This summer and fall, I’m working every Wednesday afternoon at the HatchSpace, a woodworking cooperative in downtown Brattleboro. It is an opportunity to experience what it is like to work in a different space, one that has lots of other activity going on. I hope that observing how I work is instructive and inspiring, as I find it interesting to observe others’ projects and approaches to work.
This project consists of building a violin and viola, doing all the work at HatchSpace on Wednesday afternoons, and using wood that has come to me through the Hatch family. The maple is spectacular and these will be very special instruments.
The “quilted” maple that I am using in my Hatch work came to me from Tom Bodett. Tom felt this wood was too unique and too small for any project he had yet imagined, yet too good to not keep for something special someday. He thought maybe a violin would be that something special and asked me to have a look at it. Something inside me said “yes,” and off we went.
Tom got the wood from Rich Blazej, a musician that I played with – he clarinet, me tuba – in Bruce Corwin’s American Legion Band during the Iraq war. Rich’s son, Claude, visited me as I was beginning this project and told me the full and detailed story of how the wood came to be in Rich’s barn. You can read the full story of the Hatch wood here.
As part of the violin I am making, this very wood will live on for 300 years in the hands of 12 or more owners. This natural process of wood passing through human lives goes on and on.
Through this experience, I am learning a lot about myself and the many things I take for granted in my work life. There is value in working in the space I’ve settled into over thirty years, but knowing that a time may come when I might want to relocate to a more aging-friendly location has inspired me to explore what it would be like working in a different and newer space.
If you are in the Brattleboro area, please stop in to see me at work at the HatchSpace on any Wednesday afternoon from 1:00-5:00 pm. I will be working at the Hatch through the fall and/or until work on these two instruments is complete. The Hatch is located at 35 Frost Street in Brattleboro. I enjoy talking about my work and would be happy to answer questions while I work.