My foray into woodworking began with large scale pieces around 1993. I quickly learned that I could master plans and build successfully. Over the next several years I made many pieces both for commission and personal use. Eventually, we maxed out the available space for new furniture pieces in our modest 1933 home. It was now around 2012 and I began feeling that something original, artistic, unique and creative was missing from my projects. It was at that time that I enrolled in a marquetry class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. There were five in our class, five students from completely different walks and stages of life, but we all had the interest and desire to go one more step in our woodworking lives. The class spanned five days and I soon discovered marquetry, inlay and veneering as skills I wanted to develop, in the hope that I could add them to those I had already cultivated. The tools are different, the materials are thinner and more fragile the work at times tedious but the possibilities are enormous.
Tim Swanberg, from Ovando Montana, was the instructor for our class and, like all the other instructors I have had at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, is gifted, skilled and possesses the ability to transfer the information from his head to mine; one of the characteristics of a effective teacher. I view marquetry as an art form that lends itself quite well as a tool to probe the creative and artistic elements of my persona. It provides an opportunity to add a distinctive touch that can set a project apart from the others, to add additional “class” or “pizazz”. It’s only fair to add that, for me anyway, marquetry is one of the more demanding woodworking disciplines I have set my mind on doing.
Since taking the class in July of 2012 my own personal woodworking path has taken a definite change. I now invest my time primarily in making items smaller than those I had built before. Although I have added inlay and marquetry to a few table tops and other various furniture pieces, I now make primarily wooden boxes, trays etc. These past few years I have, indirectly through books and DVD, learned more of marquetry from the likes of Paul Schurch, Silas Kopf and Doug Stowe, Learning through books and DVD is very helpful in getting an overview and some basic exposure to an area of study. To be in a classroom with a master craftsman with an opportunity to get one-on-one instruction is the chance of a lifetime.
Personally, marquetry takes a well crafted wooden art form to a different level of personal expression; an additional artistic component. As a result, through marquetry, a box or a tray becomes a canvas for something additional artistic, a little bit more than “just” a box or a tray.
Currently, I am a member of the “American Marquetry Society”, and the “Rocky Mountain Marquetry Guild”.