Instrument-making is a lifelong learning opportunity. It involves slowing down enough to master hand-and eye coordination; understanding of physics; artistic expression; an ability to distinguish subtle qualities of sound and response; and, as I am finding out, awareness of complex social issues on a global level.
One of my favourite aspects of the trade is the level of hands-on engagement -- when I have carved a cello arching, my sore muscles and blistery hands tell me I have done an honest day's work. I thoroughly enjoy the smell and feel of wood and the many beautiful manifestations of maple, rosewood and ebony.
Having lived in several different countries with a dramatic range of climates has given me the chance to really understand the intricacies of violin construction and the effect that changing environments have on the whole. While I wouldn't wish adversity on anyone, other players' misfortunes have often been my greatest teachers. Having said that, I am sure that in the field of instrument making, I will always be a student.
My peripatetic career also means that as of now, my instruments are being played on four different continents.