Project update 6 – A salamander, a label, twisted tailgut and local press coverage

I’m having trouble knowing exactly what to report on. The videos covering the details of the various processes involved in making the violin are lagging so far behind what is currently going on in the workshop that I worry that there are many points in each video that need context and further explaining.

I cant see any easy way around this other than just plodding on slowly and hope that the whole picture develops organically. So, here is this weeks workshop summary video. Associated videos are coming soon!

This weeks workshop review

In the Shop

The back marquetry is finished and delivered. The design that we chose is a Tiger Salamander, an endangered species in Sonoma County, standing on some fallen Valley Oak leaves. Greg and Mark left the inlay standing proud of the back so that I could blend it into the finished arch shape. I’m very happy with the way this turned out, The design is a whimsical, it is distinctive and has Sonoma County significance. The marquetry is masterful and its been a real pleasure working with Mark and Greg . Thanks Guys! I hope to finish the marquetry Video soon. Mark’s album of pictures from the marquetry process.

I Recieved the label for the inside of the violin. This is hand lettered on locally made paper. The lettering was done by Santa Rosa calligrapher, poet and painter Sherrie Lovler. The paper was made by papermaker and performance artist, Jane Ingram Allen. The ink was made by me from a California black walnuts growing in my back yard. More about the label and the artists involve in pending videos.

I finish making the violin tailgut from Sheep’s intestine.

People and places

Visit to Clover leaf Ranch where I talked with Owner / Manager, Shawna DeGrange. I needed some horsehair which is traditioally used in polishing gut strings

interview with John Burgess, Photographer with the Press Democrat. John has been dropping by at the shop for weeks to document what’s been going on. In this video I turn the spotlight on him.


Our Local Paper, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, covered the Redwood Violin Project in a generous three page spread in the Sunday paper. The reporter Diane Peterson is also a violinist so she took a particular interest and she went into the story in depth. Photographer, John Burgess, is also a woodworker and his interest in the subject shows in his pictures.

Journalism and storytelling are a glue that holds society together and we are fortunate in Sonoma County to have several functioning, if struggling, newspapers.

Bringing the story of the Redwood violin to the community is a bigger part of the project than actually making the violin, both in terms of the amount of work involved and in terms of the project goals. If nobody knows about the violin it is not a community project.

Since the Press Democrat story came out we have received

  • More sign ups for the newsletter and more subscribers to YouTube and Facebook.
  • There have been several inquiries from musicians a composer and a local orchestra interested in participating in the next, “Played Local “, phase of the project.
  • More financial donations. Besides defraying costs, contributions however small, show a belief in the project that is invaluable.

Thanks to all who have engaged and contributed.

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