I have been told, do a blog.
I will try.
Try to post as often as I am able to and answer your comments

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Miniature Marquetry - No Child Left Behind - Best of Show 2010

In 2008, a friend of mine started a Mail Art project called His Legacy.
The goal was, for diverse artist, to mail 2 postcard size Mail Art representing an interpretation of president Bush legacy. One to the white house and one to the Getty Museum, and this every weeks of the last year of Bush’s presidency.
I was contacted to participate, but as a foreigner, I chose to stay out of the political stand and did double reading piece, a free interpretation of a picture taken in Germany and published in Das Bild. The picture was read differently by both side of the political scene, each side making its own interpretation. I push this chose your own interpretation a little bit in the title, No Child Left Behind Act being such a controversial political decision. Overall, it worked pretty well in the sense where each political side who looked at this marquetry had in fact there own interpretation.
The drawing was made from the picture

I tried something new, I scanned the drawing to do the color choice using photoshop.

The marquetry was cut in 4 layers using the piece by piece technique on the chevalet.

The background was cut out of died black maple also in 4 layers

The final marquetry had around 360 pieces some of them thicker than wide.

I did not finish in time for the Mail Art Project, I send another more simple marquetry, but I finished nevertheless the project and surprisedly, for a “political" and such a small piece, got Best of Show at the Design in Wood Show in 2010.
They put a blown up picture on the side for the public to be able to see the details

At Cirello Gallery in 2011

At Last, Still Life Marquetry

This picture as a story I find interesting.
Around 2000 I was coming back from work, a workshop in Paris suburbs when my high was attracted by an an old battered drawing portfolio in the trash. I looked at it and found century old studies from a Beaux-Arts student of the 1900 period. Novel art style tiles, studies, and water colors. Among them a watercolor of this dried leaf.
I was inexperience at marquetry, I knew how to cut fairly well, but had only done classical flowers and repairs. I thought this drawing was just perfect for an etude as I just had to follow the color code to create a piece.
When I was done with the marquetry, the color the shape of the pieces everything was similar to the watercolor but it did not work at all on marquetry.
This experience taught me something essential, each media got his character and a way to be read.
I cannot show you the original watercolor as I left it in France and I can not show you also the first marquetry as it is long gone in the trash. But I brought the first marquetry drawing along with me in the US and redrew it, this time thinking marquetry. The result is now more convincing because I drew it as a marquetry, changing slightly the lines, the colors etc.
In addition I asked Kristen Arrivee, our Art teacher at the American School of French Marquetry, to do a calligraphy to frame the piece in words.

I wanted to share that little story with you, as I have been asked some tips on marquetry drawing, and for me that was the first big lesson on the subject. It is not a problem to fail on a project and if that happened or if you are not totally happy, you can learn a great deal by rethinking it and redo it. Just like cutting, you will refine your work get more precise confortable and happy by doing so.
This baby got me a second place at the design in wood show in 2010

Dance Muse and 4 Different aspects of a Nebulous Thought, Sprinkling "marquetry"

Dance Muse and 4 Different aspects of a Nebulous Thought

Dance Muse and 4 Different aspects of a Nebulous Thought are by-products of the fusion Marquetry process used in ³ism. By that I mean, I was sad to see all those nice shavings, scrapings, sawdust wasted, so I collected them by color not really knowing what I was gona do with them, just that I already used some on The Shacks.
I just decided to use them as pigment an tried to do something more like painting but with wood pigments and texture.
Dance muse is an abstract idea of a dancing gipsy I had drawn in the past and 4 different aspects of a Nebulous Thought apart from having a silly title is what the silly title means.
Detail of Dance Muse

Both of them just out of the press

Some details of 4 Different aspects of a Nebulous Thought

Conclusion, I now keep everything and am becoming a horder

Quervelle Console table, Copy by Edwards & Lejeune

In 2006 Patrick Edwards and I had a commission to build a copy of a Quervelle Console table. The client could not choose between a copy of the one he already owned and one at the Dallas museum, so we decided to build both to give him a choice. He finally took both of them. 6 years later we visited them and finally got decent pictures.
Here is the original

We hired 2 carver for the legs I framed the furnitures, patrick Edwards did the veneering, I did the coloring and part of the finishing, we also hired a specialist for the stenciling with gold, another guilder for the feet as well as a marble company. As you can see it was a multi talented professional cooperation.
Here are the 2 pieces on the bench. The cove are assembled using 2 hidden mitered dovetails, teh rest is framed using tenons. Everything is assembled with Old Brown Glue. The veneering was done using a mix of hot hide glue hammer veneering and Old Brown Glue for the plane surfaces.

Between classes we use the school space for marquetry and finishing. The staining was done with natural pigment such as chicory, walnut husk and acajoutine to match the original. The finish is shellac, we used sandarac and shellac on the black feet to create craquelure effect we filled with dust to create an antiqued feeling.

And finally the pictures from last month visit. Never forget to take good pictures before delivery
Once again the original in the gigantic dining room

The copy

and the copy of the Dallas museum piece, in a alcove of the ball room.

³ism (cubism), Abstract Fusion Marquetry

In 2009 I reconnected with the Art side of my 5 years in the Arts and Crafts school Ecole Boulle, by working on abstract again.
I used for the first time veneer on this subject, and handy enough I had over ten years of scraps to work with, thanks to Patrick Edwards’ inability to through anything away.
Out of Abstract and Recycling Art came this first project a triptych called ³ism (cubism).
Here are some details

I received second place at the Design in Wood Show in 2012

The Shack #1 #2 #3, Landscape Marquetry

Another marquetry challenge on Fusion, “The Shack”
One of my most brain aching projects.
On that one I used the same technique than on Gaëtane, with prefused packs, but also a prefused background.
I used a maple background That i glued on a assembly board, then I placed my clouds, building from the light to the dark, mimicking the thickness of the storm clouds.
First an alder burl

Then some darker clouds on walnut burl and a blue horizon line

More darker walnut burl

Pieces of the Shack itself are cut out of my prefused packs. I sand and scrape to the point I almost want to go so I can sand slightly the project at the end. Those 2 veneers are now what I called “fused” to create kind of a new species of wood, a texture.
As I cut in 4 layers piece by piece, I prepare 4 of the same or cut a big one in 4 to put in a pack like that

Then I cut the background and the shack piece by piece and put them together on another assembly board, a bit more blue a bit more dark walnut burl and curly yellow wood as the back layer of my foreground.

Some more scraping, shaving and sawdust for the foreground loan and done

Completed for the 2009 Design in wood show, it did not meet again the understanding or liking of the judge. I must confess i was a bit upset for that one, but I was quiet happy as I got 11 inquiries on it and it was sold real fast.
Presenting that piece also brought me a client to buy the second one, my favorite. I made progress especially on the loan foreground mainly because I learn to play more accurately with the shaving and sawdust that I now call sprinkling.

I finished the third one for the Fine Art juried show at the Del Mar Fair, San Diego county and got the Spanish Village Art Center award for it in 2010

Gaëtane, Child Portrait Marquetry


In the pursuit of mastering the fusion technique I did this portrait of my niece Gaëtane.
A mix of fusion and piece by piece, cut in 4.
I started from a picture

Chose the woods
And started from the center out. I did not care much about accuracy on that project, I chose to use a temperamental fast cutting to express the energy in the child.

I used a new idea of preparing pre-fusioned pack, piece of veneer in to layers already scrape and sanded through almost to the intended final result. i used those for the hair

Then I added backgrounds and dress. i had 2 bubinga and 2 dyed black maple backgrounds

Then i added some more fusion with curly yellow wood for the hair, a new piece by piece layer of red and purple veneer for the dress and couple touch up on the face.

Final result