Sam Griffith practices the art of Intarsia under, "SAMSINTARSIA", a micro-business engaged in crafting and selling intricate and beautiful "Intarsia" wood art pieces.
The term "Intarsia" comes from the Latin verb, "interserere", meaning to insert. It is believed that the Art of Intarsia first originated in Italy around 1200 AD. Craftsman cut, shaped, and "inserted" pieces of different wood species, colors, and grain patterns together to form a "mosaic" or wood picture, which they used for decoration inside churches and other buildings. The different wood colors and grain patterns were selected and strategically placed to achieve the desired contrast and dimensional perspective in the "wood picture".
Sam states, "I've been practicing and doing this art form for about 15 years now. I say practicing, because with each piece I craft, I learn something new and gain insight and appreciation for this beautiful art form."
The different wood species that Sam uses are sourced from different countries and continents around the world. His wood sources include North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Philippines.
Once Sam chooses a project, he spends a good amount of time selecting just the right pieces of wood, with the color, shade, and grain pattern to "fit" the art piece. These selections provide the color tone and contrast he is looking for. This practice of selecting the right piece of wood insures that you get a "one of a kind" finished piece.
Using a prearranged pattern, Griffith hand-cuts each piece to fit into the overall project. The pieces are all shaped and sanded by hand to fit the last and the next piece. The number of pieces in a work can vary from 20 or so in a small piece to as many as 800 pieces in a very complex project. The small pieces are then very carefully fitted and glued together as one. This mosaic is then glued to a sturdy backing, usually plywood, for support and durability.
Sam does not typically use any paint or stain, as he much prefers the inherent natural beauty of the wood as provided by Mother Nature. He does apply a protective coat (up to 6 coats) of Polycrylic finish to enhance and preserve it's natural beauty.
Sam says, "Depending on the complexity of the piece, it requires anywhere from 20 to 85 work hours to complete a project. The ultimate reward for me, for all that work, is the exhilaration I feel when I sit back and take the time to appreciate Mother Nature's gift that made it all possible, and the reaction and smiles from customers when they view the completed piece. I hope you enjoy my work as much as I love doing it."