About Jane Burke

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About Jane Burke

Jane Burke

I was born in South Africa and spent most of my growing years there.  After studying clothing design at college I joined my parents in Paraguay where I lived for 9 years.  This is where I was introduced to Marquetry.

I have a passion for marquetry and wood in general.  There are so many wonderful species of wood in gorgeous colors and the most interesting grain patterns.  What makes marquetry so satisfying is that I get to use many different species in a single picture.  Even just paging through my veneer supplies, while looking for veneers for a project, gives me a thrill as I once again get to see and enjoy the wonderful varieties of wood.

I started doing Marquetry in 1993.  I was shown how to cut veneer with a scroll saw but quickly found that it was easier and more accurate using a craft knife.  Over the following few years I worked on my technique until I developed a style that suited me.  This is the technique I now teach.

Marquetry is my way of appreciating the beauty of wood while expressing my creativity.  I am inspired either by a piece of veneer which gives me an idea for a design, or by a photograph or drawing, normally something from nature.  I take this design and turn it into a pattern, which often means simplifying it to suit the medium.  I find my biggest challenge is how to represent the different elements in the design using a palette provided by trees.  After all, if I need a piece of veneer just a little bit lighter I cannot just add a bit of white, I have to find a lighter piece of veneer with the same sheen and grain pattern to suit the one I am using.

When finishing one piece of marquetry I can hardly wait to get started on the next because each picture, even if somewhat similar to another, is still quite unique as each piece of veneer has its own character.  No two pictures ever turn out identical.


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