In September 1994, I attended a weekend-long inlay seminar taught
by Grit Laskin. I had some prior inlay experience and a very good
background in Visual Arts. Grit took my inlays to a whole new level.
He discussed layout, design and developing a theme in your art work.
He also taught us how to copy a picture and most importantly,
demonstrated and taught us the lost art of engraving.
Engraving is very difficult and extremely slow-going. There
are no second chances when engraving on shell. One little mistake,
and its there forever. The graver cuts are filled with a black
wax, India ink or magic marker.
Almost all the inlay art I've done started with an idea the
customer had. Some customers like to talk the idea over first;
others have sent me a stick drawing or even a photograph. From
there, I do a very rough sketch for the customer to see. If I'm
on the right track, I'll do a good drawing. If I've got it wrong,
or I have to make a few changes, I'll do another rough drawing.
After the good drawing has been ok'd, I'll do a finer, more
detailed drawing with all the engraving. I do the inlay from this
last detailed drawing.
Sometimes I'll come up with a great idea while I'm doing the
inlay. I almost always call the customer to get an ok first,
but on the odd occassion I've surprised my customers with a little
addition like the bubbles on the Sailor Sam Mermaid guitar, or some extra
inlay on the bridge wings like on Art-Deco II.
Another interesting note is that I can copy your signature and
inlay it on your guitar. Ever thought of having your own signature
I can do any idea you can come up with, so... what's it going
to be on your dream guitar?