Neil was one of the most successful British violin makers of the past 20 years. Due to the beauty of his instruments, he naturally attracted the curiosity of many aspiring makers and he was generous in sharing part of his knowledge and accepting students for work placements- whether through the RAB trust or privately. Our work bears traces of beauty that originate from his words: a recipe for a fiercely red madder lake or a good, traditional recipe for colouring the black purfling are only two of many examples that are being handed around in his name.
Two of the students who had placements with Neil, write:
One of the most interesting experiences on my violin making life was to have a workshop experience with Neil Ertz. It was in 2015 while I was in my third year at the Newark School. I had a great week with him, learning a lot every day and feeling myself at home because he was so kind and close to me. Something that impacted on me was the amount of phone calls he had every single day from friends and other makers. It made me realise how loved he was in the violin making world.
Thank you Neil, we all miss you.”
I was very saddened to hear that Neil passed away last month. He very kindly had me for a week of work experience in 2011 and under his supervision had me fit pegs, make madder lake and we worked on a scroll. The most important thing he impressed upon me was the level of attention to detail needed in life after violin making school.
Whenever we met he was always interested in what I was up to and very open with his feedback and advice. I am sad to miss the opportunity to get to know him better when I move to Scotland next year.”