For generations, quilters have used traditional block designs for their heirloom quilts. When Dave Grunenwald was looking for designs to showcase his woodworking and marquetry skills, he found his inspiration in some of these same quilt blocks.
How did you get interested in woodworking/wood marquetry?
I’ve been a hands-on kind of guy for as long as I can remember. I used to make my own toys out of wood–little cars, space ships and such. Now I have a business with a partner restoring antique pool tables. The tables often have lots of wood inlay flowers and vines. To restore them, I taught myself marquetry. I fell in love with the woods, and I’ve been making boxes for the last 15 years or so.
What inspired you to use quilt block designs for your boxes?
My girlfriend Beth told me that I should be using quilt block designs. I said, “What are quilt blocks?” But once I saw all the great designs, I was hooked. As I read more about them, something from my art training (MFA) told me that these are great folk art abstractions. Take the log cabin block, for example. Beth told me the little red square in the center represents the fire in the chimney. That’s a great abstraction!
The woods are stunning. Do you have favorites?
I’ll use any wood that has real character. I like the tropical woods with striking grain as well as the beautiful domestic walnut, maple and cherry. My favorite light colored wood is Tamo, Japanese ash. My favorite dark wood changes a lot. Right now it’s redwood burl. I use no stains. I choose the woods for their color and character. My favorite box is always the one I’m making now.
Right now I’m experimenting on a 5″ cube that will have the quilt block design on all 5 sides with the design running right across the opening. I’ll probably do a 7″ box a little deeper than the 6″ for a good dresser top box that will be ideal for men’s watches, keys, cell phones and such. Boxes for stationary are also on the drawing board.
To see more of Dave’s Quiltboxes, visit his blog at quiltboxes.com where you’ll also find the link to his online shop. While you’re there, sign up for his newsletter, get behind the scenes glimpses into Quiltboxes, and look for coupons and giveaways.
Speaking of giveaways, here’s your opportunity to win a Quiltbox.
Leave a comment by 12 noon MST on Monday, December 5, 2011 and tell us what traditional quilt block you think would look great in wood. We’ll draw three winners at random. Each winner will receive one of the featured Quiltboxes shown above.
So many wonderful block suggestions. Congratulations to our winners! The random number generator picked #189 NancyD., #238 Karen O and #127 Jennifer. Quiltboxes are on the way to your homes.