As a self-taught marquetry artist, T. Breeze Verdant creates beautiful designs with woods, Paua abalone and fine metals. Using very thin veneers, he creates elaborate images and landscapes on boxes, guitars, jewelry and small tabletops. Refusing to totally produce the same item over and over again, Breeze works in cycles and his designs are constantly evolving.
He started his woodworking experience by building a log cabin from his own trees and rocks, hauling the logs by hand with a "come-along". He consequently demolished buildings for building materials and built another home entirely from lumber he harvested selectively from a friend's forest (thereby saving it from being clear-cut). Expressing oneself through house building is a tedious method of expression. It also consumes a lot of trees, with which Breeze has a long time affinity. In fact, when he was young and his mother called him for dinner, she always knew in which direction to yell... upwards!
Breezeís aim with wood is to create and share the greatest amount of beauty while consuming the smallest amount of wood , to display beauty without consuming it. Therefore, a great deal of the wood Ė and ALL of the solid exotic pieces - used in his work is from scraps and recycled pieces. The veneers he uses are approximately 1/50" thick and sliced, not sawn, which means there is virtually no waste.
According to Breeze, ďI do this stuff because I love wood! I get to work with all kinds of outrageous stuff that I would never get my hands on otherwise. The best wood gets sliced into veneers and I deal with the wildest of freak veneers. Thatís what Iím interested in and partially what keeps me going. I have a huge penchant for detail, in fact an imagination that makes a lot of trouble for me because I canít keep up with it in terms of following through with all of my ideas. Keeping the work small allows me to play with a lot of different concepts without getting crazy with the amount of detail a larger piece demands.Ē
Now Breeze tries to allow trees to express themselves, seeing patterns in the woods and letting the pattern lead him to reveal mostly topographic images. Maple that bugs have bored holes in allowing rainwater to paint clouds, cutting twigs into veneers for rustic effect, and spalted maple for further cloudlike effects are employed for natural effect.
Breeze has been practicing marquetry full time since 1988 and has taught the art for over 6 years. He is well known as a box and jewelry maker, and has also been inlaying guitars for Carvin Guitar Corp. of San Diego, California since 1999. He has been featured in several books and the Chicago Tribune. Visit his website at www.tbreezeverdant.com.