Oberlin Violinmaker’s workshop
Every summer about sixty violinmakers meet at the Oberlin Violinmakers Workshop. in Ohio, USA, to participate in two weeks of making violins, exchanging knowledge and developing friendships The makers work on their own instruments and many participate in making a group-built study instrument.
An international collaborative violin.
In 2022 at Oberlin a group of us decided to build a violin as a group project, but to do it at our home locations. The violin would be passed from maker to maker, internationally, with each person contributing to the next stage in its construction.
The interesting twist, inspired Redwood Violin Project, is that instead of traditional violin materials, each maker would find substitutes grown within a few miles of their home.
To find the materials that they needed the violinmakers would recruit the help of local businesses and craftspeople. The violinmakers would report on their interactions with their communities and on the violin building process in their workshops .
The Violin-in-a-Box Project is as much about the story and the reporting as it is about the finished instrument. We hope that you will enjoy the glimpses and insights into different worlds and locations.
Eight participants joined the group in Oberlin and two more were recruited once the project was under way to make a group of 10 violinmakers in 9 countries on 3 continents.
|Rib structure. Violinabox shipping case
|Minneapolis , USA
|Make Fingerboard and Purfling
|Santa Rosa, CA, USA
|Top, F-holes. Bassbar
|Wakefield, Quebec, Canada
|Close box. Fit Purfling. Edge work
|Carve neck, Fit and Shape neck
|Make varnish. Prep violin for varnish.
|Ein Carmel, Israel
|Juan Carlos Soto
|San Juan, Costa Rica
|Setup (putting on the strings and fittings)
|NFA. Currently: Saltillo, Mexico
|Return to Oberlin
- Have fun. Keep it light hearted.
- The finished violin should be a high quality, classic instrument
- Get the violin completed within a year, ready for the next Oberlin meeting
- Use locally produced materials (Exceptions are being made for glue, drying oil and turpentine, unless the participant wants to tackle these)
- Document the process with photos and video. Publish these on Instagram
- The videos should include several repeated themes
- Opening and dispatching the shipping box
- Interviews with anyone who helps to make the violin or contributes materials
- Say a few words about a favorite tool used
- Make a “knoll” photo of all of the tools used
- The process of finding the materials plus any problems encountered
- Include a surprise item in the box to be revealed by the next participant
- If the project was felt to be successful, to approach media outlets for a write up
Transport. Shipping violins with commercial carriers has become common practice in some parts of the world, but in many others it is either not available or highly risky. If we wanted to include those countries, which we did, we’d have to find couriers, friends or acquaintances, to hand carry the instrument to some destinations.
Reporting. It was decided that Instagram would be the main media for reporting on the building project.