Book Introduction


I have been creating art using Marquetry for many years, first learning the techniques as a young boy at boarding school in Wales, in the 1960’s. Over the years, I have enjoyed developing my skills. I attended a summer school program in England in the late 90’s, as well as developing a website and offering advice to many other Marquetry artists. I have been fortunate enough to win recognition in the National Marquetry Exhibition in 2015 (England). My repertoire includes pictures of varying topics, and most recently, after visiting and spending time on the west coast of Canada, I have become interested in Pacific Northwest Coast Native art. I have researched some excellent books about the history and development of various styles, color combinations and compositions of animals and people into art forms.

After reading and learning about Pacific Northwest Coast Native art, I produced a number of pictures using Marquetry. In writing this book, I hope to demonstrate that Marquetry is a complimentary medium in which to re-create works in the style of some Northwest Coast Native Indian artists.

Chapter 1 gives a description of the development of both Pacific Northwest Coast Native art and Marquetry. This chapter shows some examples of my work, and how I have blended the two.

In the following chapters, 2-8, I describe the processes involved in producing a specific Marquetry picture using a design called The Blue Hummingbird. The process of producing a painting in Marquetry can be divided into a number of stages:

Stage 1: Picture and frame design

Stage 2: Veneer palette selection

Stage 3: Cutting veneers and assembly

Stage 4: Border and frame assembly

Stage 5: Preparation of base

Stage 6: Mounting and pressing picture and frame to base

Stage 7: Sanding and finishing picture

Chapter 9 includes four projects for readers to complete. It is not my intention that readers follow each step specifically as far as color choice, but rather that he/she may be inspired to consider the choice of veneers available and what is personally pleasing to the eye. Following the sequence of cutting and assembly is of more importance here.

In the Bibliography, I make reference to various books and resources about Northwest Coast Native art, from which I re-created my examples and illustrations. Also included in the Bibliography is a list of several books specifically about Marquetry that readers may find useful when learning the cutting, assembly and finishing processes.

This book is intended for people interested in learning about marquetry,  or those who already have some skills in marquetry and want to learn about the Northwest Coast Native art form. Others who know this art form may be interested in re-creating their designs in the medium of wood veneers.  Readers of this book will learn about the following skills and techniques, which will be adaptable to any subject, including Northwest Coast Native art.

  • Selecting veneers to make a palette of colors and textures
  • Cutting with a knife (scalpel) and assembly of veneers to make a picture
  • How to make borders and framing a picture with veneers
  • Gluing veneers to a base board
  • Choosing a press option
  • Finishing a marquetry picture

This book includes five different pictures for the reader to try, using designs in the Northwest Coast Native art form.  After this, if a reader is interested in other designs, I recommend the books, Learning by Designing, Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art by Jim Gilbert and Karin Clark, Vol. 1 and 2. These books contain many more designs in black and white and line drawings to which a reader can apply a palette of veneers.  The original form of Northwest Coast Native art used primary colors of red, blue, green and yellow as well as black formlines, but these patterns and designs look remarkable in any natural veneers.