Woodworker creates superior marquetry in northern Minnesota studio

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Angel92

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A win at a national competition is the http://www.cinemakolik.com/graham-gano-jersey-c-1_27.html latest in a string of plaudits for woodworker Joe Morgan.
His "Labyrinth Table" earned praise at the 2017 Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge, the 13th annual competition recognizing excellence in veneer woodwork design. The panel of judges involved experts from the fields of woodworking, education and manufacturing.
Competitors included "well-established, professional guys I admire and look up to," said the self-taught craftsman, designer and artist from Park Rapids. "I was completely surprised to win that category. I'm basically an unknown woodworker from northern Minnesota. To have my piece recognized within that circle is pretty special."
Morgan captured first place in the furniture category and received $1,000.
"I've already started to buy more hand tools to explore more options with woodworking and try new things," he said.
Morgan's specialty is marquetry, the art of creating an image using pieces of veneer, a thin decorative covering of fine wood.
The labyrinth pattern on the outer ring of the table comprises 650 pieces, all cut by hand. A marquetry image of an octahedron is inlaid at the center. The 104 pieces for that image were also cut by hand.
"The precision veneer work and optical http://www.dusenadup.com/stephen-curry-jersey-c-1_44.html effects display exceptional craftsmanship," wrote the judge.
Morgan conceived the design a couple years ago. He'd seen the 16-piece, repeating pattern in paintings or using old, stone tiles on Greek tables.
The outer ring of the table was most time-consuming. Morgan labored on it for several months.
"It was wintertime and I really had nothing better to do," he said. "Each piece must be cut the same size. Any little deviation would be noticeable."
The octahedron was inspired by an image on Pinterest.
"I saw it and thought, 'That's kind of cool. I think I could do that in marquetry,'" he recalled.
All told, some 250 to 300 hours went into the table's creation, using only four types of hand precision tools.
"I nicknamed that table 'Patience Test," he said.
"Labyrinth Table" is currently displayed at The Art of Fine Furniture in Rochester. It received the Judge's Award of Excellence and Excellence in Daeshon Hall Authentic Jersey Veneering at the 2017 Northern Woods Exhibition, an annual competition hosted by the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild.
Morgan is using a Region 2 Arts Council grant for his marquetry endeavors and regional art shows. This summer, he exhibited at six art fairs.
 
Posted 24 Aug 2017

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