it’s always hard for us explaining how our atelier works and how are made the columns on which we are building our work.
We thought that writing you a letter would help us to find the proper words, so if you have some free time to dedicate to us this corrispondence was written for you.
The atelier (or lab, as we like to call it) is located in “Piazza”, the upper part of the historic centre of Mondovì, a small town in northern Italy.
Being a small place, almost on the mountains, honestly far from big cities, is pretty well connected with the world, easily reachable by car, train and bus from Turin (1h approx).
Some years ago we decided to focus our work on the exclusive production of the instruments belonging to the Viola da Gamba family, from that day we started studying this big and fascinating world, mainly following the guidelines given from the original works of the ancient masters. The historical aspect of both the construction techniques and ornaments/aestethics “grammar” is predominant in our work but we are trying more and more to use it as a vehicle to explore construction possibilities rather than look at it as box in which getting stuck.
When we have the chance we travel to see original manufacts in which, as Marianna’s master always said, all the secrets are kept.
In the construction process we particularly care about having the best control on every phase of work, because of that we use perfectly natural-dried wood pieces (with a special look to the Val di Fiemme spruce for the soundboard, of wich we luckly have found a big amount that naturally dried for 30/40 years).
We can firmly say that, if our customers agrees, we prefer using a “bad looking” but healthy and fully dried wood rather than a gorgeous, heavily flamed young wood; we think that a big part of the future sound of an instrument comes from this aspect. [Obviously the all-season fun is searching for the fully dried, gorgeous, heavily flamed block]
Talking one more time about control of the process, all of our instruments are varnished with a self-made oil varnish based on fossil amber, we are knowing each other better and better, being able to complete that ever-delicate phase with the best results.
Our favourite task in our atelier is to make custom “tailor made” instruments.
Since day one we putted our pincipal effort on this aspect, learning how to work for and, most importantly, with our clients. We strongly believe in the importance of a continuos confrontation during the construction process, in order to understand at the very best which are the needs, the expectations and the wishes of each customer.
We learned a lot simply talking and corresponding with our clients; sometimes is hard to explain with simple words what sound colour one is searching for, what “comfortable” means for an instrument and what aestethical aspects one like the most, but with time we understood that musicians, working in one of the most intangible worlds, are capable of great synesthesia, being able to explain to our hands precisely what to do.
Sometimes different or strange client’s requests have bringed us to new museums, to see different instruments and research, measure and replicate them, that is what we love the most and that’s how we grow.
WAITING LIST AND PRICING
Working always with four hands on the bench (two hands on two benches actually) we are able to deliver the product relatively fast, we think that two trained persons with a proper task division are able to work faster than one (wo)man alone with the double of time. One of our everyday goals is trying to keep the waiting list as short as we possibly can, in order to avoid long waitings and trying to ensure the deliver in max 1 year. That aspect could move up and down for many reason so please feel free to ask what is the current situation if interested in.
Last thing, we do empathize with the economic possibilities and situations of all our clients, unfortunately we can’t give our instruments for free because of the eating/paying-rents issues of our family but we are usually very open to talk about the money aspect without big problems.
That’s what we are as luthiers, or at least what we are able to write down, please contact us if you’ll need more informations.
All the best to you all,
Marianna and Nedim