My personal approach to violin making is characterised by an urge to create original forms within the bounds of classical tradition. I have made a few bench copies of particular instruments, that have been given the fictitious markings of age and use of the originals. However I don’t pretend to be able to “make a del Gesu” or an Amati. All my instruments are designed with straightedge and ruler, from scratch and include a fair amount of freehand intervention. I adamantly believe that slavishly copying the great masters is futile, or at least doomed to become uninteresting as time passes.
My reverence for the old masters induced me to follow in their footsteps by developing my own style as soon as the formative period of schooling was over. Conscious manipulation of surface textures and colours, I see as an aesthetic device rather than an attempt to recreate real effects of ageing. I used to loathe the practice of antiquing instruments. I couldn't however, deny the fact that when coated with a homogenous and even sheath of a single colour, the eye is not coaxed into a dance with different hues and spots, scratches and dents, which undeniably add another dimension to the experience. Old artefacts that carry the scars and vicissitudes of time, also tell a story. A story that reveals the touch of hundreds or thousands of people through the ages. A secret that I learned, is that even if this effect is artificially manipulated, and the observer is completely aware of the illusion, the effect retains its magic. And magic it is. Similarly, a theatre set, ludicrously sparse and primitive, does not detract from the audiences' total immersion in the act. The mind allows itself to be fooled in return for a certain gratification.
In recent years I have indulged in playful experimentation with the aim of producing new forms of instruments that have something in common with the architecture and art of the 21st century.
The catalyst for these experiments was an increasing interest in the recent developments of the acoustics of stringed instruments, which I believe will transform violin making in the next decades.