There's a magnetic type of energy that seems to surround my dad's shop, attracting swarms of curious visitors each week. They bring treats for my dad, ask questions about production, and always want to help with some aspect of guitar building. While I typically enjoy the excitement that visitors tend to bring, it is nice just to have some time to have the shop to myself to focus solely on my work. Most of you know that my dad works until well past midnight every day, so when I am there I make sure to get up early enough in the morning to have several hours to work on my own. I always take time to enjoy the silence before the storm, as I like to think of it. I like that it is quiet, unless I am the one making noise, I feel productive and am not stopping production to chat, or move pie and a barrel of cheezy poofs from my workspace.
Working at my house in Asheville is somewhat similar to the silent shop mornings. The only visitors I get are Harper coming to remind me she is bored, maybe a bee wandering up from the woods beyond my deck to see what is happening, or an occasional neighbor. I have been home for the past few weeks and have been cutting pearl, putting together ukuleles, and inlaying fingerboards. Oh and writing blogs :-)
Last week, on my deck, I shaped braces, shaved kerfing, and fitted the top and back onto a soprano ukulele. I am really excited about this particular ukulele because I am making it for a good friend. When it is possible, I like to take time to get to know someone I make an instrument for, at least little bit, because I think that makes the instrument more of a collaboration, and less something I just make. I have found that the best partnerships are when I am given artistic license to make what I know the person will love, adding little touches for them, but keeping the artistry for myself. This mutual trust is sometimes difficult to achieve, so when it happens, as in this case, it is a truly positive and exciting experience.
|Signed uderside of soprano top for my friend Kyler.|
The koa for this ukulele is a piece left over from my #16 guitar. I am so glad I was able to use it because that piece of wood is more special than most, with curls radiating out like sun rays through the grain. I am a firm believer in wasting as little materials as possible, this incredible wood especially, and sopranos allow for that more willingly than larger instruments which I enjoy.
|Kyler's initials, inlaid in the|
headstock of his ukulele.
While I miss working with my dad, and having his vast guitar knowledge and building expertise just feet away, it has been great to get to work on my instruments on my own time, then go for a run with Harper at the Biltmore Estate every day. Once we run past the lines of people on Segways winding their way down the paths surrounding the winery, we are generally alone to enjoy the scenery and history of the property. The only thing missing is a visitor or two to perk up a lonely afternoon. Will you come visit me in Asheville when (someday) I have my very own shop here? I sure hope you will.