Kokopelli Tray

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Project by Mathew Nedeljko posted 04-18-2014 03:56 AM 1437 views 3 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this Kokopelli themed marquetry tray a couple of months ago as a housewarming gift for my sister who moved in to a new house in Arizona. It measures approx 16×20x2.

For those that are wondering:

Known as a fertility god, prankster, healer and story teller, Kokopelli has been a source of wonder throughout the country for centuries. Kokopelli embodies the true American Southwest, and dates back over 3,000 years ago, when the first petroglyphs were carved. Although his true origins are unknown, this traveling, flute-playing Casanova is a sacred figure to many Southwestern Native Americans. Carvings of this hunch-backed flute-playing figure have been found painted and carved into rock walls and boulders throughout the Southwest.

The motif was chevalet cut out of contrasting veneers of maple and walnut, and then framed with a double border of anigre and walnut. The tray itself features box jointed corners and is made from locally sawn solid walnut, re-sawn so the grain flows continuously around the corners. Hot hide glue was used to press the veneers and assemble the tray. Finish is several coats of wiped Arm-R-Seal, highly polished, and waxed.

I’m very happy with how this turned out, and it was promptly displayed with pride in her new kitchen upon delivery.

Thanks for looking.

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

16 comments so far

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 2960 days

#1 posted 04-18-2014 03:59 AM

Nice work Matt, as always.

View shipwright's profile


6182 posts in 1834 days

#2 posted 04-18-2014 04:01 AM

Hi Mat,
I’ve been waiting for you to post this. I love it.
The design is wonderful and the cutting is your usual excellent.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Woodenwizard's profile


1187 posts in 2079 days

#3 posted 04-18-2014 04:28 AM

A GREAT tray Mat. A great design and the marquetry makes the piece. I am working on another tray and you have inspired me to get it done.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16399 posts in 2712 days

#4 posted 04-18-2014 06:19 AM

Awesome work.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View stefang's profile


14699 posts in 2370 days

#5 posted 04-18-2014 08:16 AM

A beautiful tray Mathew. Very artistically done and your work on this is meticulous as usual. It’s easy to see why your sister is so pleased with it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8543 posts in 1956 days

#6 posted 04-18-2014 10:54 AM

This is such a stunning piece! You did a beautiful job on it! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View aussiedave's profile


3090 posts in 860 days

#7 posted 04-18-2014 11:32 AM

Wow Mat that is amazing…great design and awesome craftsmanship….thank you so much for sharing.

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View Mike_from_Buffalo's profile


99 posts in 921 days

#8 posted 04-18-2014 01:25 PM

That looks amazing!

-- Mike from Buffalo "A man spends the first half of his life learning habits that shorten the other half of his life."

View justoneofme's profile


638 posts in 1516 days

#9 posted 04-18-2014 02:10 PM

Contrast and simplicity! Your Marquetry rendering of Kokopelli is absolutely beautiful Mathew! What a lucky sister … what a treasured gift!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View PaulDoug's profile


804 posts in 740 days

#10 posted 04-18-2014 02:42 PM

That is so neat! Kokopelli is one of my favorites. I made a Cigar box ukulele with him playing a ukulele as my sound hole cover. Would you mind mentioning where you got the pattern for your kokopellis?

Awesome job.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View natenaaron's profile


408 posts in 833 days

#11 posted 04-18-2014 03:11 PM


View Patricelejeune's profile


339 posts in 956 days

#12 posted 04-18-2014 04:21 PM


-- Patrice lejeune

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

701 posts in 2866 days

#13 posted 04-18-2014 05:01 PM

Thanks everyone for the nice feedback. I must have looked at a thousand pictures of various forms of kokopelli before I settled on this one as the inspiration for my motif design:

I traced the kokopelli outline in Inkscape and got rid of some extraneous detail and enlarged it to the size I needed for my pattern. As an afterthought, I also added my initials…I’m surprised nobody has commented on those. I thought I was quite clever adding them :)

I found this image on Pinterest but unfortunately it didn’t capture a link back to the source so I can’t give proper credit to the original artist.

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View shipwright's profile


6182 posts in 1834 days

#14 posted 04-18-2014 07:56 PM

That’s pretty subtle Mat.
Well done , it passed for a bit of weed or cactus with me…...... sneaky bugger!

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5782 posts in 2621 days

#15 posted 04-18-2014 08:09 PM

Beautiful ! and also thanks for the education too,I had never heard of him Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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