Woodworker passion for art, marquetry lead to special designs
Table of Transformation.

Jeff Grossman, a marquetarian and woodworker living in Phoenix, likes unusual designs and challenging projects.

His work has been recognized in a number of places. He received an Honorable Mention alongside Paul Schurch for the Specialty Items category in the 2019 Veneer Tech Craftsman Challenge

After a year and a half of cognitive impairment due to chemotherapy treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Grossman needed to verify whether he could safely return to woodworking.

He created his first project to include inlaid marquetry, a zebrawood table with marquetry butterflies, called Table of Transformation. The table won Best of Show at the 2015 Design In Wood exhibition at the Del Mar Fair in San Diego.  That affirmation led to Grossman starting Artistic Woodworking and Marquetry, a veteran-owned business.

Love Blossoms.

“Through my passion for fine woodworking, I create functional and unique furniture as art, and artistic marquetry, that evokes memories and joy-filled feelings for people who appreciate and desire to display it in their homes,” he said.

“I love to design with mixed media. Wood and veneer can be complemented with abalone, stone, powdered metals, and glass.

“I am very good at attention-to-detail marquetry as stand-alone art or inlayed into custom furniture,” Grossman said. “My customers appreciate the uniqueness of my art because it captures a feeling or a memory they have.

“One woman bought a Morris chair I built, with marquetry pictures of shells. The intent was to create a chair where you’d imagine sitting by the shore and seashells would wash up on the chair. I used powdered metals with the marquetry to create fluidity. She said it reminded her of her childhood sitting on a chair on the shore.”

Table of Transformation.

Grossman makes items and then sells them, and also works on commission. He creates pieces to be displayed at the Design In Wood exhibition in San Diego that are available for purchase.  He is also listed on CustomMade website, where people contact him to design and build custom furniture.

A special veneer design was inspired by a painting.

“About fifteen years ago, and years before I ever knew anything about marquetry, I was in an art gallery in south Florida, and was enamored by a painting by Mary Louise O'Sullivan, called Rowboat at Villajoyosa,” Grossman said.

He said, ‘One day, I’m going to create something based on that painting.’  That day came 15 years later, and Grossman created Serenity and displayed it at the Design in Wood exhibition in San Diego. He sold the original plus four more on commission, and won second place in the Marquetry As Art category.

Creating this appearance took many steps.

Once the pattern is created, veneers are chosen to capture the essence of the picture, which was a feeling of serenity. There are 22 different veneers used. After cut on a scroll saw, sand-shaded to create shadowing, and then glued down in a vacuum press, it is then completely coated with black metal clay powder, and covered with CA glue. This acts as a grout to fill in any spaces, and when finished with an oil finish, it causes the piece to visually “pop.” He made the frame and painted it with a milk paint to give a rustic look that complements the sun-aged feel of the rowboat.

Design inspired by a painting by Mary Louise O'Sullivan.

Creating the mirror image in the water was quite challenging.

“Also, I use black dye in the PVA glue for the glue-up and lay down a thick coat, so the vacuum press causes the glue to permeate the veneer to give depth in the picture (like in the attached butterfly picture),” Grossman said. “I used too much glue that overflowed to the front view. I sanded through several pieces and had to repair, almost to the point of scraping and starting over.”

Grossman also entered the Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge in 2020 with Love Blossoms.

“The level of artistry displayed at the Veneer Tech Craftsman’s Challenge is amazing!  I wanted to raise my level of artistry and be in the company of veneering masters.”

As for any future plans, Grossman said he loves to create impressionistic marquetry, shown in an in-process picture of his latest piece, entitled Graceful Elegance. See http://www.ArtisticWoodAndMarquetry.com


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About the author
Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected].