Immersion course


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Dear Mr. Moderator,

 

Thank you for posting my comments. I wasn't sure you would. I did qualify my comments with the word "some". Not all the comments were those I took issues with. Some were fair and had good things to suggest. I was the others I took issue with.

 

I happen to know Don and play one of his instruments. He has done more to promote the craft than most could do in a dozen life times. He create a fiddle orchestra that has grown to over 140 members. He welcomes those with 6 months worth of lessons into the orchestra, working with them to find a part they can play and then welcoming a  classically trained soloist to sit side by side with the newbie. All treated equally and each welcomed to bring their talent, raw or accomplished and play together. I have witnessed him find instruments for those who had the passion to learn but couldn't afford a real instrument.

 

Those who used terms like "con man" and referred to his school as no better than a thief stealing money, those are to which I was referring to. By their comments they have proven their worth. And in my estimation, that doesn't amount to much.

 

Perhaps I could have clarified my comments to not include those who were simply looking at misplaced photo. Perhaps an email to the owner of that photo might also clarify some things.

 

I have watched reputations vanish overnight because of an uneducated social media posting. And I have also watched social media those exposed for who they are.

 

I try to live my life with one rule. Seek first to understand. After which, I might also be understood.

 

Regards,

 

Just Learning

Since this was mostly directed at comments I made, allow me to respond. I will concede that no good is served by throwing around accusations about another's character, and I am sure I could have conveyed my point with out name calling. A point I would do well to remember going forward, but such is life as a hot head.

 

But if Mr. Roy is not a con man neither is he a saint.

I reject the notion that he is doing this out of the goodness of his heart. One need only look at the price tag to see that. If Mr. Roy wants to hold a month long workshop, more power to him. If he wants to open up a whole new violin making school, fantastic. If he wants to call himself a master violin maker, go right ahead.

 

But he does not exist in a vacuum, and there are others that have a deep and passionate respect for this craft and will, and SHOULD, respond when they see a fellow luthier acting in a manner that lowers the trade. It's what guilds have historically done, it's what the violin federation is supposed to do, and it should be encouraged.

 

He cannot expect to appropriate others work/images/names and not expect to be called out for it.

You must admit reading through the course's website that some of the claims and some of the wording were pretty over the top. Judging by the responses here, and by the fact that a lot of it has been changed and/or removed from the site, I am not the only one. That he has responded by changing the site speaks better of him, but it shouldn't have happened on the first place.

 

I think Mr. Beckmann expressed very well some of the frustrations others feel about this thing.

 

As an aside, nothing I said here had anything to do with his fiddle orchestra. I was simply commenting on his violin school. You clearly admire the man, and I am glad that you have a good relationship with him and I hope it continues. There are many good people in this business, and many not so good, and many in between. Wouldn't a forum like this be the perfect place to suss out who is who? Isn't that sort of what it's for?

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I think my customers expect me to be biased, selfish and egotistical, not to mention opinionated, somewhat contrary, hypocritical, and generally expect me to be a know it all that talks too much, gosh, and that's the good stuff. :lol:

 

But in all seriousness, I think any business, regardless of what it is, can vanquish itself of criticisms by peers and customers alike, by simply being straight forward with verbiage and not making promises/statements that are not realistic.

I had begun a vigorous tongue-in-cheek response to Jezzupe's observations at the satiric expense of the author of the bombast quoted below, when I suddenly decided that any hooligan who could seriously write such drivel is undeserving of my services.  :P  :P  :P

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“A Stradivari violin found in the Manhattan home of reclusive American heiress Huguette Clark and was valued at as much as $10 million…. The 1731 “Kreutzer” violin, made by renowned Italian artisan Antonio Stradivari, had a presale estimate of $7.5 million to $10 million.”(Bloomberg, 2014)
 
If you can afford to purchase this instrument, then our school is not for you but we can teach you to make one.
 
Introducing a complete violin/fiddle making course for those at any experience level. Learn the craft of luthier making and create that amazing instrument you will play and cherish forever.
 
Yes, build your own Stradivari.
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Is it safe for me to come out of the wine cellar yet? Oh wait, here's a bottle I missed...

In addition to the many fine posts made by others, I think it is very important that we don't overlook Bill's point, and as such it deserves repeating - and sitting back and sipping.

 

Neil

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I had begun a vigorous tongue-in-cheek response to Jezzupe's observations at the satiric expense of the author of the bombast quoted below, when I suddenly decided that any hooligan who could seriously write such drivel is undeserving of my services.  :P  :P  :P

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“A Stradivari violin found in the Manhattan home of reclusive American heiress Huguette Clark and was valued at as much as $10 million…. The 1731 “Kreutzer” violin, made by renowned Italian artisan Antonio Stradivari, had a presale estimate of $7.5 million to $10 million.”(Bloomberg, 2014)
 
If you can afford to purchase this instrument, then our school is not for you but we can teach you to make one.
 
Introducing a complete violin/fiddle making course for those at any experience level. Learn the craft of luthier making and create that amazing instrument you will play and cherish forever.
 
Yes, build your own Stradivari.

 

Yep. Kinda sounds like a carnival barker.

Caveat: DON ROY IS NOT A CARNIVAL BARKER.

Alright, I'm done.

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I must admit that violin making is tough to learn at first but I feel if Mr. Roy and Co. have been reading here you guys have made a strong person stronger or a weaker person stronger.  He'll be that much better now, the following year{s} even better.  I'm likening this in comparison to the Gold Rush t.v. series- not good at first but what a difference a few years can make.

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I must admit that violin making is tough to learn at first but I feel if Mr. Roy and Co. have been reading here you guys have made a strong person stronger or a weaker person stronger.  He'll be that much better now, the following year{s} even better.  I'm likening this in comparison to the Gold Rush t.v. series- not good at first but what a difference a few years can make.

We will see. It tends to be true than knowledge breeds humility.

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DON ROY IS NOT A CARNIVAL BARKER.

[idly scratches her mastiff behind the ears to quiet him while watching the beaver he'd spooked return to gnawing at a sweetgum.]  Okay.  Not "CARNIVAL".  What variety, then?  (Is this like "Guess the wood"?)  :ph34r:

 

I sat most of this out (not seeing myself as "having a dog in the fight"), to let the pro heavyweights vent at what seemed to be one of their own who'd annoyed them, but several re-readings of the website have convinced me that the amateur community on MN (retirees with means, in particular) has a serious grievance with Mr. Roy Mattingly as well.  We're the obvious targets of his "violin school" advertising, and comparing his offering with the various alternatives available makes me feel that, IMHO, it is not the best choice to spend that kind of money on.  He also appears, from the claims made, to consider us gullible "marks", something that I find personally offensive.   :angry:  

 

If anyone has attended this amusement, when you finished your fiddle, how did it soundcelestial_girl.gif

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Yes, there is 52 weeks in a year and the Chicago school has 3 weeks off a year. The program is 3 years long. I was there another term but didn't add that in. Most students stay an extra term if they make a cello.

Thank you,

 

I had no idea that they only had three weeks off a year.  That surprises me, though, considering people have lives that often require more than a few weeks a year to smooth out.  No wonder so many drop out after a couple of years.  This information makes me have even more respect for those who weather the experience.

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In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I too teach violin making. However, I am not formally trained. I do not promise you will learn to make a $3,000 violin. I do promise I will learn something from my students, about life, about their lives, and probably how to teach violin making, and how NOT TO.

 

My course is free, except for the cost of materials. I call it a hobby violin making course. Not a professional course. The course is only partly about violin making. The other part is social.  We have fun. We learn.  It's in Laurinburg, North Carolina, USA, planet Earth.

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(Hi, Greg! I'm glad to see you here. My husband worked for your uncle for five years. He says hi too, and hopes you are enjoying NC.)

The idea of a legitimate violinmaking immersion school...live and work together for the duration...is something that my husband has long believed that serious students would need and appreciate. There wouldn't be much free time. He still gets annoyed wben he remembers how everyone at Red Wing was flying kites, smoking weed, going out, playing music and drinking, etc. while he was finishing his violin. He was overjoyed when the other guy close to finishing his violin discovered women, thereby allowing him to be the first in the history of the school to finish a violin (although the other guy actually did too, right after he did). Lol. I think he would get a reform school crowd if he ran a school like a monastery and I say things like, "If you build it, they won't come "...bad joke I guess, but these days an "all work" philosophy wouldn't be a selling point for 99% of students. But then I also hear some guys on this website wanting to master the craft quickly, and that's how one would. Kind of depends on a lot of things if that is something he will start, but in some ways it's a good idea.

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(Hi, Greg! I'm glad to see you here. My husband worked for your uncle for five years. He says hi too, and hopes you are enjoying NC.)

The idea of a legitimate violinmaking immersion school...live and work together for the duration...is something that my husband has long believed that serious students would need and appreciate. There wouldn't be much free time. He still gets annoyed wben he remembers how everyone at Red Wing was flying kites, smoking weed, going out, playing music and drinking, etc. while he was finishing his violin. He was overjoyed when the other guy close to finishing his violin discovered women, thereby allowing him to be the first in the history of the school to finish a violin (although the other guy actually did too, right after he did). Lol. I think he would get a reform school crowd if he ran a school like a monastery and I say things like, "If you build it, they won't come "...bad joke I guess, but these days an "all work" philosophy wouldn't be a selling point for 99% of students. But then I also hear some guys on this website wanting to master the craft quickly, and that's how one would. Kind of depends on a lot of things if that is something he will start, but in some ways it's a good idea.

Yeah after him and I talked about it years ago, and after I've met others who went through the program it sounded like he was one of the few who worked really hard. Wish him the best for me! And in reply to a previous comment. Violin making school is pretty middle of the road for difficulty. I would say in the end it is about 150 weeks with the amount of extra time you can put in (mornings, and one night a week in the evening) the time may seem daunting for some, and I don't know about the past (the 80s, 90s), But if you attend, do your time, you graduate. Some only make one box in the first year, and realize they made a mistake by attending. I can think of three people that messed around and this happened, if you don't make the number of instruments required you won't graduate.

I think school was entirely necessary though. I had made parts of an instrument in high school, as your husband was there too, that gave me a solid foundation, but I had to go to school and put in the time. Rodney Mohr said it best at a graduation speech, saying you go to school to learn how to use your tools and sharpen them, then after you graduate you have to learn how to make a good instrument.

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There's plenty of free time even given the workload in the existing schools. Bottega di Parma is pretty good. There are a ton of good schools that weren't mentioned. I guess the idea is that if you cut 200 bridges in a row you'll be ahead of the person at VMSA or CSVM who only cuts 15 before graduation (allegedly), and so forth. If that isn't something that people can imagine doing I'm not surprised. I told my husband many times that no one works like him and no one would willingly sign up for his schedule.

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Question: am I wrong in thinking VMSA, CSVM, NBSS, Cremona, Parma, Newark, Mittenwald, Markneukirchen and some others are full immersion courses in violin making? Am I missing something?

DGSR☺

 Hi Derrick, 

 

"full immersion course" is a strange phrase to me also.  When I was at Newark is was full time (5 days a week) at the bench. Included there we had some extra classes - wood shop & metal shop to make tools etc. But the key thing about any school is how much bench time there is in the school and the quality of teaching.    Most Newark students had benches at home as well to work on weekends and evenings.

 

Though I didn't see Newark as "full immersion", it was just school.

 

It's been great that folks here have stepped up and questioned the "Maine Violin School". It's nice to see people care about the profession and the amateur makers that might pay to attend this course.

 

Hope you're enjoying the winter!

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Thanks Guy and others!

So what I'm gathering here is that "full-immersion" is something without breaks and free time. Perhaps I would think of the term "intensive" as an alternative that wouldn't of had me wondering. As an example, we have French immersion schools here in Canada but all that means is the various subjects (Math, Science, History etc etc) are all taught in French. I guess I just consider someone dedicating 2, 3 or more years in a "violin making school" as someone fully immersed in the study. I didn't attend one but have always admired those that went through that route and have been curious of the path myself in days now gone.

Best wishes,

DGSR☺

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I'm self taught and I try to sell my violins too.

 

It like a self taught doctor trying to sell cadavers.

 

Instead of trying to sell them, I find it easier to just let them pile up on the dining room table, or hang them on a rack in the garage.  It's also convenient when I get the urge to experiment.... there's plenty of things to choose from.

 

 

Marty, what would we do here without you?

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 Violin making school is pretty middle of the road for difficulty. I would say in the end it is about 150 weeks with the amount of extra time you can put in (mornings, and one night a week in the evening) the time may seem daunting for some, and I don't know about the past (the 80s, 90s)...

 

The course at CSVM in the early 80's was set up a bit differently.  3 1/2 years, summers off. The instrument requirements were slightly different (an extra instrument; and cello making was strongly encouraged) and lectures were more prevalent (usually weekly; Kenneth Warren Sr., Robert Bein, Carl Becker Jr., past grads, a number of players, etc.). The frequency of the lectures fell off a bit when Mr. Warren Sr. passed away and the school moved to the northwest side, but still occurred on a less regular basis. The school moved again later on, to Skokie, but that was after my time there.

 

When the school went non-profit about 13 years ago, the change in schedule (trimester system; 3 sessions of 14 weeks, 42 weeks per year; 126 weeks total) was adopted by the board (I was a member of the board at the time).  I believe that still stands, but someone correct me if I'm wrong. This was due, in great part, to the limitation of education visas for trade schools (to 3 years) imposed by the government at the time. Unfortunately, the history and ID portion of the course all but faded and repair was not as prevalent a semester as it once was (became more of a before and after school thing).  The addition of Henni Hahn to the program a few years ago brought this important aspect back to the school.

 

I'm not sure that the "dropout" rate has increased since the trimester system was adopted, but it may have.  If it has, I'd be cautious to blame the increase on the scheduling intensity of the program.  It's always been a little intense (even with summers off). Financial pressures (I attended school 7-8 hours a day and worked afterwards; had a son in preschool at the time so needed to help support a family and pay tuition) and confidence/dedication variances have always played a part, as well as some students bailing to take on a job offer before graduation.

 

I believe school can be an important step in entering the industry, and I did stay around to graduate.  Just as important, I think, is what one does outside school hours.  I worked first for a conservator (wood and metal objects, etc), then for a violin maker/repairer while I was in school.  Not sure I hit the 200 bridge mark during that time (never counted), but I did put a dent in it. :) Rod is correct, of course.  School preps you for real progress after the course is done.

 

That said, I know a good number of fine makers and restorers who received their initial training within the industry, not by attending school. One very notable restorer worked for Lyon & Healy Harps before turning to violins. Unfortunately, I think the number of opportunities for this type of training are not nearly as plentiful or easy to find as they once were.

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Yes, there is 52 weeks in a year and the Chicago school has 3 weeks off a year. The program is 3 years long. I was there another term but didn't add that in. Most students stay an extra term if they make a cello.

Adding the fact that at that point one has only aquired a solid foundation on which to learn you can understand why people who have had that experience bristle at the idea that one can become a violin maker in a few weeks.

My own training consisted of 5 years of apprenticeship working 50 to 60 hours a week then 2 years working 40 hours a week at Jacques Francais' while working in another shop on the weekends.. If I had wanted to be a restorer Rene suggested I stay another 3 years but I decided to remain a lowly violin maker and continue to ask questions and learn on my own to this day.

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    :) Rod is correct, of course.  School preps you for real progress after the course is done.

 

I doubt this is what Rod or Jeffry meant, but it set me thinking.  One of the big problems of two week classes  is when you get home you usually have more questions than you did before you attend the class in the first place.  I assume this would be even more true of a "total immersion course."

 

I can imagine someone coming to Mr. Roy's class who might get home and be almost totally lost.  Particularly if they have come in with no tools skills at all.  If the teacher just shepherds them through the things they can't do themselves, then why would they all of a sudden be able to do these things by themselves when they get home?

 

And unless the teacher has a great organization, pre-written notes, and is a superb communicator,  a student could get swamped very quickly.  My first start-to finish notes on bow making were completely worthless.  I had to go back and be much more careful the second time.

 

I guess these days a lot can easily be put on video, but I notice a lot of people stand around thinking they are going to remember things, but there's too much to remember.

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Meastonet Members,

 

Let me back track a few steps and attempt to revive the cadaver. 

  • I own the PineCrest Inn which will welcome the guests to Don's school.
  • I wrote the pages on the site.
  • I have never built a violin and am only "learning" to play.
  • I wrote the pages as I would write copy for any project I would promote.
  • If there was verbiage that you found questionable or objectionable, it was not due to Don Roy, but rather to my own attempt to write engaging copy.
  • And obviously it was engaging, but not as I anticipated.

 

FIrst: To set the record straight, we choose a photo found online on pages that stated it was part of the photo collection at the library of congress. It wasn't until Joe emailed us did we realize that it was associated with the LC in error. It was promptly removed and a personal apology was sent to Joe. Who if you don't know, makes killer finishes.

 

Second: There was no implied endorsement from the VSA intended or any sponsorship by the VSA intended. Don is a member and we were only describing where the castings originated from. After a discussion with Chris we removed those as well to ensure those reading did not assume anything unintentional.

 

Third: While reading your comments, I quickly made several text adjustments to better reflect our intentions. For those who have not read the pages since they were first posted, I would suggest perhaps you check them again. I am not above making corrections to better clarify our intentions.

 

And Lastly: I  certainly take full responsibility for the content. In my opinion, (a laymens opinion) if I were to work side by side with a very good violin maker, I would expect to make more than kindling. This course/workshop/school/guided build/session is an opportunity for anyone to build what should be a quality instrument. I will stand by that claim.

 

 

  • The instructor/student ratio is 1 to 4, although the web page says 5, we are debating that internally.
  • Students are not left to their own devises.
  • The course is not expensive in comparison to many. (We have secured assistance from a small group of consummate supporters to help lower the costs through other marketing and trades.) With a full scholarship of $1500, the course is only around $2500 for 4 weeks. What is 4 weeks of your time worth? A nearby Boston school is $25K for 40 weeks, or about $625 a week  or  $2500 per month.
  • Students can shop for tools and spend as little or as much as they want.
  • Students can use newer wood or upgrade to more rare and antique material.
  • Students can rent a house and cut costs from staying at an Inn with housekeeping and prepared meals.

 

I have found in my life that many people who have developed a craft or skill by accident and not by design often fully underestimate the value of their talents. They often are too afraid to ask what their skill is truly worth. If you a musician, you know exactly what I am saying. What is 10,000 hrs of practice worth?

 

And yes, we have outlined a very aggressive build window. We also have wood available that is between 200 and 250 years old. We have access to salvaged wood that was brought up from the bottom of rivers and dates back to when the King of England was harvesting trees throughout the state for his masts on his royal ships. At that time, anyone caught harvesting one of those trees was hung for treason. Our goal is to provide an experience AND a quality instrument and not hang you for treason.

 

I spent many hours reading the course descriptions at schools, Boston, Chicago and others. I looked at year long courses and three year long schools. Those are not what we are producing. One school I looked at starts with 6 weeks of learning to sharpen your knives. If that was me, I would slit my wrists after 6 weeks of sharpening with the knives I had just sharpened.

 

There is zero expectation that you will go home and build another violin but rather you may go home with a new found passion to learn more, accepting the challenge of creating something that might become a cherished heirloom to your children and grandchildren and in the end might actually be an amazing instrument. You may go home and find a local master to apprentice with.

 

I do find the need to defend Don, when the comments are really about text I wrote. If you read his bio, you might see a bit more about him. If you went to the pages early, you would have missed that altogether since most of you found the pages prior to them being fully loaded and published.

 

I was never our intention to cast a negative shadow towards the good work of others. It was never our intention on using someones pictures without permission. It was never our intention of misleading anyone.

 

If anyone was offended by our efforts, than I apologize.

 

Matt Mattingly AKA Just learning

www.pinecrestmaine.com

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Meastonet Members,

 

Let me back track a few steps and attempt to revive the cadaver.

  • I own the PineCrest Inn which will welcome the guests to Don's school.
  • I wrote the pages on the site.
  • I have never built a violin and am only "learning" to play.
  • I wrote the pages as I would write copy for any project I would promote.
  • If there was verbiage that you found questionable or objectionable, it was not due to Don Roy, but rather to my own attempt to write engaging copy.
  • And obviously it was engaging, but not as I anticipated.
FIrst: To set the record straight, we choose a photo found online on pages that stated it was part of the photo collection at the library of congress. It wasn't until Joe emailed us did we realize that it was associated with the LC in error. It was promptly removed and a personal apology was sent to Joe. Who if you don't know, makes killer finishes.

 

Second: There was no implied endorsement from the VSA intended or any sponsorship by the VSA intended. Don is a member and we were only describing where the castings originated from. After a discussion with Chris we removed those as well to ensure those reading did not assume anything unintentional.

 

Third: While reading your comments, I quickly made several text adjustments to better reflect our intentions. For those who have not read the pages since they were first posted, I would suggest perhaps you check them again. I am not above making corrections to better clarify our intentions.

 

And Lastly: I  certainly take full responsibility for the content. In my opinion, (a laymens opinion) if I were to work side by side with a very good violin maker, I would expect to make more than kindling. This course/workshop/school/guided build/session is an opportunity for anyone to build what should be a quality instrument. I will stand by that claim.

  • The instructor/student ratio is 1 to 4, although the web page says 5, we are debating that internally.
  • Students are not left to their own devises.
  • The course is not expensive in comparison to many. (We have secured assistance from a small group of consummate supporters to help lower the costs through other marketing and trades.) With a full scholarship of $1500, the course is only around $2500 for 4 weeks. What is 4 weeks of your time worth? A nearby Boston school is $25K for 40 weeks, or about $625 a week  or  $2500 per month.
  • Students can shop for tools and spend as little or as much as they want.
  • Students can use newer wood or upgrade to more rare and antique material.
  • Students can rent a house and cut costs from staying at an Inn with housekeeping and prepared meals.
I have found in my life that many people who have developed a craft or skill by accident and not by design often fully underestimate the value of their talents. They often are too afraid to ask what their skill is truly worth. If you a musician, you know exactly what I am saying. What is 10,000 hrs of practice worth?

 

And yes, we have outlined a very aggressive build window. We also have wood available that is between 200 and 250 years old. We have access to salvaged wood that was brought up from the bottom of rivers and dates back to when the King of England was harvesting trees throughout the state for his masts on his royal ships. At that time, anyone caught harvesting one of those trees was hung for treason. Our goal is to provide an experience AND a quality instrument and not hang you for treason.

 

I spent many hours reading the course descriptions at schools, Boston, Chicago and others. I looked at year long courses and three year long schools. Those are not what we are producing. One school I looked at starts with 6 weeks of learning to sharpen your knives. If that was me, I would slit my wrists after 6 weeks of sharpening with the knives I had just sharpened.

 

There is zero expectation that you will go home and build another violin but rather you may go home with a new found passion to learn more, accepting the challenge of creating something that might become a cherished heirloom to your children and grandchildren and in the end might actually be an amazing instrument. You may go home and find a local master to apprentice with.

 

I do find the need to defend Don, when the comments are really about text I wrote. If you read his bio, you might see a bit more about him. If you went to the pages early, you would have missed that altogether since most of you found the pages prior to them being fully loaded and published.

 

I was never our intention to cast a negative shadow towards the good work of others. It was never our intention on using someones pictures without permission. It was never our intention of misleading anyone.

 

If anyone was offended by our efforts, than I apologize.

 

Matt Mattingly AKA Just learning

www.pinecrestmaine.com

 

Well that explains a lot!

 

Thanks for taking the time to address the issues...and then to explain it all! :)

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