Shell Inlay

Coincidences are animals’ peels or seashells that are commonly found in beach drift. Mother of pearl is the most expensive of type of shells; it has various colors that look like spectrum.

  • Shells Inlay History:

34This industry has been started hundreds of years and historians differed on opinion of when it started, but all agreed that that it started mainly in Egypt and the Levant where craftsmen excelled in this industry and fascinated the world and the interest in this industry has been increased drawing the attention of extinction. There is no disagreement that it has spread mainly in Egypt and Pharaons were masters of the industry.

We can frequently find the inlaid products in our daily life as in the entrances of building, mosques, churches and the chairs which represent forms of heritage.

  • Inlaying Process:

The stage of coincidences preparation comes after extracting it from the seas or fresh water when the craftsmen start their art work with the sanding process in the beginning till the shells get softer. Then they cut it into thin slices ( mabrazeh ), each one is 2 – 3 mm thick. Then it is placed to on the veneer woods according to a specific shape such as a hexagon or octagon or any other shape that we want to decorate.

The previous stage is the most difficult stage, the coincidences cutting process is the most delicate operation in this profession, it needs a good experience and effort to be done as required. One shell takes a long time to be cut according to the desired shape and it could take up to 5 minutes. The whole wooden piece could take 3 days to be done ( such as small and cigarettes boxes ) and  6 days for larger pieces and  3 months if it is a piece of furniture like a chair.

Walnut is mostly used for this craft because it is easy to use, large shape, dark brown color and doesn’t crack. We draw the required shape on a glick paper using a pencil and transfer it on wood. We cab diversify the inlaid wood wih different sources of wood such as ( poplar, olive, fir, sandal,  juniper, elm, pin and cypress ).

  • Methods of Wood Inlaying with Shells:

33There are two ways to inlay wood with shells:

  1. Old Arab technique: it is the main method used in inlaying and it needs skillful hands. This method is based working on the whole piece, then the painter draws the desired pattern, then comes the worker who hammers the tins and installs the tin threads and fix the shells pieces based on the pattern. We can use iron and copper with the ccoincidences inlaying and we can also use silver threads for precious and expensive pieces.
  2. Egyptian method: it depends on placing the shells next to each other’s according to the required shape and we fill the voids consistently.
  • Shells Inlaying Types:

Shells inlaying are different in terms of size, forms and methods of decoration. There are Arabs inlaying , Dingle Arabs and Geometric inlaying in which we  don’t use large shells but we use the large shells in the Dingle inlaying  for decorating large pieces like boxes and it’s only used for the decorraion of chairs and big wooden pieces

  • Shells INlayong GVolor:

There are several colors such as pink, White seashell, rainbow colors like green, black, yellow. Price is varied based on the piece, piece shape, production time, and shells colors

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