Lutherie Collectives: The Wisdom of Crowds

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Violin making is traditionally a solitary career, so why are so many luthiers and bow makers choosing to join collectives? Peter Somerford talks to the founders and members of such groups around the world to discover the benefits of pooling resources, knowledge and time

Luthiers who work alone have many different ways of connecting with colleagues, from joining Facebook groups and participating in online forums to attending conferences and exhibitions and being active in professional associations. But being a solo maker can be isolating, and some of the business practicalities of working alone, of finding and renting a suitable workshop space, growing a client base, marketing, establishing contacts with dealers, and travelling to international fairs, can be time-consuming and expensive. Some makers have decided that forming collectives offers both social and commercial advantages. They’ve found that a small group of like-minded individuals can provide camaraderie and support, an environment for sharing knowledge and expertise, the drive to organise events, and the ability to pool resources, such as splitting the rent on a showroom, or sharing a workspace.

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