Straw marquetry was first used in a contemporary way, in room settings and furniture, in the 1930’s by French designer Jean-Michel Frank. The particular straw Gosling uses today is grown and dyed by hand in the South of France, worked into panels in Normandy, and then sent to Gosling’s cabinet makers in Yorkshire.
Straw work is similar in style to wood marquetry, with rye or wheat straw replacing cut timber, and while its natural tones vary from pale gold to deep brown, it can be dyed in any colour. Its glowing iridescence is unrivalled by other veneers and, when worked into a pattern, it conjures three-dimensional illusions. Achieving this remarkable effect is highly labour-intensive. One square metre requires about 450 straws, representing about eight hours of work.