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  HOME TECHNIQUES INTARSIA Introduction to Intarsia

intarsia pattern-piano playerIntarsia Patterns
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Introduction to the Fine Art of Intarsia

Intarsia refers to a form of art, or woodworking, depending on how you see it, where pictures are created by cutting and fitting together numerous pieces of wood, like the concept of a jig saw puzzle.

It is thought the word "Intarsia" originates from Italy, derived from the Latin verb interserere, "to insert". This makes sense given the fact that the original craftsmen, inserted individual tiles of wood into wall murals and table tops, glued them down in place, and then scraped and sanded the end product.

Intarsia was used frequently, as a decorative feature, in many churches of the time. In its purist form only wood is used and only in its natural colours. In other words the appeal of the finished product is a function of picking various exotic coloured wood and orienting the grain for maximum affect.

Today, you frequently see Intarsia project made entirely from pine, with the individual pieces of wood stained in a rainbow of colours. In other forms of this craft, particularly in India and the Orient, you see inlays of animal bone, and soft metals like brass. Only you can decide which approach appeals to you.

The wood tiles used in constructing an intarsia picture, can vary in thickness from " to 2". Thin woods are used to create decorative overlays on boxes and picture frames. Most stand alone work is predominately " material with a " plywood backing.

Novice workers, leave each piece a consistent thickness. More experienced workers vary the thickness of each piece of the puzzle to create more depth and sophistication in their work. Some work can even suggest a degree of relief carving, given the way the craftsman moulds each individual piece, before they are all glued together. Study other's work, to give you an idea of what you like and what you don't.


Intarsia Patterns for Sale by site owners
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Plan #0011

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theWoodbox.com Jan 2007