My approach of the trade
Firstly, one must search for the best “ingredients” to lead the way. As an object made up of wood, the violin’s nature is found in the acoustic qualities of wood, which is largely responsible for the ultimate sound produced by the instrument.
I therefore dedicate myself to finding the same materials and essences as those of the great 18th violin makers of the school of Cremona – Stradivarius, Guarnarius… Thus, I choose my spruce from the sawmills of the Fiemme valley in Northern Italy, where the famous “red pine” hails. Moreover, I choose maple from the Balkans as it is in these terroirs and climates of Serbia that the Acer Platanus, an extremely lively and sonorous maple, reaches the peak of its quality.
After having obtained woods of the desired quality, I treat my wood and let it rest for ten years before cutting it and letting it dry again in order to obtain optimum stability within the finished piece.
Then comes hundreds of hours of work done entirely by hand. Using one’s hands is key within the process as it allows you to feel, weigh and test the wood; such sensitivity allowing to shape great instruments.
It was only after years of restoring fine violins, understanding them on my own accord, that I truly learnt what it takes to make a violin sing ! Moreover, it is through working with musicians over 25 years that I have progressed and always been able to take a step further in my quest for an ideal sound.
I also think that being a violinist helps me to put myself in my client’s shoes, to understand their needs and their concerns. In this sense, I like to be able to accompany the musician and their violin – which is constantly evolving. I am often asked if it is difficult to let go of an instrument after having spent hundreds of hours on it alone, however, I see it rather as a new step in the making of a violin, the instrument is not truly finished until it has found its master!
All in all, I profoundly enjoy my work as a luthier, and I am very aware of the luck I have to be able to earn a living from it. I am in constant anticipation to start making my next instrument and further my understandings of sounds and techniques.