pet Supplies business.
Andi has produced a collection of animal pictures burned into off cuts of wood including cats, dogs, penguins and hares.
She also produced a variety of Christmas decorations made from wood – or she did until a pulled muscle and broken saw temporarily halted production.
“My friend had seen a reindeer made out of logs and suggested I had a go,” Andi explained.
“It took us about two hours to make one then we got the hang of it and did a few more.
“Once people found out, I couldn’t make them quick enough. Then I produced some snowmen and they all went as well.
“The wood burning followed from there. I read a book about it but I just did it my trial and error.
“I copy a photograph or picture, print it out, draw it free hand onto the wood and then burn it in.
“I am not artistically trained but I think the creative bit comes from dog grooming.
“When you see the state of some of the dogs and the knots in their fur, you have to be creative if it is eventually going to look like it’s ready for Crufts.”
Andi’s first grooming efforts with clippers and scissors happened by chance.
Now, seven years on she is hands on with a variety of pets at her premises at Burnedge Mill.
“I worked in Greece for about six years doing a variety of jobs but came back to the UK,” she explained.
“While I was here, I got a call from a woman I knew asking if I would go back to Crete and try to rehabilitate street dogs.
“As luck would have it one of her clients is a rich lady who owns umpteen villas but donates to practically every single animal charity on Crete.
“She got me in to groom her 12 dogs! Because of her position on the island, people look up to her and word got round this girl from England was grooming her dogs.
“It was just a stroke of good fortunate because I had never groomed a dog in my life before!”
Andi, now 45, eventually returned to the North West, bringing her new-found skills with her.
“I groom mostly dogs and cats but I will do other small pets,” she said.