Well, I am back from my travels but I am not sure that you could say I have actually 'landed' yet. Apart from the jet lag, the bowmaking adventures of the last 7 weeks have kept me flying.
You may notice I have changed my profile to read "Bow maker and luthier...". I have made my first bow, or as my new French friends would say " Mon premier archet". The journey to France and to the world of bow makers and bows was an amazing adventure. I had a feeling before I went that bow making was for me and, happily, I was right. It's brilliant! The combination of woodworking, metal working, jewellery making and sculpting required to create these amazing things hit just the right note for me. If I was French, which now I wish I was, I would shrug my shoulders and scowl slightly in that inimitable, off-hand Gallic style and say "Oui..., its good for me."
The bow making journey began in Paris with a chance drop in on luthier James Chauvelin. His atelier happened to be close to where we were staying. As it turned out a double bass specialist as well. He offered me a very warm welcome and a tour of his beautiful collection of instruments/bows. While perusing his Bows and Basses two of France and Norway's best bassists arrived and I quickly handed the bass I was playing over to these formidable bassists, and listened to the show. We also spent a considerable amount of time discussing Basses, bows, restoration, setup and a whole lot of other luthier secrets they were only to happy to share.
There are many more stories to tell but now a huge 'Merci, merci, merci" has to be given to Jean-luc Tauziede and his family who welcomed me so warmly, Jean-luc thanks for teaching me so well and sharing your passion and your bow making secrets . Also thanks to Patrice Taconne, Sylvain Bigot, Sandrine and Jean-Francois Raffin, Gilles Duhaut, James Chauvelin, Christian Laborie and all the other archetiers and luthiers who gave up their time, knowledge, bows and instruments so freely and generously.
And to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust - thank you, thank you, thank you. The opportunities the Trust provides to Australians, to get out into the world to make connections and to garner knowledge and skills unavailable on our home shores is immeasurable in the good it does the individuals, their professional communities and all of us as a result.