Visit the Artists of the Madawaska Valley

Solar Woodcuts

Solar Woodcuts
Ron Tremback & Patti Robertson
Summer tour and Fall tour
251 Queen St., Killaloe
On the southern edge of Killaloe, on the east side of the Queen St. (Hwy. 512).
Open year-round by appointment

Ron Tremback and Patti Robertson have designed and created fretwork and pyrography full time since 1992. As well as making the more traditional subjects such as, wildlife and silhouettes, they are well known for their more esoteric subjects, such as, Celtic designs and ancient symbolism.

Ron sets up, saws, and contributes to the design process. Ron has been an artisan for more than 50 years, making everything from moccasins to houses and cabins. His love of fine detail and intricate designs led him to become a professional fretwork craftsman 32 years ago.

In addition to the wood burning (pyrography), Patti draws the patterns, creating an eclectic mix of images to produce their 450 current designs. She also assembles and finishes the fretwork items. Patti has more than 40 years experience as an artisan creating many different kinds of arts and crafts. She has experience in weaving, knitting, and sewing and has formal training in upholstery. She has also done paper making and beeswax candle making, and has given workshops in these art forms.
They have now exhibited at more than 480 juried arts and craft shows during their 32 years of creating fretwork and pyrography.

Often people ask Ron and Patti if they use a laser machine or some other computer controlled device to produce their fretwork. The answer to this is a definite “no” as they produce their creations using similar techniques to those that have been in use for centuries.

Fretwork involves the intricate sawing of wood with many inside cutouts. The first stage of the process is creating the design. In the design process, Patti not only needs to produce inspiring designs, but they must be structurally sound and still be one piece of wood at the end of the process.

Ron uses special laminated and solid hardwoods to provide structural integrity to Patti’s intricate designs. After selection, Ron glues the paper design to the wood with non-permanent glue. Next he drills holes in the areas to be cut out to provide entry points for the saw blade. The next stage is the sawing of the wood with a scroll saw. Ron uses many different sizes and varieties of blades depending on the thickness and species of wood and the amount of fine detail in the pattern. The blade is threaded through an entry hole and connected to the saw, the piece is cut out, the blade is disconnected, and the process is repeated until the piece is finished. They then give the project a final sanding by hand and clean up the cuts with needle files and small sandpaper strips. The final stage of the process is dipping each piece into a special non-toxic wood finish both to bring out the natural beauty of the wood and to protect the piece. Patti also uses pyrography (wood burning) to accent some of their creations.

Ron and Patti treat their business as a very serious (and fun!) endeavour with creativity, quality, and customer service their main considerations.