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  1. I would like to pass on the message from Mary that she has read all of your posts, and is very appreciative of the kind thoughts and gestures expressed by everyone. Many thanks for being friend's and violin making buddies with Craig all these years.
  2. Craig fought a life long battle against an incredible array of health challenges, and he faced those challenges in a way that can only be marveled at. To the end, he faced his fate with a calm and brave comportment. Yet for all of his trials, Craig was blessed to always have his dedicated wife Mary close by his side. He will be greatly missed.
  3. I've been called worse things by better people.
  4. Ah zinfandel, you are as transparent as a well made hourglass. You have so many weighty shackles attached, you would sink like the Titanic with the slightest pin prick.
  5. I once wore a watch. It was one of the most oppressing fifteen minutes I can remember.
  6. To paraphrase the great mathematician John von Neumann: In violin appreciation (mathematics) you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
  7. I see there might be some misunderstanding of the term flawless execution, at least in the way I intended. I think something can be flawlessly executed without necessarily being free of any flaw. Perhaps my understanding of the term is work that hangs together so well (in Burgess parlance) not even the occasional flaw can detract from the intention.
  8. Hmmm... I have to strongly disagree on two counts. The first is that the field of violin aficionados is much smaller than that of the art appreciating public at large, perhaps by an order of magnitude or more. While a flashlight wielding unknown would never garner the same exposure as a "Picasso", the analogy fails in the much smaller field(s) of musical instrument making. The second point is, the number of examples of highly original and interesting work that is also flawlessly executed is exceedingly rare, and thus the idea that it would be ignored if the maker is unknown has no foundation whatsoever, unless you can cite some stellar unorthodox unknown craftsmen that are virtually ignored, to back up your claim.
  9. There is an interesting book called the Geometry of Art and Life, by Matila Gyka (Dover books) that discusses many things found here, especially in relation to the golden ratio and facial/body features. It is also worth noting that symmetry and clean work are two distinct things. One can produce remarkably clean work that exhibits a high degree of asymmetry, and vise versa.
  10. Two important points. In the medium of carbon fiber, your execution must be perfect, because that is the nature of the medium. The same goes for innovation or extreme unorthodoxy in traditional materials. If you are going to step out on a ledge with something new and orginal, the workmanship better be extremely good, because if it's not, it will be rejected out of hand (and rightly so). If the work is flawless, then even the most staunch traditionalist has to look and say something like, the style does not appeal to me, but wow, the workmanship is just stellar. This is enough of a concession from traditionalists for those wanting to appeal to a small but fiercely loyal niche market. It also leaves open the door for a new style to grow on someone, which would otherwise be closed if the workmanship is not at the highest level. I suppose that is actually one important point that applies to two things.
  11. But more importantly, one has to ask if there is an answer to the question. I have regard for both schools of thought, depending on circumstances. I have seen things I appreciated because of the remarkable precision of execution, and then I have seen things I appreciated for their raw organic character. Although, I must confess I can only work in the manner of the former. I like high precision, but I like asymmetry too. It is worth noting there are several kinds of asymmetries. One might need to make the distinction of which kind in order to say anything meaningful. Mind you, the new line of discussion does make one thing very clear to me. Competitions should have subcategories. I do not see any way to compare a super clean violin with one of a more carefree inspiration. They are really two different animals, that are appreciated for very different reasons.
  12. Well I sure wouldn't want to argue the point too strongly. Indeed, the issue may be as suggested in the last sentence of the last paragraph: Therefore, the strong influence of symmetry that has been reported in the scientific literature over and over again is questionable. But I still have not seen anything suggesting a preference for human asymmetry, which was Peter's point. I think human attractiveness is in a different category altogether, and has little relevence to violins, or other objects. As far as the circles go, I am indifferent to both.
  13. Hmmm... my casual reading finds a different conclusion. Generally speaking, humans view high symmetry as more attractive in any research I have come across. Can you cite any actual study to support your statement? Keep in mind, even the most symmetrical face will be asymetrical from the mathematical perspective. I don't think humans make the best analogy. There are too many problems, and I think it is best to stick to inanimate objects when considering aesthetics.
  14. The answer must be that some great makers can overcome the obstacles of not possessing complete mastery of playing. Making and playing are two separate arts, and any fine maker who might be a lesser player will at once recognize this potential liability, and compensate for it in one or more creative ways. This argument extends not just to violin making, but to many other crafts also. And as a side note, it can swing the other way too. I know at least one local maker who is a terrific player, but his instruments are not good. It seems he has a very narrow concept of tone, aesthetics, and playability, but since his violins suit his peculiar palette to a tee, he believes they should suit everyone. Yet he labours to sell them even at paltry sums.
  15. Hmmm... I am surprised to hear anyone ask this question. After all, today's maker should be vastly more equipped to answer the question, if for no other reason than having the advantage of 300 years of time to think about it.
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