EILA Congress in Budapest 29. - 31.5.2013

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I was accepted into the world wide association of violin and bow makers called the «Entente Internationale des Luthiers et Archetiers» two years ago. Now it was finally the time to meet both new and old colleagues at the biannual meeting, this time in Budapest, Hungary. I arrived early on the first day, and had the chance to experience one of the famous traditional baths in Budapest, namely the Gellert. It’s housed in a 1920’s art deco building with different baths for every need, -the claim to heal most medical problems.

The first evening, there was a welcome party, and I felt warmly welcomed by all the participants, even though I was a new face to many of them. And vice versa. As a violinmaker I’m used to work alone, and therefore it’s especially important to meet other makers to share knowledge and to grow professionally. The EILA is an excellent meeting point for this, many top class makers are represented, and for two days there were different talks and discussions.

Particularly interesting for me was to get an update on the situation for pernambuco, the wood used in bows, and ebony which is used in both fingerboards, pegs, chinrests and tailpieces. Few musicians actually know how difficult the situation is. This time I will write about the ebony situation. Before the 12th of June 2013, all violin and bow makers should document and report to the national authorities regarding their stock of ebony. This is to make sure that if there will be a problem obtaining ebony in the future, every violin or bow maker have a proof that they obtained the ebony before the regulations, and is allowed to use them on musical instruments.

So far the ebony from Madagascar faces the biggest threat. Ebony coming from other countries are for the moment being allowed for trade. Is it however very difficult to get a certification from ebony suppliers where the wood comes from. There are violinmakers like myself, looking for alternative materials, and I hope that will replace the use of ebony in the future. Until that, I plan to donate a certain amount of money from every instrument I make and sell, to reforestation and to support this ongoing work.

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