Art and Craft. . .

Since 1992 I have focused my work on construction of cellos modelled on the works of Francesco Ruggieri and Joseph Filius Guarneri (father of del Gesu`).
The Guarneri cello shape in particular appealed to me in its rounded proportions and compact, relaxed feel. The outline,
f-hole design, and archings all felt more comfortable to me and I began to seek out more examples of Joseph Filius' work, documenting their appearance with photographs and measurements.

I began to pay particular attention to the marks left on these cellos by the maker's tools, trying to gain insight into his style and manner of working. I love to look at these dynamic and beautiful instruments. They reveal much about the personality of this artist/craftsman working so long ago.
The more of his work I saw, the more I began to feel a kinship between his way of working and my own.

The instruments I build are not copies of any actual Guarneri cello, but rather are my interpretation of his ideals. I try to work quickly and freely, and my cellos are a blend of my own inspiration and the Guarneri style I have digested. In the carving of the scroll, the influence of
F. Ruggieri is often evident in my work, although again I am not copying any particular original but rather drawing from the library of images in my mind's eye.

All of my instruments are antiqued because it is the rich and varied appearance of such antiques that first captivated my eye and continues to fire my hunger to re-create this particular kind of beauty. I think of each cello as a work of art as well as a musical instrument. In creating the antique appearance I refer frequently to my many close-up photographs to make sure that it is convincing and natural looking. In order to further capture the appearance of Filius' cellos I like to use woods similar to those he himself used, including maple, beech, poplar, willow, and sometimes cherry.

My goal is to create a new instrument that at the same time looks, feels and plays like an old one.


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Copyright 2001-2004 William Whedbee