Transforming Tree Trunks into Treasure…The Art of Intarsia.

Wood Carving When most people look at a dead tree stump, they don’t see a work of art. That’s not the case for Daryl Aukeman, a master craftsman and Grand Rapids, Michigan artesian.  Daryl handcrafts exquisite carvings from local and exotic hardwoods.

Using the rich, natural texture, color and patterning of woods such as tiger maple, black walnut and South American purple heart, he paints unique pictures to create scenic landscapes.  The inlaid wood chips become master keystrokes within a larger mosaic known as the art form Intarsia .

I was introduced to Daryl’s work through an acquaintance for whom he had completed some carpentry work. West Michigan is known for the excellence and pride that its’ builders and craftsman take in their job. The inlaid wood cathedral ceiling on a custom deck required advanced woodworking skills which Daryl was able to complete successfully.

As the daughter of a man who loved working with wood, I’ve always appreciated the skill required to fashion something elegant from a block or a stump.   As we talked, Dary showed us pictures of decorative wall hangings and colorful floor inlays in which he captures natures beauty.  With a lathe and chisel, he also fashions beautiful keepsakes and gifts like commemorative candlesticks.

These days when so much of the woodwork that is available is pre-fabricated, it’s always a pleasure to meet  a local Carpenter who takes great pride in his work. When Daryl initially described the art form Intarsia, I had never heard of the term.  As I looked on line, two definitions pop up which in some ways could not have been more distinctly different. One  definition of  a type of Intarsia is a knitted wool design resembling a mosaic which is visible from both sides of the fabric.  I find it fascinating that the wool Intarsia takes strands of soft yarn and transforms them into a piece that achieves a solid picture visible from all sides, while a wood Intarsia  is formed by breaking down wood  into chips and then combining their delicate beauty to reveal hidden patterns and landscapes of particular fascination.

I’m reminded of the fact that in a sense, we are all craftsman as we ply our different trades.  We are also all a work in progress in the hands of the Master Craftsman, our Creator. Our lives in some ways resemble the strands of a wool Intarsia as  different experiences and circumstance are interwoven to form a pattern.  But, there is also a breaking down which can seem painful but has the capacity to create a beauty which is not initially  evident

Dary Aukman is someone who has the ability to see beauty transforming itself from a hunk or chip of wood into an item of Great Value. His Motto is:  Transforming Trees Into Treasures… If you’re looking for a craftsman to create a Special Work of Art or need a one of a kind memento, you can Contact Daryl Aukeman of Aukeman Hardwood Designs at:  616-896-0157.

To Read More About Intarsia, there’s an interesting thread at this site….

*The picture of the wood carving is courtesy of geodiscs photo stream on flickr.  The picture is for illustrative purposes.  Copies of brochures or photographs detailing Aukeman’s work can be obtained by dialing the number above.

*portions of this blog were originally posted on 2008.  Revised 2010. Copyright 2008  Audu Real Estate All Rights Reserved

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