04/05/2012 08:46 am ET

Julie Bender Revives Ancient Craft Of Woodburning With Mesmerizing Wildlife Portraits (PHOTOS)

Sometimes even the craziest new technologies don't measure up to the power and intrigue of Mother Nature's original materials. Julie Bender revives the ancient craft of woodburning to create mesmerizing portraits of wild animals, which you can see in the slideshow below.

Bender has a great admiration for animals, a love that translates into her life-like artworks. Using a heated tip, Bender scorches wood and paper canvasses to create realistic creatures. This method is called "Pyrography" and has been in use for centuries; nowadays there's even a website dedicated to it. Pyrography has evolved over time thanks to our continuing attraction to the power of fire.

Bender describes the phenomenon on her website: "As I ‘paint with heat,’ I feel a certain parallel between the wild and natural spirits that embody my subjects and the organic and distinctively unforgiving nature of my medium." There is a beauty that emerges through drawing natural creatures with natural materials. These animals emit an inner energy, their heat visible in the images below.

Do Bender's works inspire you to get in touch with your wild side? Take a look and let us know: