Friday, September 26, 2014

reverb (IW#'s 73-80)

The latest project has grown out of the Three Sisters project.  The short story is that I used this project to build a bridge between me, a local printmaker whose work I love, and my favorite guitarist in Syracuse.

I decided to expand the project, and when another piano came my way I realised I could use it to bring together a community of artists, print makers, and designers.  Here's how it worked:  I made eight more guitars (all tenor scale and with identical dimensions) and gave them in pairs to people whose work I like.  They are as follows:

Damian   Damian is a local design activist, rock and roller, and community maker who also does graphic work.  He got the pair of guitars made from the last of the material that also make up the Three Sisters since I found that piano on the street in the Westcott neighborhood of Syracuse.  He also lives in this neighborhood, so it seemed to make sense that he get that wood.

Cayetano  Cayetano is a bad ass painter and guitar player, and he also helped me dismantle the piano that made three of the pairs of guitars.  #alwayshandpaint.

Janie and Jon  A highly skilled design and fabrication duo.  I have the pleasure of working with both in different capacities (you can see Janie in the video linked above) and wanted to work with them as a unit.  Against his better judgement Jon helped me schlep the second piano to my studio.

Jaime  A dear friend and skilled artist as well as being a social scientist, Jaime's work continues to leave me agog, and it was a no-brainer to ask her to be a part of this.

So these along with Jason make up the reverb community.  It is a group of skilled and passionate designers, artists, makers knit together by the remains of two pianos.  Each pair of guitars was embellished by one designer/artist/team, and they will keep one of the pair, while I keep the other.  I will be showing them in a show here in Syracuse this fall, after which they will live on a wall in my house.  I will see all of the instruments, and will enjoy the beauty of living in a place so rich with possibility, with art and design, with community.  

It is hard to talk about this project succinctly.  Both pianos were made out of chestnut, a wood I love working with.  Also I started to really deal with bracing the tops in a more thoughtful manner.  I used glued-on fingerboards instead of just setting the frets right into the neck.  This is my first production run of instruments, so I thought a lot about multiples (and about how I need more clamps).  Rich project in a lot of ways.  Here are the instruments:

Two of the original Three Sisters with a print by Jason Evans.

Two more guitars from the same piano.  These are embellished with a photo from the Westcott area by Damian Vallelonga
Beautiful Sign Painting from Cayetano Valenzuela

Wood burning taken from a photo of the innards of the piano by Janie and Jon

Incredibly intricate ink work by Jaime Snyder