BILLINGS – Melissa Burns was given her first wood burning pen by her father but it wasn’t until after he passed that she discovered just how meaningful that gift was. Burns started Girlwood six years ago as a way to deal with the pain.
"When he passed and I started doing this as a therapeutic measure to just lose myself in something so I didn’t have to think about how bad my heart hurt without him," Burns said.
Girlwood products can now be found around the country and into Canada. Something Burns says, "is still hard to believe".
"This isn’t something you can go to art school for and learn how to burn wood," Burns said. "This is something I had to sit down and go through every step of the process to figure out how to do it and I’m still figuring out how to do it. I still don’t think I have a clue a lot of times. Without other people seeing something that I couldn’t see, I don’t think I’d be here.”
Her business is now thriving and it’s something she does not take for granted. And says, if not for her fathers influence and encouragement, she doesn’t know that "Girlwood" would have ever taken off.
“He really kind of pushed me in that area where I don’t think I would have pushed myself," Burns said. "After he passed, I found an old wood burning pen that he bought me and I started using it and it kind of propelled into Girlwood."
She has no particular affinity to the flame, just an appreciation for the medium.
"I think it’s a lost art,” Burns says. "This was something I could do to move forward and move on. It just became something that I think translated into other people’s lives in a way that I didn’t expect. Girlwood is my journey and I feel like the wood burnings that come out are kind of like physical manifestations of lessons I’ve learned.”
To see more of her work, click here.