Marquetry Portraits by Rob Milam

Rob Milam from Atlanta, Georgia creates these portraits from wood veneers using an artform known as “marquetry”.

“Marquetry is the craft of cutting and piecing together contrasting pieces of wood veneer to create an image."

He started the process with a photograph. Using Photoshop, he create a black-and-white image showing the dark and light part. Then he recreate it using up to 16 different kinds of wood veneers and up to 700 pieces, many of which are the size of a pin-head, hand-cut with a chisels, knives and scroll saw. He then fits the pieces tightly together to form a picture in a single plane which is then glued to a substrate.

"Veneer selection is really the most fun and challenging part of the process. I have a limited palette to work with and consequently the finished product often tells more about what the wood has to say than what I have to say. I frequently end up with things I did not plan for and it always turns out to be a pleasant surprise.”

Every species of wood has a distinctive grain pattern and colors range from creamy white (holy and English sycamore), to dark brown (Brazilian rosewood) and even black (bog oak). Though he usually uses only naturally colored wood, Rob Milam sometimes makes use of artificially colored blue and green veneer, for replicating the eye’s iris.

"I draw from my inventory of some 120 varieties of veneer to select a few that will contrast and complement each other effectively."

All images are © Copyright of Rob Milam

Check his website:

Source: Odditycentral and woodworkessence


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