Having the island of Madeira a dense grove, since the beginning of colonization people have resorted to the raw material made available by nature for the construction of numerous utilitarian, decorative, ludic or religious artifacts. Consequently, the manufacture of tables, safes, boxes and other inlayed articles was one of the activities that emerged and had a significant expansion and expression on the island.

The Madeiran wood inlay is unique. The shades are natural, for which the best woods of our Laurissilva forest are used, which clearly distinguishes it from the industrialized works, in which dyes are used. The different shades that embellish the ornamental designs are obtained from the various species used.

With the temporary exhibition Traços de madeira – A arte de embutir (“Traces of wood – The art of inlay”), the museum sought to value this cultural heritage, disseminating the works of different inlay masters who, over the centuries, dignified this art in the region.

This ludic artifact is a piece of modern craftsmanship by the artisan Susana Ornelas, who began this art in 1996 guided by the inlay masters João Nóbrega and Luz Ornelas.

Using ancient traditional techniques, the artisan designs various pieces of traditional and modern handicrafts of utilitarian and decorative character. Over the years, this artist’s pieces have been awarded several times and her work has been recognized at regional and national level.

This work, entitled O meu 1.º Livro (“My 1st Book”), is a didactic toy that arouses the curiosity of children and adults, and shows how it is possible, in the artisanal world, to achieve a harmonious and creative connection between tradition and innovation.

The Temporary Exhibitions of the Madeira Ethnographic Museum

Traços de madeira – A arte de embutir (“Traces of wood – The art of inlay”)

Credits: Madeira Ethnographic Museum