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Ever wondered how these gorgeous inlay furniture pieces are made?

Ever wondered how these gorgeous inlay furniture pieces are made?

Wonder no more! We chat with TIPI Interiors founder Harriet McMiking about how her gorgeous bone-inlay pieces are produced.

Photo courtesy: Travelshoot

Tell us about the kinds of products you sell with the bone inlay technique?

The bone inlay furniture collection ranges from anything as large as a big 7-piece chest of drawers (which by the way is magnificent!) to bedside tables, mirrors and small decorative trays. I also produce custom pieces for people, so if someone’s seen something they love, they can send me photos and we then work together on a special bespoke piece.

What a great idea! Tell us about the technique of ‘bone inlay’ - it’s quite a traditional technique, right?

It is. The brand TIPI Interiors is all about inspiring people to create a home that reflects their travels, style and life story. One of my favourite places in the world is India, and on my travels there I was completely captivated by one of India's famous artisan handicrafts - the beautiful bone inlay.

It’s been used a lot over there in traditional furniture, right?

Yes. You do see it used in old Palaces and boutique hotels throughout Rajasthan. To me it evokes an element of sophistication, elegance and royal Indian heritage. I was very fortunate on my travels over there to have found a fantastic workshop in Udaipur (known as the White City) who specialise in this craft and getting to know the artisan process through working with this team has been quite amazing.

How are bigger pieces, like your chests of drawers, made?

We use mango wood for the frame. Then pieces of camel bone are shaved down into tiny, delicate little pieces depending on the design. As you can imagine it’s an incredibly intricate process as each little piece of bone is then stuck onto the furniture, to create the pattern. It is then filled with a resin (whether it’s black or pink or white) and left to dry outside before doing a final polish.

How long do these gorgeous bigger pieces take to be made?

A large piece of furniture can take three to four weeks to make from scratch. The skill and the craftsmanship is just fascinating though and it's mind blowing to think that this artisan technique has been handed down for generations. For example the craftsmen that are working in TIPI's workshop are third or fourth generation. Isn't that amazing?

Photo courtesy: Travelshoot


Watch this short video of a workshop outside Udaipur, India where the bone inlay furniture for TIPI Interiors is crafted. Each piece of camel bone is carefully cut and sanded before it is pieced together into an intricate pattern on the furniture frame. The pattern is then filled with a coloured resin.

Add an exotic flair to your home with a bone inlay tray as seen in Josh & Elyse's Block Shop Pop Up Ski Lodge Challenge. 

Mother of Pearl Chest of Drawers by TIPI Interiors. What a special piece of furniture this would be to own with its very own story. Imagine how blissful life would become waking up to this elegant chest of drawers.

Photo courtesy: Travelshoot

Thanks Harriet for sharing these gorgeous images from your Hanoi travel adventures with us at The Block Shop.

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