Kief Sloate-Dowden works for Dave Nichols at Custom Pearl Inlay. He’s a multi talented inlay artist, musician, print maker, and photographer. His inlay work is absolutely excellent, from fine drawings to caligraphy in pearl to absolutely precise routing. You can’t see the glue line surrounding the pearl that he’s inlaid. Instead the pearl seems to simply end and the wood starts. I’ve personally seen him cut a line of pearl that was a squiggle about 1 or 2 mm wide and an inch or two long. That requires a very steady hand, smooth cutting, and very fine hand / eye co-ordination or else the squiggle of pearl breaks. And you just know that he can route the cavity that will accept the squiggle without any any excess cavity to be hidden.

He claims that such steadiness comes from lots of practice, many hours per day for several years, but I think it’s more than that. There’s this talent thing that the good artist’s have, and he’s got it in spades.

I’m hoping he’ll allow me to post more photographs of his work on this site, but for now, there’s just a few sets – have a look and enjoy..