Intarsia Artists Extraordinaire

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Intarsia Artists Extraordinaire

Andy WoodSmith and Christopher James Boux are members of a small collective of wood artisans from British Columbia, Canada, known as The Wood Vibe Tribe. Their goal is to take intarsia to a bold new level.

By Kathleen Ryan

Meet The Wood Vibe Tribe

The Wood Vibe Tribe is a collective of British Columbia wood gurus dedicated to sharing their love of wood with others through collaborative education. “We came together to help support one another as artists,” said co-founder Andy WoodSmith. “Collaboration is an exciting process of trusting one another’s artistic visions. The fact that we work together has allowed us to grow far beyond our wildest dreams.”

The Tribe started in 2014 when Brad Rhadwood, Andy WoodSmith, and Christopher James Boux crossed paths at an arts festival. Brad suggested that they band together to support one another. Their first collective show proved a huge success, gaining instant recognition for the group. They have since added two more members, Kyle Vibes and apprentice Kain McCollum, and a handful of project consultants. Each person has his own area of expertise, ranging from wood painting and driftwood sculpting to wooden jewelry making and extreme intarsia.

For more information on the collective visit

 Andy WoodSmith

“I’ve always had the kind of mind that looks at something and instantly imagines ways I could make it look cooler,” said Andy WoodSmith. “The key is to not have an agenda. The work has its own life and is constantly showing me the way—all I do is listen!”

A former salesman, Andy discovered his talent for woodworking after his father’s death. “He left me woodworking tools but I had no plans to use them,” he said.

Three years later, in need of privacy trellises for his yard, Andy dusted off his father’s tools and went to work. Pleased with the results, he posted a photo of the resulting curvy, flowing trellises on Facebook and got requests to make more. “I’ve been in the wood shop ever since!”

Andy quickly progressed from garden trellises to more detailed pieces requiring the use of a scroll saw.

“I bought a Hegner and affectionately named it Helga. It’s my main tool now.”

A fascination with symmetry led Andy to create intarsia mandalas (circular designs composed of geometric patterns). He usually sketches them by hand and then uses Adobe Illustrator to refine the designs. He prints the patterns and chooses pieces of naturally colored and repurposed wood. “I love tropical wood for its rich colors, but I also enjoy the more earthy, chalky colors of North American woods,” said Andy. “It all depends on the piece. In the end, the piece decides what wood it needs.” Andy cuts the design with his scroll saw and then sands and assembles the pieces. He finishes the completed artwork with beeswax, orange oil, and canuba oil to protect the wood (“This allows the smell and the natural look and feel of the wood to come through”). It might take 100 hours to complete a complicated mandala.

“I want to always be challenging myself, because for me, there is no destination, only the opportunity to grow and evolve,” he said.“This work fulfills me in ways I never dreamed possible before. It’s my doorway to the life I’ve always wanted . . . and I have my father to thank for it!”

For more information contact Andy WoodSmith at

Christopher James Boux

“My greatest joy as an artist is to see how much time people take viewing my finished pieces,” said mixed-media artist Christopher James Boux. “It’s really special when my artwork has an positive impact on their lives.”

He currently creates multi-faceted, 2- and 3-D mixed-media intarsia pieces.“I’m really focused on intarsia right now because I keep getting ideas for new ones!” he laughed.

Chris became enamored with wood after his first shop class in junior high school. “I knew back then that it was for me. I’d spend all of my spare time working on projects,” he recalled. He got his first scroll saw at age 15. He also experimented with other mediums—drawing with charcoal and pencils, sculpting in clay, building metal sculptures, and carving driftwood salvaged on the shores of Vancouver Island. “For the last three years I’ve combined my skills to create wood art. I love that I get to work from home on what I’m inspired to do each day, and that I can lose myself in the work,” he said. “I feel like the magic has just begun!”

Chris likes the wide range of soft tones in local varieties of wood, so he stocks his shop with 30 types. “As an intarsia artist, I don’t use lots of wood. Five board feet of each type of wood lasts forever!” he said.

In addition to his 1990s Excalibur scroll saw, Chris recently started using a CNC machine for some of the cutting.

“I had learned how to operate these machines back in college and I wanted to see if I could utilize the technology for my art,” he said. “The laser really only mechanizes part of the process: cutting out the pieces. I still have to do all of the carving and shaping. The trickiest part for me is ripping all the wood to the 1/4″ stock. For that I mostly use a feather board and my table saw.” He sands and shapes each piece with manually operated machines, like spindle and belt sanders.

A design may continue to evolve even after Chris begins working with the wood. “I want the piece to speak to me—to have a relationship with it while I work,” he explained. “It’s important that I listen to it, as much as it listens to me. That gives me a sense that the work is being done through me rather than me just trying to exert my will upon it.” Chris hinted that future intarsia pieces might include even more mixed media and carving. “I’m always open to what inspires me next, and I’m stoked to be part of a tribe of like-minded friends…I feel truly blessed.”

For more information contact Chris at

For more on intarsia, see Wildlife Intarsia and Intarsia Workbook by Judy Gale Roberts. Available for 19.99 and 14.95, respectively, plus S&H, from







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