Natasha uses a complex 12-step process to produce marquetry art. Read more to learn about how marquetry is created.
With a drawing pencil that is attached to Natasha almost as well as her hand, sketching is how she has always explored her creativity. As marquetry became her medium, sketching continued to be the foundation of her creative process.
Marquetry is a very laborious process that relies on templating. Once she is satisfied with a sketch and intending to use it for a marquetry piece, Natasha inks her drawing to create a template.
Noted thinker Marshall McLuhan said the above words and they are certainly true of marquetry. Natasha believes that much of the art comes from the wood itself. The way the grain, texture, pattern and color move can emulate paint strokes, shading and other features of her work. She carefully selects wood species for each part of a piece, from a palette of woods from all over the world.
Using her inked drawing as a template, Natasha uses a surgical scalpel to etch her piece onto a veneer background.
After using her scalpel to cut out an individual section of the background – often as small as a sliver – and make a “window,” Natasha scans her wood selection to find the area where the grain moves exactly the way she wants. This allows her to create the folds of a kimono or the feathers of a hummingbird wing using the natural movement of the wood.
One piece at a time, Natasha uses her scalpel to cut pieces of wood to fit into the windows. Repeating this process for each tiny section (even hundreds of times), she assembles the artwork piece by piece.
Once the marquetry piece is assembled, it needs to be attached to a substrate for support, similar to how a canvas needs a frame for structure. Depending on the piece, Natasha uses either a vacuum press or a heat press to glue the marquetry to its substrate.
Wood veneers vary in thickness. Natasha goes through several sequential steps sanding the artwork with various grits to achieve a consistent surface. Marquetry pieces at this stage are not perfectly smooth and are typically not finished that way. The subtle grain variations allow light to play off the wood, making the piece dynamic.
Pyrography is the art of burning wood. In modern times, electricity is used to heat an element at the end of a stylus, which in turn can be used to shade wood. On some pieces, Natasha uses this additional art technique to create unique effects in the wood, for example adding details to a face or dimenion to flower petals.
There are a variety of ways to finish marquetry. Finishes protect the artwork and can enhance the natural wood. Depending on the type of wood, grain and desired effect, Natasha may use wax, clear coat or other methods to finish the piece.
The final step is sharing her new artwork. Marquetry lends itself well to providing glimpses at a work in progress, but there is nothing quite like seeing a finished piece hung on the wall. Natasha uses gallery-quality anchors mounted in the back of the piece to allow her art to be hung like a painting. Seeing a piece up on the wall for the first time when it ready – at a gallery or in someone’s home – is a showcase of all the work it to get it there.