Leaves: Grey Kauri and Silver Poplar
Stems: Blackheart Sassafras
Background: Golden Sassaffras
Michael Retter has been creating marquetry for over 50 years first taking it up as a pastime while at sea as a young marine engineer. During the1970's and 80's Michael honed his skill levels and developed his craft from a serious hobby into a unique art form. In 1984 he was named Marquetarian of The Year at the Marquetry Society of America’s New York Exhibition.
In the mid 1980s Michael began work on the first of several commissioned works for the (then) New Parliament House in Canberra. The first commission was for 56 monochromatic freize panels for the Cabinet ante-room. A second commission was for a ceiling marquetry in the Cabinet Room itself and a third commission saw the making of 20 panels depicting Australian flora to decorate the main entrance foyer of Parliament House. These works were completed from designs created by Adelaide artist Tony Bishop. Michael's work also appears on the Speaker's Chair in the House of Representatives and on a lectern depicting Australia's Coat of Arms.
In 1989 Michael was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his "contribution to the art program in the Australian Parliament House".