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What distinguishes art from craft? Since the traditional answer skews utilitarian and hinges on an object’s ‘use value,’ musical instruments are typically grouped with the latter category. This is a grave oversight. In The Invisible Line: When Craft Becomes Art, seven West Coast artisans discuss their work and make the case for curatorial inclusion of instruments (and other “primitives”) alongside the finest sculptures, etchings, paintings, and pastels the world’s museums have to offer. Conceived and edited by Larry Robinson, the man behind The Art of Inlay: Design and Technique for Fine Woodworking, The Invisible Line consists of seven lavishly self-illustrated essays penned by independent practicing artisans (rather than academics, art historians, journalists, or critics) at the height of their careers. Whether you’re a practicing musician, an art aficionado, a luthier or woodworker, or an everyday person with an affinity for the aesthetically pleasant, this gorgeous volume is sure to awe and inspire.
Here's a taste of the featured artists and their work: Larry Robinson of Valley Ford, California, has been building guitars since 1972 and specializing in inlaying since 1984. He has had customers on six continents; his work has been featured in many museum shows and is in permanent collections of the C.F. Martin Co., Fender Instruments, Gibson Guitars, and private collectors.
David Giulietti works in his Berkeley, California, studio creating jewelry pieces of enduring beauty and also engraves commissions for private clients around the world. John Mayer, Katy Perry, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Jackson Browne, and David Grisman all have David’s work in their collections. He worked on the Millionth Martin Guitar with world-class inlay artist Larry Robinson, and his work has been exhibited at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California.
Port Orford, Oregon’s Bob Hergert started doing scrimshaw in 1978, strongly influenced by the Bellingham school in Washington State. A chance meeting with Eric Galletta of Galletta Guitars opened the door for Bob to do scrimshaw work for the Allman Brothers Band, the Beach Boys, and many other guitarists. He continues to work with other luthiers and inlay artists, including Larry Robinson and Harvey Leach. He collaborated with Leach on Martin Guitar’s 1.5 millionth guitar—“da Vinci Unplugged”—now on display in the Martin Museum, and, more recently, with Robinson on the Steve Klein da Vinci homage.
Though based in Santa Rosa, California, David J. Marks is recognized internationally as a master craftsman of fine furniture, turner, sculptor, and host of the television show WoodWorks. David started woodworking in 1972, making redwood burl tables. In the late 1980s, he shifted focus to woodturning and sculpture. His signature patina finish is a hybrid of multiple finishes, which combines painting, gilding (metal leafing), chemical patinas, and lacquering techniques. The complex layers result in a finish that may look ancient, metallic, or even of a petrified stone quality.
Michihiro Matsuda, based out of Redwood City, California, was raised in Tokyo, Japan. Pairing traditional woodworking skills with an innovative sense of design and construction, he builds around eight guitars each year at his shop in Redwood City, California. He is striving to make instruments that integrate fine materials with his dedicated sound study. Each of his guitars is unique, personal, and individual.
Tom Ribbecke, who practices in Healdsburg, California, has been building and designing all types of guitars for over forty years. He has developed an international reputation for building the arch top guitar, innovating in all areas of lutherie, and most recently for inventing/developing the Halfling™ line of carved top instruments, which hybridize the arch top and steel-string style guitars. Tom has taught guitar making for many years and recently has begun to develop the Ribbecke Center for Stringed Instruments to teach, create, and do research at his private shop in Healdsburg.
Ervin Somogyi, an Oakland, California, resident, is one of the “grand old pioneers” of American (and increasingly world) lutherie. While he started as a young guitar maker almost fifty years ago, his influence as a teacher is emerging as his most significant long-term contribution. He has lectured extensively, trained a number of the up-and-coming members of the younger lutherie generation, and added to the bibliography of modern lutherie by authoring two textbooks and well over a hundred articles on every aspect of the craft.
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Page Count: 184
Dimensions: 8.5 X 10.5 inches
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