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Marilyn Wallin

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Everything posted by Marilyn Wallin

  1. ".......If you don't mind me asking, have you come up with some suggestion/suspicion/findings on why some instruments need a bit of more warm up than others?" I wish, for the sake of science, that I had proof, but I will share my impressions. What I wanted to convey in my post is that, in my experience, it is very real that some instruments need to be opened up virtually every time they are played. There are likely several factors, but I believe there is a primary reason. I believe that stiffer woods used in the making of the instruments result in instruments that have to be warmed up longer after dormancy. I base this opinion as a maker who handles wood every day making instruments, and then playing those instruments when they are done, and often years later when they come in for touch up or adjustment. Stiffer woods can be a very good thing for power and tone color when handled correctly. I don't have measurements or data to conclusively back this up. I mean, I do have records on my own instruments that support my theory on this matter. But I base my idea about stiffer wood leading to longer warm up times on my experience, my hands and my ears. Marilyn Wallin Violinmaker
  2. Hi, I read the Fingerboard part of Maestronet often, but have never responded here. I am more active on the Pegbox forum. This topic is an important one, and my many years of observation lead me to conclude that there really are instruments that need to be warmed up, and there are others that do not. I have seen musicians play a group of instruments, testing and carefully listening to each many, many times. While they are judging the instruments, the musician may or may not become more warmed up, but the musician certainly become more adjusted to how each instrument needs to played- the musician adapts. That said, I still find that sometimes instruments sound better after a few minutes. They "wake up". Not just new ones, but many old and fine ones too. I do not attribute this to body heat of the player, nor humidity, nor lights on stage, although all of those things can affect sound and playability. Very simply stated, I find that some instruments change under the bow in the first few minutes of playing after a period of dormancy, and others are much less sensitive to this factor. I have heard it under my ear, and from across the room. Marilyn Wallin violinmaker
  3. Dear current and future VSA Board members and Volunteers: Please keep up the good work. We appreciate your time and efforts that bring this much information to us in one place, at one time, as if on a silver platter. I for one will make it to every single one I can! Marilyn
  4. Beautiful violin! And as always, Peter's advice is practical and wise! Marilyn
  5. It might involve some blushing, but I will do what I reasonably can to keep the bidding prices up! The Scholarship Auction is a worthy cause. Marilyn
  6. Thank you Jeff for posting the link. It is indeed a great line-up! Marilyn Wallin Boston
  7. I would love to put faces and real names to the Maestronetters next week at the VSA convention. I will be introducing some speakers and taking in ALL of the exhibits and lectures and vendor's offerings that I can make time for! Sleep? that's for the week after! Marilyn Wallin Boston
  8. I just came from the Carriage House Exhibition opening in Newton Massachusetts. There was great music, stunningly beautiful work by my colleagues, great food and very nice wine. With Chris Reuning hosting, one can expect no less. It was well attended, and a great evening. There were over a dozen of the featured violinmakers in attendance. Thanks Chris Marilyn
  9. All of the repair cases were carefully stacked in the hall! And also some of the stuff for the Varnish Workshops. And my grinder.....Busted! I still love my windows! Marilyn
  10. Hello Jeff and all, Thanks! I use spruce, and that is the only soundpost material that goes out of my shop. However, I have, in the privacy of my own shop, experimented with other dowels, including pencils, birch, various diameters and materials, etc. and feel confident that soundpost fit, tension and position are key ingredients to a well adjusted violin. Marilyn Wallin Concord MA
  11. I begin with a tune. I pass around baggies of various varnish gums in baby food jars. I hold up scrolls in about 7 stages from block to finished. and I hold up the gouges. I hold u plates in various stages and fingerplanes (always a winner) I pass around a rental quality violin with the top off and the parts labeled. I have charts that list the materials. Then I answer questions to which the answers are: about 6 weeks; it IS my day job; only the sides are bent; maple, spruce and ebony; about 1550; no, i don't make the bows; etc.... And I end with a tune.
  12. My parents said "you are responsible for your own happiness" and "dig ditches if you want to, just do what keeps you happy". I thanked them for this, and for handing me a violin when I was about 8 years old. It, or more accurately the viola combined with the 5 generations of family lineage of woodworkers, have been my North Star ever since. I strung up a cello yesterday, full set-up, and was gratified by the sounds it makes. It will be a tool for someone else which is a great feeling. I get to have lunch everyday with a dozen professional artists, different group everyday from the same cast of 45 painters, poets, photographers, potters, etc. That is a highlight of my lifestyle as an independent artist. In the evening, I play in community orchestras or enjoy my family. and dogs. Work hard, play hard. So, as they say at North Bennet Street School at the end of graduation speeches: "May your tools always be sharp, and may your client list be a year long." Marilyn Wallin
  13. I made my baroque violins with a 25mm wide neck at the nut. They are comfortable to play at that dimension. What will number three be? Marilyn Wallin Concord MA
  14. Roman Barnas will also be joining us.
  15. Hello fellow Maestronetters, I would like to invite violinmakers to attend, or send their employees or friends, to a Set-up course that I am coordinating, hosting, and where I will be team-teaching. The various components of se-up will be covered thoroughly over the course of four days, leading up to Memorial Day. Emerson Umbrella, Center for the Arts, a non-profit 501C3 arts organization is sponsoring the event. Kevin Kelly, Benjamin Ruth, and Stacey Styles will each be spending a day with me! They will be teaching, demonstrating and visiting each student's bench for a private session. We are dividing the subject matter to take advantage of different viewpoints and to maximize the teaching time. With only 7 to 10 participants, there will be a wonderful "teacher-student" ratio. Please pass along the information to anyone interested. The best experience will be gained by someone who has had a couple of years in the shop or in school. To register, go to emersonumbrella.org. Or write to me at marilyn.wallin@gmail.com with questions.
  16. I will be there for the events that start Thursday night and the truly busy days of Friday and Sat. There is nothing happening Weds or Sunday, but I will be in the area visiting friends and helping Rodney get things set up. I am bringing an instrument for The VSA Showcase Sat. afternoon. I am lining up folks from whom to get critiques and hoping that everyone takes advantage of the non-competition year calmness to meet with past judges for advice and assistance with their work. Marilyn, really back to the bench.
  17. Hi Rico, Friday night's party was the grandest Art Show opening I have ever been to, and I should mention that I go to at least one gallery opening per month, usually two. 1776 Broadway is a 24 story building, very beautiful older skyscraper. The instruments are set up on the top floor though Monday. Well lit, with windows on all four sides. For the reception, picture this:70 beautiful instruments well laid out, lining the perimeter of the exhibit space. Many, many makers, and Julie's friends. In the corner is a spiral staircase. Like "Alice through the looking glass", I went up those stairs and out into another world. An outdoor terrace. Behold: Central Park on one side; Time Square the other way. As setting sun turned the many clouds many colors, and the city lights grew brighter and brighter, the food and wine poured freely. Joe Thrift, Tom Croen and many others played music. No one stopped talking. Yes, many of your favorite party animals were there. We went back to the show on Saturday when it opened to musicians. It was very well attended, marvelously organized, and more musicians will come today and tomorrow. Julie has put on an Exhibit that is marvelous. Rice, you asked...so I tried to describe. Marilyn, back in Concord and shortly back at the bench.
  18. Julie Reed-yeboah is hosting an exhibit of 40 some violinmakers. Any MN-ers in NY might enjoy seeing this exhibit. I don't know how to put in a link, but the show is entitled simply, Contemporary Violin Makers. See you there? Marilyn Wallin Boston
  19. All, In prepping for the VSA convention in Baltimore in November, I am wondering what people are most likely to ask in a one-on-one critique with a past judge or similarly experienced maker? As a teacher, I am aware of many questions that recur. But these are from people I know and who know me. So I ask this group: What are you most likely to ask someone you may never have met, or know only slightly? Are you interested in hearing your strengths, your weaknesses, as he/she sees them? Or a balance of both? Or are you interested in asking how they solve a problem you are experiencing? I would appreciate feedback on this so I can assist Rodney in bringing on an outstanding meeting. Marilyn Wallin Boston
  20. Mike, I enjoyed our visit! And I enjoyed seeing and chatting about your most recent projects. Very thought provoking! I just went to this Maestronet thread from my spreadsheet of past VSA judges and past and current violinmaking instructors. I am putting together the sign up sheet for makers of all levels to receive critiques from these generous established makers. I also want to say that most of them have asked if they can get critiques from each other. The sign up sheet will be at registration upon arrival. In addition to these valuable critiques, the maker's forum will feature several MN-ers and others leading in depth conversations and offering demonstrations on narrow areas of violinmaking. I can't wait to see what instruments will be brought to the exhibit, and to hear Philip, Chris and Jim. I always learn something, usually a lot. I was at Oberlin for the Bett's intensive, and I am looking forward to seeing the reports that will come out of that. And another VSA first: an opportunity to show your instruments to musicians for feedback and possible sale on Sat. afternoon. I am personally looking forward to this learning environment, and to getting some cool things from the Vendors as well. marilyn
  21. I am finishing a cello that has wood from Bruce Harvey. Orcas Island has high quality wood! Some of my most interesting violas started with Bruce. Yes, it is ok to buy parts. Most everyone does, unless they are fittings makers! Marilyn
  22. I hope you have a great time, and I hope you ask a lot of questions. I would add to the great answers you already have had, that using lighter weight materials, (softer maple, not rock or sugar maple) will be more likely to result in a great viola sound. The spruce is very important, and what you would get from International in Baltimore would be well selected and ready to go. Using highly figured wood for the first instrument can make it harder, but using wood with no figure makes it less fun, and less beautiful in the end. Buy medium figure. Call international and ask Kenny or Denny to lend you a hand selecting. I still do that, and I am a few decades down this road of viola making. What pattern and size? Viola making is glorious because it has narrow parameters and rules to follow, but not impossibly narrow restrictions. Violins are wonderful, but to my mind, harder to make than violas. I still do as many violins as ever, but the real fun is in the violas! Ask away! Marilyn Wallin Boston
  23. I have stepped down as President of the VSA, and any day now, the website will note that fact! Seriously, as of yesterday, I have stepped into a role to assist current President Rodney Mohr on getting the new website up and running. I will post it here when it goes up! Planning and then running the conventions are complicated for a person who is not an event manager by profession. Yet, year after year, volunteers pull together lectures, concerts, forums, the auction, the acoustics and innovation room, the vendors room, receptions, banquets. Oh, and by the way a competition, apparently the largest ever held, all on a shoe string budget. It is a labor of love for those (few) of us who have taken our turn at the helm: Helen Hayes; Phil Kass; Hans Tausig; the late Eric Chapman; and Norman Pickering. And none of us could have done it without the rest of our Boards, usually a small handful of hard working people who do part time jobs for no money and no glory. There would have been a puny little convention if not for Rodney, Jerry, Lori, Fan, Jay, Philip, Tom, Jim W., Jim Z, Chris R. etc ALL of whom worked hard in the weeks preceeding the event. I learned a tremendous amount about running a non-profit by, well, actually having to do it. It is experience that I carry back to my favorite organizations closer to home. My local arts center, my community theater troupe, my religious organization, my condo board, etc. And I learned a lot that I am carrying into the better, more efficeint running of my little violin shoppe. There is room for everyone's help at a VSA convention. Next time you come, sign up to volunteer to do something. See if it is a fit for you. It was for me, and has given me the education of a lifetime. I had my sites chosen for me by the previous Board, but I liked the Cleveland location tremendously. And I liked the food and the room rate in Atlantic City. Site location is seriously considered, and you would be surprised how few meet all of our requirements. Even our wonderful new professional management company had only a small handful of venues to suggest to the board. The VSA is Goldilocks when it comes to finding a place- "not too big, not too small, but just right" is very hard to find. We require a LOT of space for all of our various events. Most gatherings are not like ours: a competition, a vendor room, a lecture hall (or two if Rodney continues my double session format), an Innovation room, a Study Exhibit (if rodney continues that also), forums, etc. It adds up to a tremendous amount of square footage that new hotels simply do not build, and there are only so many old ones. I hope people continue to come to learn, exchange in real time, buy things they can pick up and hold the old fashioned way, look at varnish together, etc. We (the VSA Board) will continue to try to put on the best events we can. Marilyn Wallin Past President, VSA, looking forward to just going to learn and have fun again!
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