Random Routes

Vicky Hancock discovers Michael Vann’s roundabout way into bow making

Vicky_Hancock_Blog

I’ve just spoken to Canadian bow maker Michael Vann about his workshop for the November issue’s My Space article. When we started chatting about how his career started I soon discovered that his route into bow making was definitely not what I’d imagined.

He said: ‘My first career was as a photojournalist, working for a national newspaper in Canada. In my thirties I met my now wife – a violinist – and when I was in her teaching studio one day I asked about the “white stuff” on her bow. When she explained it was horse hair and that she had to send it off to get it rehaired I thought, “I could do that” – although she disagreed!

Later I did a feature for the paper on the guitar maker Frank Gay. When I visited his studio I saw bows hanging up. He needed to rehair them, although it was clear he didn’t like doing it. So I offered to do it and took the bows away with me. On my way home I stopped by the local abattoir and bought a couple of horse tails. Then I went to the library and got out a book on bow rehairing. Soon after one of my wife’s colleagues suggested I study bow making and I contacted William Salchow in New York.’

Speaking with Michael made me wonder how many of you have had an equally random route into the string world? Let us know.