Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Intarsia Pattern Supplies

Intarsia Pattern Supplies

Many woodwork intarsia patterns are supplied as paper plans – often on tracing paper – and if you search MSN, Yahoo or Google you will find a long list of designers and producers. More recently however a number of people have started suppling them digitally – a method pioneered by Intarsia Designs just over four years ago.

This digital supply method has several advantages. Woodworkers can now get their intarsia pattern virtually instantly rather than waiting for the mail. They also pay less as there are no postal or packing charges. This has been particularly useful for intarsia artists outside the US/Canada where post costs could be two or three times the cost of the actual intarsia plan itself!

Downloadable intarsia patterns are also easier for wood workers to store – just a small file on your PC. Another important point to consider is convenience. With a digital intarsia plan you don’t need to keep popping to the copy shop – you can just print another and be in the workshop a couple of minutes later. Same thing applies if you spill coffee or your favorite finish on it – just print another – no problem!

This digital delivery has now gone a stage further – a natural progression if you think about it - with the production of the first digitally delivered book, The Complete Intarsia Manual, which has apparently proven very popular with intarsia artists of all levels from all over the world. Others are bound to follow and I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.

As mentioned above woodworkers have a wealth of intarsia plan suppliers to choose from - too many to list here. We will however mention the two we know of who provide downloadable plans - the aforementioned Intarsia Designs and Fantastic Woodworking.com. Both are to be recommended if you're looking for a convenient way to get your wood working plan supplies.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Intarsia History

Intarsia wood pattern history

Over the coming weeks we’re going to cover everything associated with intarsia wood patterns for woodworkers but also the woods, tools, some of the best known artists, suppliers, designers and on and off-line resources where you can learn the tricks of the trade, get helfpul advice and even save money on your supplies.

But first I thought it might be interesting to look at the history of this art form.

Intarsia as we know it today probably first came into existence with the work of Judy Gale Roberts and Gerry Booher – the “parents” of modern intarsia. Judy originally revitalised the art with her father before later working with Jerry. Today, they are still leading lights in the craft and through their workshop courses and sales of intarsia patterns continue to introduce new people to this fascinating craft.

Where the art originally comes from is always open to debate, and to be honest, no-one really knows although it’s widely accepted that it can be traced back to Egyptian times. Intarsia was certainly around in 13th century Italy and in 14th and 15th century Germany. We also know that by the 17th century it was almost completely replaced by the more popular marquetry – which could be made more delicate and was arguably easier to produce.

Nowadays, whilst Judy Gale Roberts (better known as JGR) is probably the best known producer there are a great many other intarsia pattern suppliers – from those craftsmen who just like to design their own pieces to those who produce them commercially.

The USA and Canada are particularly well supplied but there are also well known designers at work in the UK and Australia. Through this blog we’ll be introducing you to many of them over the coming weeks.

I hope you’ll join in by posting your comments and questions – which I’ll try to answer to the best of my abilities - and if you know of a product or service related to free intarsia patterns for wood workers that’s deserving of a mention please let me know.

I’ll be doing regular reviews to try and help inform potential and existing intarsians, but please remember these are my own opinions – which I suppose is the purpose of an intarsia. Before making any buying decisions yourself you should read all you can and, where possible, have any equipment demonstrated.

Until next time then, as we intarsians say “keep the sawdust flying”!

Intarsia Wood Patterns

Intarsia Wood Patterns

Welcome to my intarsia wood patterns blog. Here we're talking specifically about woodworking intarsia patterns rather than segmentation or any of the other forms of scroll saw work. Over the coming weeks I hope to look at everything associated with this fascinating art.