Last summer at the Oberlin Violin Makers' workshop, an idea was born for a special kind of group project, which we called "Violinabox". This involves ten luthiers from all over the world working together (sequentially) to make a violin. Each maker was tasked with sourcing the materials locally, and cooperating with other local craftspeople in the process of making their part.
This project was the brainchild of Andrew Carruthers from Santa Rosa, CA. He spent part of the pandemic making a violin from local materials and enlisting a slew of craftspeople to help him with materials and techniques most of us have lost touch with. You can find his exploits here youtu.be/yhbjHFC14-M.
Our violin started its journey in Canberra, Australia, where the rib structure was born, and a very special (and very sturdy) box made to keep it safe on its travels. Minneapolis was the next stop.
I wasn't sure what to expect, never having made a sequential violin before. What would the ribs be made of? What was hidden in the secret compartment?
It was my job to make the back for the violin. I enrolled several luthier friends -- violin maker Steve Rossow (www.steverossow.com) and archetier Lee Guthrie (www.guthriebows.com); to find some horsetail and a suitable piece of wood, respectively. I also roped in my friend Chris Parker to film and edit my exploits.
If you would like to find out more about this, please follow the violin's journey at