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Marilyn Wallin

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  1. Good morning, all. The VSA magazine, "The Scroll", is delayed by Covid sweeping through the small town where our printer lives and works. But a couple of weeks will be worth the wait. I am no longer President of the VSA, but the new President Bill Scott, has asked me to stay involved. I will be collecting articles and reaching out to folks in the trade to keep our magazine educational, and pleasant to read. I am the Shepardess, or more technically, the publisher. Things you might wish to publish should be sent to the VSA at: scrolleditor@vsaweb.org. That is also where comments and requests can be sent. Marilyn Wallin
  2. David, Jeffrey worked for me for minimum wage. He also taught me how to make a cello, since at that time I was not allowed to learn it in class. So, I am forever grateful. Buy me a cuppa joe, and I'll tell you all you want to know. M
  3. Hello Tom, and welcome. To my colleagues here, I remember two portions of Tom's research trips, about two years apart. The first in Chicago, where he was very thorough collecting names, and following through with phone calls. Does anyone remember the days of the early answering machines? He called and set up visits with everyone he could. Later, when I had moved to Massachusetts to teach at North Bennet Street School, he came through again. That time he "home-based" from my place in Lexington, and took in a lot of New England that way. It was a labor of love for him. Endless hours of tracking people and leads down in the years before homes mostly had computers. It was hard work!!! I have annotated my copy of The Wenberg Book over the years, and it is willed to Jeffrey Holmes upon my departure from this planet. He may use the information for his own amusement, profit, or hush money. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, Nebraska
  4. Hendrick, My sister drove an '87 IROQ. It was the only one in town with a baby seat in back. The 'cuda has no Bondo. It is pristeen. He also has a Dodge Charger with original paint in Richard Petty Blue. I wonder what Brandmeir and Echard would find in a chip of that spectacular color?
  5. For several seasons, I sat next to a violist who played a Voller Bros. "Mori Costa". I believe it was valued higher as a Voller Bros. viola. It was sold to him as such, no forgery in the purchase. I see a lot of shop lines sporting cool labels. I appreciate when it is obvious from which shop it came. It seems to me that objects turn out to be up-graded to the best member of a family, or of a school/town, more often than straight up forgeries. Marilyn Wallin
  6. And if you are going to use bondo, use on something like this: Barracuda, numbers matching, 5 years ago on the front of a magazine, my nephew's. Went 125mph with him before it was put back in cotton balls for the winter.
  7. Hello Thomas, The panel you may be referring to was in 2007 or so. I ran a panel on viola making. With me were Bill Scott as you mentioned. Also Guy Rabut, Christopher Germain, Mark Womack, and ??. (Forgive me- it's been a long week.) Eric Chapman was in the first row, and was a valuable contributor as well. We discussed many things. In no particular order, I remember discussing: the ridiculously out of date MENC standards for viola necks which were too thick and wide for most people's comfort, bridges too heavy, neck not set at a high enough projection, types of strings The amazing success of contemporary viola masterpieces to meet the needs of professionals at a fraction of the cost of an old viola, if you can even find one suitable. we discussed many things about ergonomics in design for ease of playability, mostly outline and set-up design bridge width; fingerboard thickness and radius; many other minutia. The take away seemed to be that there was more room right now to make a world class viola, than violin or cello. That modern healthy, strong violas were a better investment than antiques at a given price point because the antique likely has problems or it would be much more expensive, given the small amount of antique violas on the market. Do you have questions, Thomas? I love to talk about violas. Marilyn Wallin
  8. Hi Jim Prejudiced though I may be, I love the new VSA magazine. It is pleasant to read and also clearly thought provoking. It is a membership magazine with news and many articles. It has what you need to know about membership and attending the convention. Many articles are scholarly works from past conventions written by consummate professionals. Some are written as members sharing with other members, so approaches, opinions and expertise vary. There is certainly something for every person who plays, makes, collects, or studies instruments and bows of the violin family. I am presenting a paper at the next VSA. I am now citing some research done as reported in The Scroll, opus 1, number 1, in some of my conclusions. It was a lot of work to get the first one done and ready to send into mailboxes all over the world. Letters to the editor are welcomed. I am certain the next one will be EVEN better because of helpful critiques. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, Nebraska
  9. What a wonderful collection for people to see now, and for the future. David never let up on his search to have the best American violins in his collection. Congratulations David.
  10. There were thirty-some researchers, who listened to lectures together on Saturday. On Sunday. they formed smaller study groups to look at the instruments out of the cases (the curator, Arian Sheets, called this an expensive petting zoo). Also there were guided tours by Philip Kass. It is among the first of many regional VSA meetings under Lori Kirr's presidency. It is an exciting time to be a violin lover. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln NE
  11. An invitation went out via email in February to all VSA members in good standing. It was from President Lori Kirr announcing a weekend at the National Music Museum in Vermillion, May 16 and 17. It is completely booked, and in fact filled with a waiting list in 5 hours. Many notable scholars (scheduled as of this writing: Andrew Dipper, Claire Givens, Philip Kass, Christopher Reuning, James Warren and Matt Zeller) will be addressing the VSA members at this first Great Plains Regional VSA Meeting. There was a tuition of $295 charged for the weekend. We will have several hours to visit the rooms, several hours of lectures of a somewhat less formal nature, and a few instruments will be taken out of the cases for us to view in small groups as well. We may consider doing this again another year. I think Lori's regional meeting initiative is a great part of her plan for her tenure as VSA President. I followed up on that suggestion and put together the upcoming event. Looking forward, Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, Nebraska
  12. I am finishing the wood work on an original pattern, somewhat Goffriller like, 16"viola. It is part of a study of several viola patterns, all about the same size. I also just finished the graduations on the back of my copy of a Guiseppe filius Andrea Guarneri cello. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, NE
  13. Roger, I hear you loud and clear. And it is getting worse over time, not better. After 30 years of my shop being outside of the house, it is part of my home again. The scroll blocks, ribs and backs for the next few instruments are all over the kitchen table. And I can again wander in to my shop for a bit of carving, or sharpening, or my recent favorite: studying for my current long-term project. And the stuff is there at any time of day or night. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln Nebraska
  14. I look forward to this week each year. I was an artist in residence there for many years. A couple of weeks ago, I gave a speech in Omaha on violin expertise for Sarah Gray's Master Class Talks (a 501c3). The talk was aimed at musicians to give them a general overview to help them understand what goes into an expert's decision making process. One large element is, of course, varnish. i will be presenting that material and more on the subject in a lecture at Practical and Aesthetic Violin Varnishing. I will schedule that to happen the evening before one of our esteemed guests, you know the people who carry those quad cases full of visual delights... Marilyn Wallin Lincoln Nebraska
  15. Can anyone let me know: what Is an appropriate price for a full bottle of Venetian Red, and it's companion drier, 2/3 full? Marilyn
  16. Marilyn Wallin


    David is correct, as usual. :-) Discounted attendance fees are available for competitors again this year. Your name tag gets you in to see the competition room full of instruments and bows lectures and panel discussions the vendors room many concerts, the acoustics exhibit with cool experimental instruments and any other exhibits there might be. In the past there have been exhibits of older instruments as well. There is an opening reception that your badge lets you into. Important note for first time attendees: The announcements of the competition winners is made at the ceremonial dinner- that event is NOT included in the registration fees, and always sells out. This year is a unique convention. It will be held concurrently and in overlapping spaces with the International Violin Competition of Indianpolis. It will be interesting to follow along. I have never been at a playing competition of this caliber. I can't wait. I know it will come off smoothly, because Christopher Germain is handling all of the details of this complex puzzle. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, Nebraska
  17. Hello Andrew, Are you asking about exhibits because you are a player looking for a violin for yourself? are you a maker wishing to see what others are up to? are you maker looking for more exposure? If you are any or all of these things, the next big violin event is the VSA in Indianapolis in September. If you are looking either as a player or a maker the Players Meet Makers event in Chicago this weekend will be an exhibit of some of the very best American makers. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln NE
  18. James, Wonderful observations, as always. Melvin, my daughter recently published a paper in Aquatic Botany. It was reported by her lab quite widely within her field. I believe that is very normal. I am still "studying the study". I have read the abstract, watched the video, read the Strad online summary, and will continue to follow up. Eventually, when I think I know enough about the study, i will see if I have informed questions to ask the scientists involved. I don't think it changes what I do at my bench this afternoon. But I have observed that this study has already begun to change conversations. It has been sent to me by different people, it has appeared in my news feed on Facebook many times. What I like best about this study, which I consider to be a significant step in the right direction, is this: Cultivating the feeling of "the sky is the limit" on what we, as new makers can create, can only help us all get better. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln Nebraska
  19. Wow. So much in this thread that is thought provoking. I find I can't stay out this time and lurk….. I find the anonymity of posters annoying, just as I like to know who I am talking to in person or on the phone. I find the gender of posters irrelevant. I am not saying that there is not gender bias in this trade. I believe there is, but it is just one of many prejudices I have observed. Some, but certainly not most, people are swayed in their initial opinion of someone's work by their gender, perceived age, fame or notoriety, the condition of the case, known experience, how the maker is dressed, country of origin, ethnicity, specific school of training or self-taught, level of education, whether the maker is also a musician, a member of the AFVBM, etc. Competitions take away all of the above. They level the playing field. Score there, and it is not because of who you are. It is only because of your work. "Not telling", I strongly recommend attending a VSA convention even for a day. You will learn a lot about how your/your partner's instruments fit in to the general scheme of things. This knowledge will help you fine tune your marketing. The most dramatic time to take in the VSA convention (if you only have one day) is at the end of the week. Then approximately 200 contemporary violins, 100 violas, 100 cellos, several basses and dozens of bows are there to be seen and heard. The self-education of seeing your work next to that of so very many colleagues can be profound. I love Maestronet and these conversations. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, Nebraska
  20. Jeff, Carlo, Josh, Joe, and other participants reading who have not posted, It was an honor and a delight to be involved in such a stimulating and mind opening event. I always strive for the highest goals in education. This time, I found as I always do, that teaching causes me (whether I am ready or not!) to realign my approach to some aspect of our craft. This time it was further insights about my personal ground system. I have always struggled with how much and what color to put how close to the wood. I have experimented over the years. The extremes were liquin right on the wood which prevented any color from coming close to the wood; to putting the first coat of colored varnish right on the unsealed wood-yikes. I don't do either, or anything close to them, anymore. I came home and have test strips in every window sill, and all over the patio. And this time I promised myself that I would carefully label every one. And not just "less of batch #2", or equally cryptic messages to my future self, when I find it in a drawer years from now and wonder…... all best wishes, Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, Nebraska
  21. David, Do I remember correctly that Rene lobbed one of those balloons right back at someone with that cookie sheet and it exploded on the perpetrator? Or is it just my active imagination again? And to the point of the thread- I will be attending Violin Making again. I am working on a pair of small/medium violas and will be finishing the wood work on one during that two weeks. It is always inspiring to see the variety of results others get with a wide range of tools and techniques. always aiming higher, Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, Nebraska
  22. My price has changed many times over 30 years. I am likely to just point out obvious factoids, but if they help anyone, here goes. I have made the price decision over and over, and in doing so, I look for facts. I look around and see what other people are charging for actual sales. I disregard the bar talkers who "sold their whole quartet in the airport on the way to the competition". I also ignore the top and bottom 5% of prices I can confirm. I place myself on a spectrum of modern makers, as realistically as possible based on evidence. From all of that, emerges a number. I have always worked with dealers, as well as selling directly to musicians. 99% of my experiences with our dealers have been good. I owe my living to these hard working people. (I did have one dealer charge more than I specified, and like Chris Jacoby, I did not like it. I also had one dealer discount an instrument and then make it well known. Obviously, I will never work with either of them again!!!) I respect and continue to work with several dealers. They will tell me, when asked, if they agree with my pricing. But even without asking, you can figure it out: they would not accept another one if the last one was not a good experience for them. Make enough of them, and it sorts itself out. Marilyn Wallin Lincoln, Nebraska
  23. Hello John! Yes, Lenny and I relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska. We bought, gutted and rebuilt a brick ranch, and my shop is in the house again. I still get back to Boston every few months. We are enjoying a different pace of life, although we still miss family and friends a lot. We are going to catch "Nebraska" soon. Marilyn
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