The Lady
Ken Cowell / Ken Cowell (Ken Cowell Studio)
“The Lady by Ken Cowell The creation of one artist can be the spark that ignites the passion in another artist, and the completed vision of one can inspire another to re-dream that vision in a wholly new way. When Ken Cowell saw Alphonse Mucha's "Le Printemps" his imagination was immediately captured, and he knew that he wanted to re-create the piece in wood. Ken has spent many hours studying the art of marquetry and knew that this would be the perfect technique to use for this work. The art nouveau style of the original piece, with its strong lines and natural elements, lends itself well to this technique, and Ken began the challenge of bringing his work to life. Marquetry is done using veneers exclusively, and Ken chose to make his own veneers to exactly fit his standards. Each veneer used is .070 inches thick. There are 25 different varieties of wood used in The Lady. Twelve of them are commercial woods, and 13 of them are reclaimed from the local urban landscape: whenever Ken saw a tree being cut down, he would stop to see if he could have some of the wood. Of special note is the Lady's hair, which is made entirely of reclaimed carrotwood that was spalting, which is what gives it its many colors. When the piece was finished, there was a new decision to be made: how would be the best way to display this art? After showing the work to a number of people, Ken realized that most would assume that this was a painting and not a study in wood. This put to rest the idea of framing it, and inspired Ken to incorporate it into an armoire. After months of research, he was unable to find a style that pleased him, and so he set out to design one himself. Within two hours he had drawn the plans for the armoire, and the work began. Ken fashioned the unique diamond patterned doors from ebony veneers, which he again cut himself, and set them into frames of mahogany. When the armoire was done, Ken had accomplished exactly what he had envisioned: he had faithfully re-created a beautiful piece of art in a unique way, and had built a classic, timeless piece of furniture to display in his home.” (Written by Kristy Cowell)

“ ‘The Lady’ is a near flawless marquetry portrait, beautifully executed, and framed in a custom wardrobe.” - Bill Esler, Woodworking Network

“The marquetry in this piece is exquisite. When the human face is involved in marquetry it is important that the eyes of the image seem to actually be observing the observer. This image has that feel. Great choice of wood colors, that all work well in harmony with each other.” - Marc Adams, Marc Adams School of Woodworking

“Beautiful. I loved the story and how the piece was developed.”