Making Matters: Using local materials for violin making


Dutch luthier Geerten Verberkmoes details the process of making a violin using local materials from his home town of Bergen op Zoom, between October 2022 and May 2023

The historic city of Bergen op Zoom is located in the south-west part of the Netherlands, where forests, farmland and water all intersect. In earlier centuries these particular conditions resulted in flourishing industries of both pottery and the dyestuff madder. As a maker, I began to wonder if these varied surroundings could also provide the majority of materials to make a violin. I then decided that the instrument’s design should carry elements to honour the region’s rich history and nature. Furthermore, the project would allow me to employ my previous experiences in biochemistry, organology and art sciences, as well as to re-explore my relationship with my native town and its environment. All this, I felt, could result in an instrument with some out-of-the-box solutions and features. In short, I began this project as a test case for the use of alternative materials as well as to challenge my creativity as a violin maker…

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