A Case for Intarsia

The Premise:

The woodworking community is looking for ways to expand on wood artistry by promoting intarsia.

The Rationale:

1. Intarsia addresses barriers that discourage people from attempting a woodworking project: one small mistake threatens the entire project. This is not the case with intarsia. Intarsia is a wood carving style consisting of various species of sculpted wood, assembled into a mosaic-like deep relief work of art. What this means is the artist is free to reshape a piece as many times as needed until he or she is satisfied. They can even rework a project created years before; back when their skills were not as fully developed. This makes intarsia carving a less daunting endeavor when contrasted to traditional carving and fretwork.

2. Intarsists can have a very wide range of skill levels and still produce successful works of art.

Beginner level example : The artist uses all 3/4" thick wood, cuts the pattern using different species of wood, rolls over the edges and glues it to a backer board.

Advanced level example: An artist uses wood ranging in thickness from extremely thin to 2 or more inches. He or she then sculpts each piece for lines and flow, illusion of depth, highlights and shadows.

Both examples result in beautiful pieces of wood art. There are few other styles of wood working that enable the artist to achieve "success" whether they are a beginner or "pro".

3. Intarsia uses use ranging from large to very small. This means "rescued, reclaimed and recycled wood" can be used. Intarsists often use pieces of wood that are destined for the fireplace, or worse yet, the landfill.

4. Building something with your hands fulfils a person in ways no other activity can.

5. Most important of all, it's great fun!

The Conclusion:

Historically, intarsia has experienced "12 waves" of popularity. It is in the best interest for those who directly or indirectly benefit from wood artistry, to ride the "13th wave".

Look Out Scrollers... I'm an Intarsiaist!