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C.B.Fiddler

How much "individuality" is acceptable?

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Hi Chet, there's a good bow makier living near me and he has saved all his shavings (including snake wood etc) from the last 10 years !

Here's one thing I learned about photography which can be applied just as well to violin making.

Don't pretend your're 'just a beginner' forever, the basics of making a violin is really not all that hard.

So instead try to keep moving, it's only those who got stuck years ago, that keep their heads in the sand.

Of course, violin making is a fairly conservative affair, but the personality and detail you employ in your work will show through no matter what colour tie Charles Beare wears.

Sharron, thanks again and your violin drawings are in the post. :)

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:-)

Yeah, are't we all! I had a lady call me on the phone, asking if she could come get my wood shavings for use in her compost, as she was sure that violinmakers didn't use harmful chemicals, or treated wood. I politely explained that the amount of shavings I produce in a year would not be much help to her garden, and that, at any rate, I have my own compost heap. (I did not go on to say that spruce shavings make the VERY best fire-starter, in my wood-stove, on cold mornings.)

Chet Bishop

Hm. Spruce, OK. Maple, OK. Other woods might do nasty things -- like black walnut.

If you want volume, check out woodturners. Every time I hog out a bowl, I get big piles of shavings.

Besides, decomposing wood sucks up nitrogen. As compost, it's not great.

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I understand what you meant but just for the sake of discussion, how does Del Gesu's work "fit" in your statement above?

Well, that's a fine question. I give Del Gesu a pass because he is considered on of the standard setters in violin making. In my opinion, one can clearly see the downward trajectory from his early to latter work. Was this a deliberate aesthetic choice or the result of lifestyle/drink/poverty/etc.? I think the latter. However, the stellar regard in which he is held today allows for the vagaries of his workmanship, and his reputation doesn't seem to suffer. Imagine if you will a world with no Del Gesu, but all the rest. Now imagine a makers creates an exact copy of the Ole Bull. What would the reaction be? I think not so good. But who knows?

As one of the earlier makers, it was easy to say the hell with it. He was not saddled, as we are, with well over 300 years of violin making history/study/naval-gazing.

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Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation

oscar wilde

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I suppose then you go onto Mimesis, memes, the meaning of art, and it's lack of meaning......

O.W. was a great writer, and perhaps a good example of the talent that resides in the true artist.

As was mentioned earlier, it's debatable as to whether or not violin making is an art, perhaps the better practitioners could be termed artisans, without fear of excessive critique.

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After some thought, I think that my question stems from a year of working on a violin with limited time to put toward it. My mind is completely raptured with violin making. I think about it with an obsession. The less I am able to work on my violin, the more I spend reading about it, searching for pictures, or reading this forum (inbetween gigs, my regular job allows me gracious internet liberty, but they tend to frown upon bending ribs or graduating plates at my desk :) )

My violinmaker-teacher, Robert D Kimble, has taken me under his wing completely free of charge. He has given me his wood supplier, his varnish, and countless hours of instruction with nothing more than reciprocal passion as payment. I begged him for 10 yrs to apprentice me, but he refused until a year ago. I have personally seen his violins praised by giants and admonished by experts. The desire for my own "individuality" may be centered in listening to his successes and difficulties, attempting to understanding where he may differ from the norm, and trying to train my eye to know the difference.

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T. S. Elliot, in his book "For Quartets" has a poem about the patterns of the carpet, it's about freedom within the form, I've tried in vain to find it on the web, it's a beautifull poem, I think the central idea can be applied to violin making.

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"We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time."

- T.S. Eliot (Four Quartets)

this ones kind of related, I think

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Yes, but there is one in which he talks about carpet patterns.... my library is too messy to find it.

I think that Catarina and Del Gesù would like this quote by Oscar Wilde:

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."

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Creativity is the first excuse of the unskilled.

Using creativity as a crutch is a very self destructive thing for a craftsman/artist to do. I've found that this mindset comes from the incredibly arrogant or naive (or both). Many of these people are also incredibly gifted, but stifle themselves by refusing to learn, and shirk advice for the sake of saving face. Luckily I am here to learn. :)

At some point, being stubborn seems acceptable to me, as everyone should be able to find their special niche. And perhaps, the longer it takes someone to find their place, the better they are at what they do, because they are experienced, seasoned.

What is pleasing, what is good, what is acceptable, all vary from person to person. Someone able to please everyone... now that would be something.

For me personally... I am open to all designs and approaches; however, when creativity usurps craft I lose interest.

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Using creativity as a crutch is a very self destructive thing for a craftsman/artist to do. I've found that this mindset comes from the incredibly arrogant or naive (or both). Many of these people are also incredibly gifted, but stifle themselves by refusing to learn, and shirk advice for the sake of saving face. Luckily I am here to learn. :)

At some point, being stubborn seems acceptable to me, as everyone should be able to find their special niche. And perhaps, the longer it takes someone to find their place, the better they are at what they do, because they are experienced, seasoned.

What is pleasing, what is good, what is acceptable, all vary from person to person. Someone able to please everyone... now that would be something.

For me personally... I am open to all designs and approaches; however, when creativity usurps craft I lose interest.

Very nicely stated!

I especially liked "Luckily I am here to learn". That's what life is all about isn't it?

Fortunately, the more I learn, the less I know, and this motivates me.

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Is the blue violin by Spidlen tooooo creative ?

http://www.spidlen.housle.cz/Jan/Jan_angl.html#

I think it's great work done by someone who knows what he's doing.

I believe that fiddle was made for the Amiata Summit.

I quote: "Jan Spidlen is strongly interested in innovation of bow instruments. In May 2004 he was invited to the Amiata Summit, a two-week international meeting dedicated especially to possibilities of future development of violin. Top nine violin makers, several well known players, experts in brainstorming and journalists participated in this creative cooperation. Each luthier prepared a project and presented his own view of potencial innovations. "

I find it interesting, but faced with a choice of owning that particular instrument or a more traditional one of Jan's, I'd choose the traditional one. That's me. Another might make a different choice.

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Is the blue violin by Spidlen tooooo creative ?

http://www.spidlen.housle.cz/Jan/Jan_angl.html#

I think it's great work done by someone who knows what he's doing.

No, not too creative at all. Very nice work, without a doubt.

It speaks to a very different aesthetic then "regular" violins, though.

The traditional look of the violin has a certain something that is universally appealing. It resonates with most people in a very elemental way.

To paint with a very broad brush here, I think alot of people got involved with violin making through a strong attraction to the traditional look/sound of the violin family.

Not so much "Gosh, look at that beautiful instrument. I'd like to make one that looks nothing like that."

My 2 cents.

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