Describe your profession, with details on products, services, expertise and know how.
I am a luthier who makes violins and violas. Another major part of my work is to repair and restore all instruments of the violin family and their bows.
What materials do you use? Where and how you purchase them?
The wooden materials I use are the classically established combination of European spruce for the tops and Balkan maple for the rest parts as well as ebony, rosewood and boxwood for the fingerboards and trimmings. I mainly work with natural air dried (about twenty years) wood from Bulgaria because of its excellent acoustic quality.
At what age and under what circumstances did you start this job?
I was twenty two when I started to make violins as a luthier in a violin making factory. Few years later I established my own atelier.
Where and how long have you been trained before you were ready to start your own business? In a training institute, with a craftsman or both? What do you think is the best way to learn your job today? Schools, training with craftsmen ...?
I have graduated from the luthier ‘s department of the woodworking school in my hometown Plovdiv. The learning there lasted four years.
Describe the techniques, the tools and the materials you use in your work.
The violin maker works in a workshop (atelier) well equipped and organized with mainly hand instruments, materials and accessories.
The good luthier must have the skills and competencies to make wholly an instrument starting with choosing the proper materials, to making every single part, to assemble all of them, to varnish it and finish with the acoustical settings of the instrument.
The luthier is capable of discussing with clients when making, repairing or offering an instrument according to the client’s taste and style of playing.
What role do "talent" and "creativity" play in your profession?
The fine taste involved in creating every detail with much esthetics is lifting the luthier’s craft in an art.
And what about innovation, what are the changes since you started? Do you use new materials, tools, or processes in manufacturing and marketing? What is the impact of innovation on your performance? How could your profession be even more innovative?
The violin making technology is conservative following few century lasting work methods.
My mission is to keep following them.
What is the best way to learn your profession?
Either studying at violin making school or in an atelier under supervision of a master violin maker followed by some practicing period would give good results.
What is your message to younger generations who might choose your profession?
To be patient, persistent, consistent and with a lot of enthusiasm. To learn constantly and to be aware of the best practices, to consult only the best masters.