Painting pictures with wood

Bismarck, North Dakota


Becky Barnes

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Becky Barnes


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About TheWoodWyrm

Sales 24
On Etsy since 2012

Painting Pictures With Wood

Intarsia (during warm months)

My introduction to intarsia was a fluke. When my husband and I got married, I decided for wedding favors, it would be fun (ha!) to make personalized plaques for each family in the wedding party. I delved into research, looked at current styles, and then decided I didn't like what I saw. I knew I wanted to work with wood, so I could honor my Grandfather who had passed away and wouldn’t see me on the Big Day, but I couldn’t figure out how.

A friend and I then took a class on stained glass, and I loved the detail, the lead lines, the puzzle-fit of the pieces (reminiscent of my work as a Paleontologist, I guess – only colorful). The glass also reminded me of intarsia pieces I had seen at street fairs. Thoughts led to thoughts, and I wondered – why not do a stained glass style intarsia? Keep it all flat, use “lead” lines for some of the details and wood divisions, and strictly natural wood color to tell apart shadows, highlights, and textures?

I drafted patterns, bought wood, and dove in head first. I started on what I thought would be the easiest design, thinking – if I couldn’t pull off that one, then I might as well stop. It turned out well, and I learned a lot in the process. So I dove into what I thought would be the hardest design – if I couldn’t pull off that one, then what was the point of doing all the others? It too, turned out well, and I once again learned more during the process.

Since then, each piece I do I learn something new. Maybe a new style of transferring my pattern. Maybe a way to hold the boards as I cut. Different saw blades. Different sandpaper. The whole thing is an evolving art style for me.

Sculpting (during cold months)

I was born to a mother and grandmother who ran ceramic shops, so sculpture was always something I did, but never really thought about. During Graduate school, I had a number of pendrives stolen, and was fed up with the lack of identifying features to say “Hey! That’s MINE!”. So, I modified the next one I bought. Spikes! Scales! I called it the “pendragon”. Lets see someone try and say THAT one is theirs! A number of friends then wanted me to modify their drives. Toads, trilobites, beetles! I expanded to computer mice – why not? Feathers, scales, turtle shells! Each one is different. Yes, I could make a mold, but half of the fun is letting my imagination wander…

Shop members

  • Becky Barnes


    I am a Paleontologist by trade, but art for me is sanity. A good night is the smell of sawdust, and kitties "helping" me piece together intarsia.

Shop policies

Last updated on March 28, 2017
I enjoy sticking with the basics of intarsia - a "woodworking technique that uses varied shapes, sizes, and species of wood fitted together to create a mosaic-like picture with the illusion of depth," rather than shaping each piece in a 3-dimensional fashion to create actual depth. I do not stain my wood - I only use a clear finish over the top to let the natural beauty of each species of tree stand out.

Accepted payment methods

Paypal Mastercard Visa American Express Discover Apple Pay Klarna Giftcard
Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
All sales are final, within reason.

Premade pieces - No bait-and-switch, no "similar pieces" - what you see is what you get!**

Custom orders - As these are done to the specifications of the buyer, and there is an update-as-I-go process, all sales are final.**

**If your piece is damaged during shipping, and you wish a refund, the original product must be returned within two weeks of receipt. A refund will not be given if signs of obvious abuse are seen on the artwork (such as dog chew marks, stains, etc.). Please notify me with any problems, and I will work with you to resolve any issues.
If you use PayPal, I will contact you with any special information needed.
Checks and/or Money Orders - please notify me when you mail these off, and I will notify you as soon as I receive them (or they clear, in the case of a check).
I will do my best to send out your order in a timely fashion. It may be the day after I receive your purchase order, due to conflicts between my work schedule and Post Office hours. I will notify you as soon as I mail it out however.
Additional policies and FAQs
The intarsia pieces I create are meant to be art - not furniture or toys that are built to take a lot of abuse. While I try to make them as durable as I can, if they are thrown around or stepped on, I cannot guarantee they'll survive well! Different wood types have different hardness (see the Janka scale for more information).