"Notes On Making Intarsias"
By Meredith Jones
Kitsap Mineral and Gem Society

"Blue Heron," an intarsia by Meredith Jones, Bremerton, Washington. All material including frame is petrified wood except the green hills which are jasper. The black wood is from eastern Oregon, the rest from Saddle Mountain and Rattlesnake Hills in Washington. There is a total of 284 pieces of which 202 comprise the bird. The work took 300 hours over a three month period. Made in 1965, "Blue Heron" received a blue ribbon in master competition at the National Show in Yakima, Washington, in 1965.

   "Intarsias are in great demand at all shows but are extremely scarce. Why do people hesitate to create a piece of work that can be so rewarding? Is it a lack of proper equipment and cutting material, or does the thought of fitting many small pieces into a single picture appear too difficult?
   Surely anybody who can form a cabochon can grind and fit the edges of two or more stones together for cementing. If this is true you can make an intarsia.
   I would like to mention that at the 1965 National show at Yakima, three members of the Kitsap Mineral and Gem Society of Bremerton took two first places and a second for intarsias, in both the masters and advanced categories. The judges had little choice, as we were the only ones entered.

The author holding the "Blue Heron."

   We have six local people making intarsias this winter and hope you will join us for some real competition or just personal satisfaction.
   This type of work is relatively new and the average person is puzzled by many questions, which I hoe to answer. The construction procedure has been adopted successfully by five of my friends. No doubt there are many variations and improvements that can be made to suit your particular project.
   Basically an intarsia is composed of many small pieces and assembled like a jig-saw puzzle. The pieces are cut and cemented, one at a time, to form an entire picture of stones, which can rival the finest painting. The surface is ground and polished which brings out the fine texture and colors of the rocks.
   A rather simple subject, such as a map of the United States, is a good beginning project. All pieces are fairly large and colors are o great problem. More advanced projects could be birds, flowers, ships, etc., which may use many tiny pieces of material with just the right color or pattern to develop a real masterpiece.


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