The initial step is to select a picture (pattern). Hundreds of patterns are available from well-known intarsia artists (check the box labelled Links on my Home Page). These artists are in the business of selling intarsia patterns; I am in the business of purchasing their patterns and creating intarsia art. Choosing is not always an easy task!
Once I have the chosen pattern, I make about 8 copies of the pattern and cut out every single piece from the photocopies. That is why you need about 8 copies because as you cut out piece #1, you destroy the neighboring pieces. You are not infringing on any copyright laws if these copies are used to create your project. Credit should be given to the artist for the pattern. It is illegal however for you to sell the pattern.
Once I have all the different (paper) pieces, I then transfer these pattern pieces onto the different woods chosen. The wood color and grain are selected to create the shading in the final picture. Different thicknesses of wood are used and shaped to create depth and give the final artwork a 3-dimensional effect. ¾” stock is most commonly used, occasionally I use 3/8” or 1 ½ stock.
Each individual piece must be very precisely cut using a scroll saw. Precision is key! It is critical to take the many hours needed to “cut on the line” and ensure a good fit later. (71 pieces)
Once all the pieces are cut, every single piece must be shaped and sanded to give the artwork some depth. Note how the pieces are much different than the square cut pieces in previous photo. Cutting the individual pieces takes time, shaping and sanding them takes even longer. I place (not glued) the pieces on a copy of the pattern to ensure each piece fits properly.
Once satisfied with the shaped pieces, these are glued onto a wood backing. My personal preference is to cut the plywood backing slightly smaller (about 1/8” on the outside edges of the final artwork). This is the back side of the artwork.
A clear finish may be applied to the individual pieces before gluing or may be applied to the artwork once the pieces are glued.
PLEASE NOTE: My intarsia artwork is NOT mass produced; each project is completed individually with the attention and love each deserve. Depending on the actual size of each picture, most require at least 45 to 50 hours of completion time. Because of the variations in wood (grain, knots, color), no two projects are identical. If you compare this picture with the picture in the gallery section of the website, you will notice that they are different because of the types of wood selected.