Intarsia [in-tahr-see-uh]: is an art technique dating back to the Renaissance era. The procedure is similar to inlay but actually involves the careful cutting, shaping and placing of small wooden pieces to create a 3-d relief mosaic. Color is achieved by choosing from a variety of both domestic (i.e. black walnut, blue pine) and exotic woods (i.e. yellow heart, blood wood). A variety of other effects such as shading and movement is produced by taking advantage of the natural pattern of the wood grain. The image is painstakingly pieced together and glued onto a thin backing board cut to fit, and completed with 3 or more coats of various finishes chosen for their sheen or effect. Dyes and stains are not normally used.
Roll mouse over each picture for details on each piece. Double click on any image for an enlarged view.
I'd like to thank the pattern designers that allow us to showcase their creative designs. In the works above, JGR is Judy Gale Roberts, GH is Garnet Hall, BW is Bruce Worthington and S2 is Sandy Black. Some patterns have had minor adaptations.
Sizes, colors and number of pieces are approximate and may vary slightly.
From choosing the right pieces of wood for each pattern, tracing the design, cutting, sanding and shaping each piece, placing and gluing the project to the backing board; finishing a 50-piece project takes umpteen hours and 23 cups of coffee! As you can see, even the most simplistic piece takes more time than you would ever guess - but, Oh, what a reward!
Made up of 26 animals, birds, reptiles and insects, the "African Adventure" is comprised of over 800 main Intarsia pieces and hundreds of additional background pieces. Some of the included feature animals are found below.