Reflecting Humor In Marquetry
Unsure of where he wanted his woodworking to go, Gregg Novosad created a sequence of projects that required an ever-increasing set of skills. The result: spectacular marquetry infused with wry humor.
I have been around woodworking since I was a child, watching my dad build cabinets in our garage with the simplest of tools. From that humble beginning, I went on a life-long journey evolving my skills as a self-taught woodworker--from building bars and stereo cabinets in college to ultimately running a woodworking company. After college I started a technology-consulting firm, where I gained an appreciation for a structured approach that incorporates employee skills development. After 14 years, I sold the business and intensified my woodworking journey.
Rather than just building projects that popped into my head, I created a personal skills development plan-a sequence of projects to build that required an increasingly difficult set of skills. The plan had a series of development steps requiring core knowledge of a technique and a project to demonstrate that skill. I went from joinery, to turning, to wood bending, to shaping, finally to veneering. After building my first marquetry piece in 2005, I had my "aha!" moment and focused my attention on decorative veneering. Marquetry gave me the perfect mix of creativity along with hands-on satisfaction of woodworking.
Reading Pierre Ramond's Masterpieces of Marquetry gave me a clear vision for my next leg of my woodworking journey. While others find inspiration from Krenov and Maloof, for me the gold standard was works from European master ebonists like Oben, Roentgen, and Linke. I reworked my skills-development plan to build pieces from all the furniture styles from 1650 to 1900.