Marquetry is the art of assembling thin slices of wood to form an image.
Dating back to the 16th century, marquetry is a technique in which different shades of a natural material — wood veneers, ivory, mother-of-pearl, marble, or semi-precious stones — are carefully cut to fit precisely together to create a single design. The effect produced from this elaborate technique is similar to inlay, but in the latter, a solid body of one material is cut out to receive pre-cut pieces of another to form the pattern.
Marquetry is a very old technique, which was first used by cabinetmakers on wood paneling — playing with different types of woods, different colors, and different veneers.
It can really be considered a classic métier d’art, which reached its apex in the 18th century. The ways to play with the technique are endless. You can create abstract or figurative patterns. It can be done very colorfully, playing with different woods, or more subtly using only tone-on-tone contrasts.
The stages of Wood Marquetry