Newark School of Violin Making
Education Services Award 2019: funding for cello wood
RAB Award 2019: work placement with Helen Michetschläger
“The RAB Trust awarded me a week-long work experience placement in the workshop of Helen Michetschläger in Manchester.
This was exactly the work experience I had hoped for (and asked for): to get expert advice on making a smaller sized viola, which included downsizing an existing instrument. I really wanted to go to Manchester for support with the arching, but I felt a bit lost in the design-process of the instrument. In the end, I got much more than I had hoped for. Helen was incredibly helpful and generously answered all my questions before the actual work experience had even started!
Using scrub planes for hollowing the plate
During my week in Manchester, I focused on the arching and thicknessing of the front. Helen let me use her scrub planes for this – that was a revelation to me. It made the work much easier and smoother, and it’s a method I have started incorperating into my work.
While I was working on my front, Helen was working on a cello. She took the time to explain aspects of the cello-making process to me, and I assisted in glueing the ribs. This again was a great bonus, and the information came right in time for the cello I was about to start making one week later.
Arching the front, with Helen’s cello in the background
Helen is a very energetic worker, and made me feel motivated to work hard as well. Despite the hard work, the atmosphere in the workshop was very relaxed and welcoming, which made me feel like I could ask any of my questions at any given time – great for learning.
It is such an advantage to be able to do your work next to a professional maker, and to have ad hoc one-on-one tuition. I can’t express enough gratitude to Helen and all the makers who are willing to offer their time to students!”
Caroline’s work at Newark: