All my life I’ve enjoyed fine woodworking as a hobby, starting with wooden model airplanes in high school, artistic one-off furniture later in life, and even a straw-bale house. I’ve always been passionate about music, particularly traditional Scottish music, and in about 2009 I started learning to play Scottish fiddle.
In 2017 I combined my passions for woodworking and music at the Violin Making School of America, in Salt Lake City, where I studied under Aubbie Alexander, Alex Wilson, Charles Woolf, and Sanghoon Lee, and took violin lessons from Rosalie MacMillan. I also worked at the Peter Prier and Sons Violin Shop, where I gained valuable repair and setup experience. I graduated Cum Laude in 2019; the sixth student ever to graduate from the school with this distinction.
Salt Lake City is a great place to be a violin maker and network with and learn from other makers. I frequently work with Dan Salini, an experienced local maker/restorer, on various projects; I also occasionally work with a long-established Salt Lake City violin shop. On my own violins, I continue to refine my aesthetic style and learn how to shape tonal properties.
One of my favorite aspects of violin making is the varnish. By combining new and traditional materials I have developed varnish that brings out the beauty of the wood, enhances the tone of the violin, and ages in a beautiful way. My particular area of interest is replicating the traditional Cremonese varnish (along with just about every other varnish alchemist, right?)
In my spare time, I volunteer with the Violin Society of America and the Western United States Pipe Band Association. I play the Great Highland Bagpipes in a local bagpipe band with my wife, and we both like to play Scottish fiddle and hike along the Wasatch Front and Utah deserts.