Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Marquetry Maps

Making maps of marquetry is nothing new, but Dan Bredemeier over at woodenmaps.com has recently completed, what I think, is the largest marquetry mural of a map ever constructed. Commissioned by an architectural firm for a Saudi Prince, it measures 18 feet wide and weighs over 200 pounds. It took Dan about a year to bring this project to completion.

Dan began doing marquetry as a hobby well before he knew it had a name. In time, he realized he could make money from this specialized craft. I have worked a few Shows with Dan and his technique is as old as marquetry itself. He first lays the background which will cover the entire piece using a vacuum press (usually using 1/4 plywood). While this is drying he begins to knife-cut the individual foreground pieces. These are then positioned on the foreground when it is taken out of the press and used as a template for tracing the desired shape. After this the background-veneer is removed using a 1/4" chisel and the foreground piece glued into place. In addition to this he adds details like names and facts using ink in a Calligraphic style.

Over time Dan has refined his technique through trial and error. I do not think there is a glue, finish, dye or chemical he has not tried. Below is his map of the United States and a detail from one of Africa.