Combining a lifelong fascination with both music and art, Alicia Clare rescues old violins beyond repair, giving them a new lease of life with bespoke designs

Alicia Clare is an artist that rescues and decorates old violins - in a move that would otherwise see the instruments destined for the tip.

Operating as Sunshine Studios, Clare describes herself as a ’colour-obsessed, badass misfit rebel extrordinaire raising violins from the dead,’ turning the instruments into functional pieces of art. Clare’s artistry stems from a lifelong fascination with music - her father is a music producer and teaches at Berklee College of Music, and she plays guitar, piano and drums. 

She has also been an artist since she was a child, and explored furniture transformation with the help of YouTube tutorials. Eventually, she decided to combine her interests of furniture with music, turning her attention to instrument transformation. ’I got a few free acoustic guitars from friends and I was immediately drawn like a magnet,’ Clare told The Strad. ’I was instantly good at it. It felt like a calling: transforming broken instruments into works of art.’

At the advice of her best friend, who is a violinist, Clare went on to contact violin repairers and ask for instruments that were broken beyond repair - rescuing the old instruments to become bespoke works of art. ’It’s the most beautiful symbiotic relationship,’ she says.

Going through the transformation process, Clare cleans the instruments, then casts the embellishments from silicone decor moulds. She then arranges and glues the embellishments onto the instruments, primes, paints, varnishes and finally adds metallic waxes.

How does Clare come up with inspiration for her creations? ’My ideas for the designs come from whatever creative genius lives inside my brain,’ she says. ’I rarely plan anything, just like when I play an instrument - I feel as I go and do what I feel.’

You can explore more of Clare’s work on her website or on social media @sunshinestudios77

All photos courtesy Alicia Clare/Sunshine Studios

An exclusive range of instrument making posters, books, calendars and information products published by and directly for sale from The Strad.


The Strad’s exclusive instrument posters, most with actual-size photos depicting every nuance of the instrument. Our posters are used by luthiers across the world as models for their own instruments, thanks to the detailed outlines and measurements on the back.


The number one source for a range of books covering making and stinged instruments with commentaries from today’s top instrument experts.


American collector David L. Fulton amassed one of the 20th century’s finest collections of stringed instruments. This year’s calendar pays tribute to some of these priceless treasures, including Yehudi Menuhin’s celebrated ‘Lord Wilton’ Guarneri, the Carlo Bergonzi once played by Fritz Kreisler, and four instruments by Antonio Stradivari.