John C. Felten

Hard Wood Art

Over twenty-five years ago, I discovered I had a passion for woodworking. Within a short time I also realized that I was able to follow measured plans and build just about anything, large or small. After a few years of experimenting and building a variety of large furniture pieces, I felt a leaning toward creating original works that offered more personal expression. I enrolled in a marquetry class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.  The class spanned five days and I discovered my fascination for the art and craft of marquetry, inlay and veneering. I focused my attention on developing these skills, in the hope that I could add them to those I had already mastered.  It has been an exciting adventure working with different tools, handling and shaping thinner and more fragile materials. I find the work challenging, but more significantly, the possibilities to be endless.    

Marquetry is an art form that offers me infinite varieties of creative and personal expression .

The addition of elements, shapes and materials to one project will set one piece apart from the others, and reveal new textures or character.  Mastering marquetry requires steady discipline, and I enjoy the challenge of learning different techniques. I have found that marquetry can transform the surface of a well crafted wooden box, or tray to a platform for vivid artistic expression.

Since taking an introductory marquetry class in 2012, my own personal woodworking direction has shifted course.  I now invest more time in making smaller items . Although I have added inlay and marquetry accents to a few table tops, I now focus primarily on applying these accents to hand made wooden boxes, trays etc. Learning from books and DVDs is helpful for a basic overview and exposure to these skills, but whenever possible I prefer to be in a classroom with a master craftsman for one-on-one instruction and continue to do so from time to time. 

I am currently a member of the American Marquetry Society and the Rocky Mountain Marquetry Guild. Other examples of my work are on display and for sale at numerous locations in the region, including By Western Hands in Cody, Wyoming, Artists’ Gallery on S. Grand Ave at the Emerson Center in Bozeman and 4 Ravens Gallery on N. Higgins in Missoula.