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Meet the Luthiers


Aubrey K. Alexander

When she was 8 years old Aubrey made a bee-line for the tool rack in a violin maker's studio, and she's been hooked ever since. She has enjoyed a varied and challenging career in both new making and restoration across several states. After graduating from lutherie school with honors she continued to work in the SLC shop of John Moroz, where she began her restoration journey during her school years. She left the shop to teach violin making for five years before returning to restoration with a side of new making. She now lives in Chicago, where she works as a restorer for Sapp Violins alongside fellow Women in Lutherie: Tori McDonald, Mel Sapp, Diane Helmuth, and Susie Lankenau.

When she's not at the bench she thoroughly enjoys clay shooting and bass fishing as much she can. She is a member of the VSA and the AFVBM, and has been published in Strad Magazine and Strings Magazine.

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Paris Andrew

Paris was born into a very artistic family and grew up attached to her violin which she played from a young age. Fascinated by the world of lutherie after a trip to a local luthier at 16 years old, she later went on to follow her passion; first as an apprentice to Harpsichord maker and restorer Maestro Fergus Hoey, and later at the violin making school at Merton College London under the exceptional Master maker Keith Graves. After focusing on repair and restoration, Paris went on to win a fellowship from the Winston Churchill Trust for her work which allowed her to travel to Florence to work alongside a group of remarkable luthiers and study the Tuscan style and history of violin making with Maestro Francesco Algieri.

Her great love of baroque music and history led her to retrain and specialize in Baroque builds with Maestro Fabio Chiari, and she now focuses almost exclusively on the Baroque. Paris makes instruments 'from models' and likes to use her intuition and personal taste to guide her while making and varnishing. Paris has exhibited all over the world and is proud to have her instruments played by remarkable professionals and work in collaboration with award winning artists such as Leonardo Frigo, Federico Guglielmo and Thorgy Thor.

She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, The Churchill Trust and a recognised artisan of Homer Faber. From the summer of 2021 she now offers training and masterclasses to promising female identifying luthiers and will shortly begin her new teaching position at Scuola di Liuteria Toscana Fernando Ferroni.

She regularly contributes to publications such as The Strad and works to promote lutherie to a wider field using social media and workshops for schools. The violin “Il Veneziano” she created with hand designed gondalo inspired soundholes was accepted into the Museo della Musica in Venice making her the only living luthier with an instrument in the collection.

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Amelyse Arroyo

Amelyse began playing the violin at six years old, and whenever her family took her violin to get adjusted, she would always ask the shop owner if she could watch what was being done. Years later, her curiosity eventually led to an opportunity for her to work for a local violin shop, which she did through high school and college.


Once in college, her curiosity moved from instruments to bows, and thus began her desire to become a bow maker. Amelyse tested the waters of bow making under Steve Beckley in 2013 and the following year she studied at The Violin Craftsman Institute at The University of New Hampshire. After several courses at UNH, she began studying bow making with Rodney Mohr through his program, Learning Trade Secrets, and is currently apprenticing with David Forbes while continuing to study with Rodney Mohr.

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Ibiza Avalos

I began my career in 2000 at the violin making laboratory of the University of Veracruz under the guidance of master luthier and bow maker Octavio Aranda and Christian Krapp, a German luthier.

In 2005, I began studying at the Lauderia School of the National Institute of Fine Arts in the city of Querétaro; under the guidance of master luthier Joaquin Pimentel. I graduated in 2009.

Since 2010 I have lived in Morelia, Mexico, where I have dedicated myself to work with orchestras, conservatories, music schools, and independent musicians of various genres.

From March 2022 to June 2023 I was a teacher of the foundation course at the Academia Cremonensis in the city of Cremona.

I work in Brescia in the workshop of the master violinmaker Filippo Fasser.

I had the opportunity to gain experience in short courses with the following masters:

Claudio Amighetti - Violin maker teacher at the international violin making school of Cremona.

Horacio Pineiro - Expert Argentinian luthier and restorer based in New York City.

Raymond Schrver - Expert Canadian luthier. Winner of international luthier competitions in France and Italy.

Francois Denise - Luthier Française author of the Traité de Lutherie Patrick Robin Luthier Française.

Sebastian Ribes - Mexican luthier, member of the luthiers consortium in Cremona.

Academia Cremonensis in September 2021 I followed a course on the construction of the violin body with the closed body method.

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Itzel Ávila

Itzel Ávila is a Mexican-Canadian violin maker based in Toronto, Canada.

She graduated with honours in violin performance from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and holds a Master’s degree in the same discipline from the University of Montreal. Still a teenager, she made her first violin in Mexico. Years later, she started working in professional workshops in Montreal while completing her master’s degree, and further perfected her skills in Cremona, Italy, and San Francisco, United States, under the supervision of Francis Kuttner, and, back in Montreal, with Michèle Ashley. She is an active participant of the annual Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop, and has exhibited her work in Italy, Belgium, Mexico, Netherlands, Germany, Canada and the United States.

In 2009, she established her own workshop in Toronto. Her instruments are characterized by an ergonomic and comfortable playability, reliable responsiveness, mature and powerful sound. Itzel Ávila was the President of Le forum des Fabricants/The Makers’ Forum – Canadian Association of Violin and Bow Makers from 2020 to 2022. Since November of 2022, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Violin Society of America and the Coordinator of the New Instrument Exhibit of the VSA. She was awarded the Ontario Arts Council “Skills and Development” grant (2023-2025).

Itzel Ávila is also a photographer, and the mother of two children.

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Kristin Siegfried Ballenger

Kristin Siegfried Ballenger is an award winning Violin Maker and restorer. A former instructor and graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making. She holds a music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University. While still in school at CSVM she began working at Seman Violins, where she continued after graduation. In 2019 she began as instructor at the Chicago School of Violin Making alongside Executive Director Antoine Nédélec. She has recently moved to Boston where she is doing restoration work for Reuning & Son Violins, as well as new making.

As a participant in the Oberlin Violin Makers and Restorers workshops, she continues to pursue new techniques while continually refining her craft.

Kristin is the Vice-President of the Violin Society of America, and has served on committees for the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers.

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Federica Bandecchi

Federica Bandecchi was born on January 12th of 2000, in Pisa. She went to the Artistic High School of Lucca, where she developed her passion for art and sculpture and also wood carving.


At the end of high school she discovered, watching a lot of youtube videos, all the work that was behind the realization of musical instruments, especially for violins, viola etc... So, once High School ended, she started pursuing her passion for music and wood carving and decided to enter the Tuscany Violin Making School “Fernando Ferroni” in Sesto Fiorentino, back in 2019, under the careful look of M° Francesco Algieri, where she graduated  in June of 2023 with good grades.

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Baerbel Bellinghausen

Baerbel Bellinghausen is devoted to sound: Stringed instruments have been part of her life ever since her youth. She is thrilled to build new violins, violas, and cellos in Vienna, a city full of inspiring music, handicraft and art. For Baerbel, musical instruments should first and foremost serve musicians as perfect tools for practicing their art. This can only succeed if the builder has already produced an individual, expressive piece of craftsmanship with a strong tonal statement. Each violin embodies a new idea, unique like its players.

In 2020 she launched the Violin Cocoon Vienna label, which designs fine textile covers for string instruments, fairly and sustainably fabricated in Vienna. When Baerbel is not busy in her workshop, she goes fishing with her son, relaxes on the couch with her cat or spends the evening indulging in her greatest passion: Opera.

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Magalie Calpena

A workshop at the foot of the Pyrenees:
My workshop welcomes you in Comminges, at Pointis de Rivière, at the entrance of the Luchonnais Valley. In the trade since the age of 16 following my training in Mirecourt, I offer traditional craftsmanship of violins, violas, and cellos, as well as original and personalized models.

Passion above all:
As a child, I was immersed in music; my father played the guitar as an amateur, and I started playing the piano. However, an old violin retrieved from my great grandmother's attic sat unused on a shelf. Fascinated by the instrument, I decided to play it, but I quickly realized that it was the object itself that interested me the most. That's how I decided to become a luthier, and today I design and craft original models.

My story:
After five years of study at the Mirecourt High School in the Vosges, the only training location in France outside of apprenticeship, where I obtained my professional diplomas (CAP, Brevet de technicien, and Diplôme des métiers d'art in violin making), I worked for five years as an assistant in the workshops of Bertrand Didier in Metz, Aliénor in Paris, and Philippe Mitteran in Bourg La Reine. After these formative years as an assistant, I decided to create my own workshop in my original region, which, except for Toulouse, was poorly served by violin making. That's how I opened a Luthier workshop in Tarbes in October 2003. During the seven years of its existence in Tarbes (2003-2010), I was able to make my work known and recognized by individuals as well as professionals in the region (Conservatoire, music schools, etc.).


After seven years of activity in Tarbes, I had a clientele spread across four departments (Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Haute Pyrénées). I decided to get closer to my clientele with an equipped truck. That's how I created the first itinerant workshop in France. In 2013, I sold this activity because I had long wanted to dedicate myself exclusively to the manufacturing of string instruments, which itinerancy did not allow me the time to do.


Currently, I offer instruments made according to the models of great masters (Stradivarius, Guarnerius, Lupot, etc.) as well as personal creations and proposals for electric and electro-acoustic models. Today, I divide my working time between manufacturing and exhibitions at traditional music festivals, folk, gypsy jazz, and classical. In these exhibitions, I prioritize meeting with musicians to be as close as possible to their demands.

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Andrea Castañeda Flores

I am a violin maker. I started learning violin making at school in Queretaro, México. I got the bachelor in stringed musical instrument construction.

During my career I have had different professional experiences. The most significant were in 2011 I worked and search in the National Music Museum in South Dakota, under supervision of John Kostler.

2012: During October and November I worked at David Kerr Violin Shop. Working in Classical Restoration.

For ten years I had a workshop in Coyoacan, Mexico City. I lived through incredible experiences and learned a lot from professional musicians and colleagues.

2018: I moved my workshop to Coruña in Galicia.

2020: For three months I worked in Trondheim, Norway.

2021: I returned to Galicia and it is in Coruña where I have my workshop now.

I love to make violins and violas. I like to make geometric models. Using numerical proportions. And at the same time look to the old luthiers for inspiration.

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Ornella Ceci

Ornella was born in Bari, southern Italy, in 1980.

She began her training in making and repairing stringed instruments in 2005, after a degree in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bari. Her first teacher was her father ARTURO CECI, a very well-known violin maker, piano tuner and restorer in Bari.

After a few years of working in her hometown as an instrument maker, including the restoration of string instruments and bows, she decided in 2014 to broaden her knowledge in Northern Italy, where she followed stages in Turin and Milan at the workshop of maker and restorer Igor Moroder. In 2015 she got a chance for an internship in the workshop of violin maker and restorer Guust Francois in Amsterdam. Here she made her first "Dutch" instrument, a viola 42cm body length.  

In April 2017 and later in October 2022 she took two courses in the restoration of string instruments organized by the British Violin Making Association - BVMA under the supervision of top restorers Warren Bealy, Iris Carr, Almuth MacWilliams.

In 2017/2018 she started further training at violin maker Bas Maas to refine her set-up and new construction techniques. In Maas' workshop she worked together with colleagues who helped improve her knowledge, such as master Roberto Furnari (restorer and expert in dendrochronological analysis of stringed instruments) and Lambert Houniet (violin maker and restorer).

In 2018 she started further training in bow making and restoration at Michael Yeats in Amsterdam. In 2019 Ornella started her own studio in Amsterdam and built various violins and violas, which are already very popular in Italy.

Since May 2022, she has established her studio at at Prins Mauritsplein 19 in The Hague. Ornella was recently appointed curator in Italy by the heirs of Lorenzo Stelluto to bring to life the extensive violin/viola collection of Lorenzo Stelluto, which had been "untouched" for more than 60 years! Maintenance and furnishing of the collection is the first step of a major project to restore Stelluto's work.

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Melissa Collins

Melissa Collins has long been interested in the relationship that exists between fine craftsmanship and the science of sound. This fascination influences every step of her instrument making process. From the initial sourcing of wood to the final set up of an instrument, Melissa utilizes her experience as both a luthier and a musician when she crafts instruments. She recognizes that the relationship between a musician and their instrument is a precious one and she aims to provide players with instruments that will allow them to truly shine.

Melissa is a graduate of the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City, UT. She currently lives in Northern Vermont.

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Jennifer Creadick

Jennifer Creadick is deeply rooted in the violin community. As a young violin student, her interest in lutherie was ignited by the revelation that violin making could be a viable pursuit! She made the decision to attend The Chimneys Violin Making School. She then established and operated a successful violin shop for many years.

Jennifer has pursued numerous continuing education experiences in the various facets of lutherie. She has traveled extensively, studying historical instruments and refining her expertise in instrument and bow restoration, acoustics, and varnish techniques.

In 2021, she co-founded Women in Lutherie, a global community to support and encourage makers. This collaborative spirit then catalyzed the establishment of Lutherie Lab, a new violin shop specializing in promoting and selling fine instruments of contemporary makers.

Serving on the boards of the Violin Society of America and the Minnesota Sinfonia, Jennifer remains dedicated to fostering collaboration and empowering fellow artisans and musicians.

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Marit Danielson

Marit Danielson studied violin from a very young age and then viola, which she pursued as a performance major with Emanuel Vardi at The Manhattan School of Music. She completed her undergraduate education at Bryn Mawr College, majoring in Art History and Philosophy. Violin making came as a natural progression, joining her playing education to her studies in aesthetics. Marit studied Violin Making first for two years at North Bennet Street School under Marilyn Wallin and Rodger Perrin, and then for three years in Ann Arbor with Joe Curtin and Gregg Alf when they had a combined shop.

At a time when makers have the option to use machines to speed their work along, Marit’s philosophy is to make her violins entirely with hand tools in the manner of the old masters. She even believes in taking the added time to cure her varnish in sunlight. Marit’s violins are enjoyed by serious players across the nation who respect this adherence to craftsmanship and tradition.

In addition to her own professional level violins Marit is one of a team of luthiers creating the Richelieu line of violins and violas for Vermont Violins. These are instruments entirely designed and crafted by the team in Vermont as an affordable quality instrument for the serious student. Marit finds there is much to be learned from creating a greater number of instruments as the team is carefully documenting wood sources, densities and plate thicknesses and evaluating their impact on tone quality.

Marit has her shop in northern Vermont. When not making violins she enjoys taking walks and doing agility with her Norwich Terrier, Bromley, as well as gardening and riding her Connemara horse.


Pauline Kotlarz Dawson

Pauline attended the Violin Making School of America 2011-2015, a life-altering, joyful decision after taking a rather conventional path of post-secondary education (RN degree).

She has since worked in a busy, full service shop in Wisconsin before returning home to British Columbia where she set up her own violin/viola/cello shop to serve local and surrounding area musicians.

Though everyday repairs and maintenance take precedence, Pauline continues to make new violins and violas every year and much to her chagrin, is now taking on double basses.

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Sara Deliberato

Sara Deliberato holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Bowling Green State University, and is a proud 2016 graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making.

She has been serving on the Board of Directors for CSVM since 2022 in her role as Secretary. While in the CSVM program, she worked at Seman Violins to further develop her skills. After graduation, she continued honing her skills in violin making, restoration and repair, and bow rehairing at Psarianos Violins in the Metropolitan Detroit area.

She currently resides in Tennessee, where she continues to build and repair instruments out of her own workshop. Most recently Deliberato began working with The Violin Shop in Nashville. Sara has performed in many orchestras including the International Symphony Orchestra, Perrysburg Symphony, Oak Ridge Symphony, and the Nashville Opera and Nashville Ballet pit orchestras.

When she isn’t making or playing, she works with the Bryan Symphony Orchestra in the box office as Director of Patron Relations & Marketing.

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Heather C. Deyette

Heather Cecilia Deyette lives and works in a remote community in northern Minnesota, on the edge of the boundary waters and expansive wilderness.

An interest in fiddle playing led her to violin making classes in Surry County, NC, where she completed her first violin in 2018. It was an intuitive culmination of her previous trades: printmaking and wood block printing, then subsequently timber framing and carpentry.


In late 2018 she acquired an apprenticeship with renowned violin maker, Ryan L Soltis, where she thrived with his systematic and exquisitely detailed approach to the craft.

Since early 2020 she has been apprenticing with William Robert Scott of Minneapolis, Hors Concours awarded and widely recognized maker, building pieces for his workshop instruments on the side while focusing on creating her own custom instruments for professional level players.


Amanda N. Ewing

Amanda N. Ewing etched her name into history as the first female Black violin maker on record in the United States of America. Hailing from the musical city of Nashville, Tennessee, Amanda's journey into violin making is guided by a profound determination to pursue a life dedicated to all things joy.

Fueled by insatiable curiosity and passion for music, movement, and craftswomanship, Amanda embarked on a remarkable odyssey to carve her niche into a tradition-rich world. Undeterred by the scarcity of representation in her field, she delved into the intricacies of violin making with unwavering determination and a heart ablaze with determination to pave the way for others who desire to follow in her footsteps. Through tireless dedication and countless hours of meticulous work, Amanda has honed her craft, charging toward her personal mastery of the delicate art of shaping wood into beautiful instruments. Each violin she brings to life bears the indelible mark of her unique perspective—a harmonious fusion of tradition and soulfully enriched by her African American heritage.

Beyond her workbench, Amanda is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the violin making community. She actively mentors aspiring luthiers from underrepresented backgrounds, striving to create a more equitable and inclusive space for future generations of artisans. A trailblazer and a beacon of inspiration, she's dedicated to paving the way for generations of artisans; enhancing the belief that girls and women - specifically, but not exclusively, can reach any dream they set their minds to and that no obstacle is too significant to conquer. Amanda's story is one of courage, resilience, and unwavering determination—a testament to the transformative power of passion and the boundless possibilities within the human spirit. Her legacy will continue to inspire and empower, reminding us all that the truest measure of greatness lies not only in what we achieve, but in the barriers we overcome along the way, as well as the impact we leave behind.


Julia Felix

My interest in lutherie began in college when I began to make a connection between my love of music and my love of woodworking. After graduating with a degree in Studio Art, I attended North Bennet Street School's Violin Making and Repair program in Boston, MA, where I learned how to build violins and violas in the traditional Cremonese style. I returned to my hometown of Santa Fe, NM in 2019 and now focus primarily on making new instruments out of my home workshop for violinists and violists around the country.

In addition to being a violinmaker, I have a 5 year old son, a 10 year old pomeranian, play classical guitar, organize socials for the Women in Lutherie facebook group, and volunteer at my local makerspace, MAKE Santa Fe.

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Corinne Hopkins

Corinne Hopkins is a recent graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making, where she completed the cello that is part of this exhibit.

Before Chicago, Corinne worked for many years at a full service violin shop in Rochester, NY where she also studied cello and received her Bachelor of Arts in Music.

She is currently working in the workshop at Bein & Fushi in downtown Chicago, and continuing to forge ahead with her own new making.

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Katherine Kidwell

Katherine started in the field of lutherie in 2015 when she began working at a local violin shop while attending College. Having grown up playing the viola and working with her hands on sculptures, instrument repair and restoration became something she enjoyed and learned quickly. She began pursuing lutherie as her primary career just before completing her Associates degree in 2018. During this time she learned from her colleagues in the shop. In the summer of 2019, she attended the UNH summer workshop where she studied with Paul Wiessmeyer on intermediate violin repair.

In 2021, Katherine was accepted into the first Women In Lutherie Fellowship, where she worked with her primary mentor Stacey Styles in repair/restoration, and her secondary mentor Paris Andrews in new instrument making. During the Fellowship Katherine traveled to Florence, Italy to work on her first instrument with Paris. In the fall of 2021, Katherine was one of the MC's for the first International Women in Lutherie Conference, where she also managed ticketing and co-presented a panel on finance in the field of lutherie.

In spring of 2022 Katherine left her job at the violin shop to pursue further training with mentors and develop her own workshop. In December 2024, Katherine opened KM Lutherie LLC, where she currently offers repair, restoration, and sale of violin family instruments.

Katherine continues to work with Stacey Styles and others on higher education in fine instrument repairs and restoration.

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Korinthia Klein

Korinthia Klein owns and operates Korinthian Violins In Milwaukee WI, where she is the luthier and handles most customer relations. She does repairs, sales, rehairs, maintains a rental fleet of about 400 instruments, and builds violins and violas on commission, in addition to playing viola with Festival City Symphony, and mandola with the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra.


Korinthia received a BA in Music with Distinction in Music Cognition from the Ohio State University, and went on to be the first graduate of the New World School of Violin Making under Brian T. Derber. She worked in repairs under Steven Haas at Classical Strings before opening her eponymous shop in 2008. She also taught both private and group lessons at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music for two decades. Korinthia is the author of “My Violin Needs Help! A Repair Diagnostics Guide for Players and Teachers”,  and she’s currently working on a sequel. She will also solve your Rubik’s Cube for you if you haven’t rearranged the stickers.

The violins on display were built specifically for her daughters.

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Sheena Laurie

Born in Scotland in 1977, I gained two degrees from Glasgow University and was working for Glasgow Museums when I first heard of the Stringed Instrument Making and Repair course at Anniesland College. I instantly knew that this was the path I wanted my life to take and I enrolled in 2001. Initially intending to be a guitar maker, I fell in love with an old Austrian violin that I was restoring and it is thanks to this instrument that I decided to further my studies at the Newark School of Violin Making in England. Encouragingly, my first completed violin was bought by Brian McNeill, a renowned Scottish fiddler and then Head of Scottish Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.


Upon graduating from Newark I was employed in the workshop of Ealing Strings, London, as a restorer. I left after several years to establish myself as a self-employed maker and restorer – and to move to Italy with my now husband where we spent a blissful year making instruments and living a dream. We returned to Scotland in 2010 whereupon I set up my workshop on a farm in Fintry. We converted a van into a custom camper and spent our summers travelling through Europe to hand select the finest tonewoods available. I held a teaching position in my former college in Anniesland on the same course where my journey had begun 20 years earlier. In 2020 we bought and renovated a former health centre in the beautiful historic village of Doune, right in the centre of Scotland. This is now our family home with workshops, music room and teaching rooms attached.


I am in demand as a restorer as well as a maker with Laurie instruments being played all around the world. I deeply value the sense of historical connection obtained by restoring fine old instruments. Every instrument that I work on is treated with the same passion and attention to detail upon which I have built my reputation.


Away from the workbench I am a Trustee of the Rowan Armour-Brown Memorial Trust Fund, which offers financial and practical support to students of violin making in the UK. In my free time I enjoy adventures with my husband, son and our German Shepherd dog.

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Shelby Martignacco

Shelby Martignacco grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho where she found her love for stringed instruments at age eleven when she started learning to play viola.


She graduated from the Violin Making School of America in 2019 and after 4 years working at William Harris Lee in Chicago has spent the past two years focusing on new making with an emphasis on violas.

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Victoria McDonald

Victoria (Tori) McDonald is a 2023 graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making and has been playing the violin for over two decades.

She was inspired to get into the trade after meeting another female luthier, Samantha Cortez (Kadisch), when Tori was studying music at Susquehanna University. After graduating, she moved to Cleveland and worked for Terry Carlin before attending the Chicago school, where she was fortunate to have Kristin Siegfried Ballenger as one of her teachers.

Tori now works for Sapp Violins, alongside fellow women in lutherie, Aubrey K Alexander, Mel Sapp, Susie Lankenau, and Diane Helmuth. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, baking, learning about beekeeping, plotting ski trips, and playing video games alongside her partner and cat.

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Caitlin McGinn

Caitlin McGinn is an instrument maker based in West Cork, Ireland.

She graduated the Chicago School of Violin Making in 2015 and continued her studies apprenticing with master maker William Whedbee and attending workshops led by Joe Thrift.

She is a talented cellist and uses her insight from playing to focus on fine cello making.

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Helen McIntosh

Helen McIntosh began her apprenticeship in the family bass lutherie shop in her hometown of Cambridge, NY in 2021. With direction from her father, Robbie McIntosh, she has completed a handful of major restoration projects and built three new basses, two completely handmade and one travel bass with pre-carved plates. Her first handmade bass won a silver medal for tone in the 2023 International Society of Bassists makers competition.

Helen has always been a craftsperson whether with wood, food, silver, gardens, or tape, paper and found materials. As a child she learned traditional Abenaki black ash splint basketry from her mother and woodworking from her father.  She completed culinary school in 2012 while living aboard and restoring a wooden sailboat in Seattle, WA, and went on to lead culinary teams until 2020.

McIntosh Bass Luthiers specialize in making handmade basses from non-traditional woods, many of which are sourced from the forests and old buildings near their shop.  Helen’s newest bass, made from Black Cherry and Eastern White pine from a house built in 1785, is a copy of an 5/8 Italian Alvisio Piattellini bass ca. 1791. The copy is made without ebony using Gaiatone for the fingerboard, nut and saddle. The neck and tailpiece are made from Sugar maple.

The privilege of learning the trade from her father, just as his mentor, Lou DiLeone, learned from his, is not lost on Helen. It is also such a thrilling experience for her to connect with female luthiers from around the world.

Helen enjoys gardening and adventuring in the outdoors with her 8-year-old son and their dog near their home, just a short walk through the woods from the workshop.

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Sally Mullikin

Sally Mullikin has been working with violin family instruments for more than twenty years. Originally from Chapel Hill, NC, she first received training at the Newark School of Violinmaking in Nottinghamshire, UK before spending ten years as a repairer and restorer at Triangle Strings in Raleigh, NC.  Sally then became the head luthier at Beau Vinci Violins in Atlanta, GA, where she worked for eight years.
In 2023, Sally established Blacksburg Violin Repair in Blacksburg, VA, where she now lives with her husband and two kids.

Sally has a Bachelor’s degree in music and she plays violin, viola and old-time fiddle.
This is Sally’s fourth cello. It is based on a 1692 cello by Joseph Filius Andrea Guarneri and features a willow back and sides.

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Barbara Piccinotti

Barbara graduated in 1993 from the “Antonio Stradivari” Cremona International Violin Making School, under the guidance of Maestro Giorgio Scolari. For the next six years she worked at the Stefano Trabucchi workshop.

In 1999 she opened her own workshop in Cremona with her colleague and partner, Roberto Cavagnoli. Here she elaborates and develops her own personal style taking inspiration from the instruments of classical Cremonese violin making.

Her focus is on making violins or violas but, with her partner Roberto, also cellos. In 2023 they celebrated 30 years of working under the same label together.

Her work is constantly evolving and she is continually researching and experimenting. She participates in the activities promoted by the Violin Museum for the protection plan of the "Saper fare liutario tradizionale Cremonese" recognized as UNESCO intangible heritage.

She collaborates with the “Antonio Stradivari” Cremona International Violin Making School as an expert teacher for the paths of transversal skills.

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Rebecca Pierce

Rebecca studied violin making at the Newark School of Violin Making, UK.


She obtained her diploma in 2002 and went on to gain experience repairing instruments in various workshops around England, before moving to Toronto in 2007.


In 2011 she moved to Montreal, Canada, where she now works at Wilder & Davis.  Introduced to bow making by her colleague, Andre Lavoye, Rebecca divides her time between her private workshop where she makes instruments and their bows, and Wilder & Davis, where she repairs instruments.


Nina F. Poots

I started my journey into instrument making a few years after I bought my double bass. I caught a glimpse of the workshop and was immediately enamoured by the smell of wood, all the intricate tools and various instruments in different stages of repair. Once I finished my BA in Art Education in Amsterdam I decided to relocate to Scotland and start my education in lutherie at the Glasgow Clyde college, where I acquired a national and higher national certificate in Violin Making and Repair. Being encouraged by the lecturers there I applied for the BA (Hons) Musical Instrument Craft Violin Making and Repair at the renowned Newark School of Violin Making in England. Graduating with First Class Honours at the end of the global pandemic in 2022.

After Newark, I knew my heart belonged to Scotland and I had the opportunity to move back and join two fellow luthiers at The Storybook Instrument Workshop here in Glasgow. I am also a member of the British Violin Making Association. And to further my skills I was selected as a fellow in the Fellowship Programme run by The Women in Lutherie in the summer of 2022, where I was mentored by knowledgeable Melenahe Martin in Baltimore, US.

Making new instruments in the violin family I combine traditional craft, the best quality woods and professional set up in order to make instruments with individual beauty and good tonal qualities that will last a lifetime. It brings me great joy to see my instruments go out into the world and into the hands of players, who breathe life into them.

Besides making new instruments I also offer sound adjustments and instrument repair/restoration. Being able to help the musicians get the best out of their instrument, both in playability and in sound is crucial in this profession. I help a variety of players, from beginners in school, to professionals in the concert hall, to the folk player down the local pub.

As a queer woman myself, I strive to have a safe and welcoming environment in the workshop. Having open and honest dialogue with my clients about their instruments and their needs is my highest priority.

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Ada Quaranta

Music has played an integral part in my life since childhood when, aged ten, I began violin studies. My encounter with the craft of violin making was a revelation: I discovered something that synthesized with harmony my passion for the sciences and the arts.

After my training in Cremona I specialized in high restoration with J.F. Scmitt in Lyon and Geigenbau Machold in Bremen and subsequently with Roger G. Hargrave.

In 2002 I opened my atelier in Italy and dedicated myself to the art of making modern and baroque instruments of the highest aesthetic and acoustic quality which are today known and played by many leading musicians the world over.

My instruments are the fruits of a marriage between the traditional methods of the finest Classical Italian Violin Makers especially from Cremona and Brescia and the most recent developments in acoustics, historical researches and new technologies.

New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Bruxelles and Cremona are some of the Exhibitions hosting my instruments on a regular basis.

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Raquel Salazar Saldivar

Raquel Salazar Saldivar, born in Mexico, embarked on her musical journey in Ciudad Victoria at the age of 14. Her fascination with violin making began in 2007, leading her to undergo initial training in Xalapa under Nahúm Landa Roldan training. In 2010, she pursued her passion in Cremona, Italy, graduating in violin making in 2014.

Furthering her expertise, she completed a course in lutherie acoustics under Luca Primon and Marco Osio from 2014 to 2015. Raquel honed her skills with renowned violin makers such as Silvio Levaggi, focusing on instrument design and tuning between 2015 and 2016. An apprenticeship with Charles Coquet in Paris further enriched her in 2016.

Since 2017, she has consistently refined her professional expertise with mentors including Alberto Giordano, Jérémie Legrand, Monica Fortin, and Melina Polizzi.

Presently, she operates from the workshop that she opened with Federica Thoeny in Rennes (France), specialising in new making while actively pursuing ongoing training opportunities abroad.

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Ada Schenck

Ada Schenck is a violin maker based in Boston, MA. She is the head of workshop at Jovial Cellos, in addition to working in violin restoration with Christian Schabbon and building instruments under her own name.


Originally from rural Vermont, Ada moved to Boston at age 18 to study violin making with Roman Barnas at the North Bennet Street School. She graduated with honors in June 2023, and is delighted to begin her career in a city with such excellent orchestras and music schools. At Jovial Cellos Ada offers repair, set up, and adjustment of violin family instruments, and takes a collaborative approach with all of her clients.


Outside of violin making Ada enjoys knitting and sewing and hiking in the mountains of Vermont.

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Suzy Schmitt

I was born and raised near Strasbourg, in France. I play the violin and the viola.

After studying violin making at the Newark Violin Making School in the UK, I worked for different violin shops as well as in other industries including assistance companies and wine makers.

In 2018 I began training in bow repair and then bow making in France.

In 2021 I set up my own shop in Le Mans in France and I sell my own bows worldwide.

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Carrie Scoggins

Carrie grew up playing the violin, and then viola, in Alamo, California. While attending college she became interested in learning how to make and repair violins. This led to a one year apprenticeship with a retired violin shop owner, Walter Archibald, who worked in San Francisco from the 1930's. He was co-owner of Jacob & Archibald, 1945-1958. That experience confirmed her desire to pursue a career in the field.

In 1979 Carrie arrived in Salt Lake City to attend the Violin Making School of America. Graduating in 1983 she was then asked to teach the Varnish and Set Up classes at the school. Michael Scoggins, her husband, was the Woodworking instructor. They taught from 1984 – 1988.

Scoggins & Scoggins Violin Shop opened in the summer of 1988 in Salt Lake City. The shop served the string instrument community in Utah and the surrounding states for 28 years. Carrie closed the retail shop in May 2016 to focus on the construction of new instruments to accommodate the increased demand for her instruments. She is focusing more on cellos and violas these days.

American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers
Violin Society of America


Kelly Sivy

Kelly Sivy is an early-career violinmaker living between her home in Alaska, and North Carolina, where for the last 4 years, she has intensively studied under Master Violinmaker Joe Thrift, in classes and one-on-one artist apprenticeships, funded by the North Carolina Arts Council.

Ms. Sivy’s interest in violin making started upon seeking a return to her earlier roots in craftsmanship, which had imprinted as a young woman while working alongside her father, a uniquely skilled toy-maker and commercial artist. Though she eventually strayed away from the artistic trades to court academics, multiple degrees and over a decade later, her work as a research ecologist, increasingly dependent on computing and analytics, became hollow. It was during this time that Ms. Sivy began playing fiddle, and while learning traditional Irish and Old-time repertoire, she also learned of her compulsive intrigue to understand and build this exquisite new tool.

One of the aspects of violin making that Ms. Sivy has come to value most is the culture of methods passed down between individuals, within families, and across generations, that contributes towards centuries-long traditions. Ms. Sivy is proud to be part of a lineage of craftsmanship that includes Maestro Roger Hargave, a leading expert in classical Cremonese methods, who closely mentored Mr. Thrift, as he developed and refined his own making style. From this lineage, Ms. Sivy has trained in many aspects of Cremonese tradition – from cooking colophony varnish right down to the knots and blocks used to clamp the rub structure to the mold. Ms. Sivy is excited to be crafting legacy instruments that enable musicians in furthering their own expression. She returns home to Fairbanks, Alaska this spring to establish her permanent workshop nestled in the spruce-covered hills of the Far North.


Robyn Sullivan

Robyn Sullivan is currently the Senior Resident Luthier at Potter Violins in Takoma Park MD. She specializes in instrument setup, repair, and restoration while doing new making on the side.

Robyn started suzuki violin as a child, then decided the E string wasn’t for her and switched to viola as a young adult which remains her primary instrument. She co-built her first violin with Geoffery Ovington as her senior project at Skidmore College, graduating with a BA in Music in ‘04. Robyn is also a graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making ‘09.

Robyn has worked for a variety of shops in the Milwaukee and Chicago area such as Classical Strings, Korinthian Violins, Ken Stein, Chicago Strings, and as a sole proprietor freelancing and doing contract work for other shops.

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Federica Thoeny

Federica Thoeny, born in Switzerland, grew up surrounded by music. After graduating in Musicology from the University of Fribourg in 2011, she specialized in violin making in Cremona, graduating in 2014. Enriching her craft after the school she trained in violin making and restoration under mentors like Andrea Castellani, Pascal Hornung, and Silvio Levaggi. Her journey continued with apprenticeships in Paris under Pierre Barthel, Joel Klépal, and Antoine Lescombe.

From 2018 to 2021, Federica served as a full-time luthier-collaborator in a workshop in Rennes (France), refining her skills.

In summer 2021, she opened a workshop in Rennes with Raquel Salazar Saldivar. She enhanced her expertise in high-restoration and instrument conservation at Florian Leonhard's renowned London workshop, collaborating with the inspirational Julian Döring, marking the start of a fruitful partnership. She now focuses on crafting new instruments while actively seeking continuous training opportunities abroad.

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Kathleen Thomas

Katy grew up in Victoria, BC and played the cello. In 2004 she moved to England to study at the Newark School of Violin Making and graduated in 2007.

After graduation she worked in Toronto repairing and restoring violin family instruments.

In 2014 she moved to Perugia, Italy to work with her husband Filippo Protani.

Her focus is on repairing and the restoration of violins, violas and cellos but enjoys making a violin or viola a year.

Since 2020 she’s been a committee member of the BVMA and enjoyed being a mentor for the 2022 Fellowship program of Women in Lutherie.

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Katrien Vandermeersch

Katrien Vandermeersch (°1956, Sarnia/Canada) starts her professional career as a graphic designer.

For new instruments the studio works primarily with projects like the construction of the “basse de violin”, a Bourbon instrument, the construction of a Guadagnini and a F. Ruggeri (1696) baroque cello, the re-designing and making of a violoncello piccolo 5 strings or the making of a viola (Mantegazza model). The two last instruments: a violoncello piccolo 5 string baroque and a violoncello 5 strings modern with an extra low F string.


Cmb “Centrum voor Muziekinstrumenten Bouw” (Puurs / Belgium)

A Master Degree in Music – specialization: Musical Instruments - School of the Arts Gent / Belgium


West Dean – UK / Oberlin – Ohio (USA): with René Morel (NY – USA) and Jean-Frédérique Schmitt (Lyon – Fr)


“Set-up”  Durham (Univ. of New Hampshire - USA)


“Bows” with Lynn Armour Hannings (Maine – USA) / Fertans (Fr)


“Aarchets” with Jean Grunberger, archetier / Parma (It): “Mold Making” with Sharon Que – luthier (Ann Arbor – USA) / Fertans (Fr)


Restoration workshop with JJ. Fasnacht / Dinan (Fr)


Making varnish with F. Perego / Fertans (Fr)


Varnish retouching with Iris Carr (UK) and several online workshops.

For three years visiting professor “violinmaking” - at the School of Arts - Gent / Belgium 1990 – to date: studio for violinmaking - independent builder and restorer of string instruments.

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Silke Van Roey

Silke has been in contact with woodworking from a very young age and that’s not surprising at all: on her father’s side, working with wood goes back an impressive four generations! Combine that with a passion for music and it was almost inevitable that Silke would choose a career as a luthier.

Her passion for music translated into studies of the harp and singing at the music academies of Dilbeek and Halle. Later, she also took up violin lessons.

In 2014, Silke began her studies in violin making and restoration at ILSA with Tom Van Moerbeke, Erik Buys, and Anton Somers as her teachers. After completing her studies in 2018, she immediately started working in a workshop, where she worked for several years. In 2021, it was time to take the next step, which meant starting her own business while continuing to expand her knowledge. Over the years Silke has maintained a good relationship with Jessica De Saedeleer, where she also interned. Since 2023, she has been collaborating with Thomas Meuwissen for contemporary instrument making.

In her workshop, in addition to building instruments, Silke also focuses in repairs and restorations.

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Sofia Vettori

Sofia Vettori, born into the rich tradition of a distinguished violinmaking family in the picturesque town of Firenze, Italy, in 1981, continues the legacy initiated by her grandfather, Dario I Vettori, in 1935. Dario I, affectionately known as "The violinmaker of the mountains," steadfastly nurtured the family's craft through the challenging times of World War II, passing it down to Sofia's father, Paolo Vettori.

Growing up surrounded by the scent of wood and varnish in her father's workshop, Sofia's journey into the world of violinmaking officially began at the age of 17, alongside her two broth
ers, Dario II and Lapo. Guided by her father's distinctive style, Sofia's instruments carry a unique charm, reflecting her strong personality and passion.

Inspired by the masterpieces of Guarneri del Gesù and Domenico Montagnana, Sofia meticulously names and decorates each of her instruments, adding a touch of individuality to every creation. Her love for the old-style varnish, following her grandfather's formula inherited from great makers like Ornati, Bisiach, and Stefanini, adds a timeless allure to her work.

Beyond crafting instruments, Sofia's mission extends to sharing her knowledge with her Star Pupils, fostering a global appreciation for art and beauty. For her, violinmaking transcends a mere transaction; it's about building lasting connections with the caretakers of her instruments—each one considered a new member of her extended family.

With a portfolio boasting over 130 instruments, each instrument tells a unique story, finding homes in the hands of esteemed musicians worldwide. Sofia's creations resonate in concert halls, played by talents such as Concertmaster and other distinguished musicians.

Today, Sofia balances her life between Florence, Italy, and Indianapolis, USA, happily married to a fellow violinmaker, a proud mother of three boys, and a dog.

Besides her dedication to violinmaking, Sofia enjoys knitting, preparing lasagna, relishing Italian gelato, and crafting enchanting books for children.


In Sofia's world, the harmony of family, tradition, and artistry weaves a tapestry that resonates with the timeless beauty of her instruments.

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Marilyn Wallin

Marilyn Wallin earned a BA in Viola Performance from William Preucil in 1977. She had additional studies with Donald MacInnes and with Wm. Schoen, now studying with Clark Potter. She was a member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra receiving advanced orchestral performance education for three years under Milton Preves, and a parade of conductors and soloists testing the hall.

After completing school with Tschu Ho Lee, she worked for Bein and Fushi in the workshop, handling fine instruments and masterpieces. Now, solely a maker, she has made about 150 violas, virtually all of which are in daily use.

She volunteered for The VSA  from 1992 until 2022. She helped at conventions, served on committees, and was elected to the Board of Directors.

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Stacy Westman - current student of the Chicago School of Violin Making

Stacy Westman is currently in her second year at the Chicago School of Violin Making. While in school Stacy has made three violins and a viola, and is now working on her first cello. The violin in this exhibit is her second violin made at school.

Initially training as a violinist, Stacy became interested in violin making and repairs at a young age, when her family visited a violin shop in her hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At the age of 15, she joined the workshop of Schultz Strings as an intern. She progressed to a part time position, working there throughout high school. After graduating she continued working full time at Schultz Strings for a year before deciding to expand her skills by attending the Chicago School of Violin Making.

In addition to her studies, Stacy is working part time in the workshop at Seman Violins. During her school breaks she has also worked for Triangle Strings in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Isabelle Wilbaux

Isabelle Wilbaux has been crafting her violins, violas, and cellos for more than three decades. Today, some of the world’s most distinguished musicians play Wilbaux instruments.

Musicians always comment on the power, warmth and beauty of tone in her instruments. This tone is the result of thousands of hours of research, experimentation, and hard work. Her instruments give players what they want most: an extraordinarily rich, balanced and sonorous palette of colours to work with.

Member of:

The EILA   Entente Internationale des Luthiers et Archetiers

the American Federation of Violin and Bow Maker (board member)

The Violin Society of America

The Makers' Forum Canadian Association of Violin and Bow makers

The Collectif Lutherie Montreal (Founding Member)

Prizes and awards include:

The Violin Society of America – Various medals and prizes for tone and workmanship: violins, violas and quartets, between 1998 and 2018

Concours international de lutherie et d’archèterie de la ville de Paris – Bronze medal, violin, 1999

Fondation belge de la vocation prize, 1995

Cremona Triennale International – Three prizes, including the Sacconi Prize, viola, 1994

Mittenwald International Violin Making Competition – Prize for best tone, violin, 1993

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Theodota Williams

Theodota Williams,  (nee Theodoridis), known as Dota, hails from Melbourne, Australia, where her journey in violin making began under the guidance of her local luthier. Encouraged by her mentor, she pursued formal training at Newark Violin Making School in the UK, graduating in 1995.

Since then, Dota has passionately dedicated herself to luthiery, honing her skills in repairs, restoration, bow rehairs, and instrument making. Her professional journey has taken her to workshops in Australia, France, and the United Kingdom.

Currently based in Cawston, North Norfolk, UK, she, alongside her husband Alan, operates Resonant Strings as a full-time luthier. Drawing inspiration from both tradition and her own artistic touch, Dota’s instruments are cherished by both professional and amateur musicians.

Balancing work and parenting posed challenges in the early years of her children's lives, but perseverance prevailed. With family as her top priority and luthiery as a close second, Dota has seamlessly integrated her passion into her daily life.

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Stella Eunbyul Yoo

Stella Eunbyul Yoo is a violin maker based in the Bay area, California. She is originally from Seoul, South Korea and began to study the violin at the age of 8. She has always been passionate about string instruments and wanted to pursue a profession that would allow her to play and work with violins.


She was inspired to move to Italy in 2011 and attend the Cremona Violin Making School to learn the history and traditions from some of the best luthiers in the world. In 2015 after the Cremona School, she was fortunate to be selected as the apprentice for Luca Primon, who became her mentor for several years. During this time, she won multiple awards in cello and viola making.

In 2018, Stella moved to the United States to take on a new challenge and gain a diverse experience. She has been working at a violin shop while continuing to make her own violins, and in November of 2022, she won the Certificate for Artisanship for her Viola from 24th International Competition of Violin Society of America.


Stella has been participating in the Oberlin workshop since 2022 because she is dedicated to violin making and contributing to the tradition as part of the next generation of luthiers.

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Ute Zahn

Born into a musical family in Germany, I trained at the Newark School of Violin Making in Newark, UK. My work as a luthier, freelance cellist, and violin making teacher has taken me to England, Hong Kong, Canada, the United States and several Caribbean countries.

Violin making is endlessly fascinating, be it design, history, acoustics, varnish, or woodwork. As I believe that method determines outcome, I attempt to closely follow historical methods of making, using traditional tools. In the pursuit of deepening my skills, I regularly attend the Oberlin Violin Makers’ workshop and Violin Society of America’s conventions, and many seminars hosted by the VSA as well as the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, of which I am a member.

Social engagement is important to me. This inspired me to start the US chapter of “Luthiers sans Frontières” (Luthiers Without Borders), a non-profit supporting cultural life in under-served communities. We travel to teach local musicians the basics of instrument maintenance and repair, with the aid of donated instruments, tools and materials.

I organize monthly meetings of Minnesota violin and bow makers, and in 2019 co-hosted an exhibition of Minnesota makers’ work.

I currently divide my time between making and restoring instruments, freelancing with several area ensembles, and serving as president of Luthiers sans Frontières.  When not embroiled in the wonderful world of music and instruments, I might be digging in my garden, on my yoga mat, with my nose in a book, baking something delicious, hiking, paddling or skating Minnesota waterways, or studying and building paper structures.

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Iris Zhulla

Born into a musical family, Iris Zhulla was enchanted by the violin, first as a player and later as a maker. Her father, also a luthier, passed on his passion for violin and bow making to Iris at a young age.

Iris studied violin making in Cremona (IIS Stradivari) and worked as a restorer at the workshop of Martino Ius in Milan until 2014. Soon she discovered her passion for bow making. Iris began her studies under her father’s guidance and continued her education at the workshop of Daniel Navea Vera in Cremona, a pupil and collaborator of Giovanni Lucchi.

Her musical training and close collaboration with musicians have enabled her to further develop the working abilities of her bows. Today, she works alongside her father at the family workshop in Thessaloniki, Greece, where they divide their time between the restoration and creation of new instruments.

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